Will Jaroslav Halak Save the New York Islanders?


The New York Islanders have historically had issues in net in recent years, but Garth Snow might be able to right the ship after acquiring the rights to Jaroslav Halak.

Only one day after Anders Nilsson proclaimed that he would not accept a role in the AHL, the Islanders acquired impending UFA Halak from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 4th round pick. You know, the pick that Garth Snow got for Pierre Marc-Bouchard and Peter Regin.

I wrote an article earlier (that I’ve been meaning to update) regarding the upcoming free agency and who they should target. Unsurprisingly, the fans choice was in fact, Halak.

Why Are Islander Fans Obsessed with Halak?

What makes Halak so special, you ask? He’s a 28 year old who’s already played for four teams? For starters, he posted a .921 save percentage for two different teams and had a goals against average of 2.25. Not bad. Certainly, it’s better than the goalies the Islanders have seen in recent years.

To understand the lack of quality goaltending the Islanders have had in the past 15 years should be enough for one to see that an actual quality NHL goalie is huge for the franchise. If you don’t know, Islander goalies have been highlighted by Rick DiPietro, Wade Dubielewicz, and Evgeni Nabokov. This is not Sharks Nabby, this is 38-year-old Nabby who was recently called upon to start behind a putrid defense. [By the way - if you like this post be sure to subscribe to our Newsletter for more like it.]

Simply put, assuming Halak does indeed sign a deal with the Islanders, this has the potential to be one of the most important transactions since John Tavares was signed to his extension. Stability in net has ben the downfall of the organization for years, and the cries for Garth and Co. to acquire a goalie are still ringing in my ears from years of pleading.

What Does this Mean for Nabokov?

How could we forget about Evgeni Nabokov in all of this? Nabby is one of the most popular players in the locker rooms for his leadership and great sense of humor, but in his last season it was very clear that he no longer could handle the workload of a full season. If I were Garth Snow, I would absolutely bring Nabby back as the backup to Halak. He can still steal a game here and there, and having leadership like that on your roster is invaluable.

So can Halak save the Islanders? Not by himself, he can’t. While this is a huge win for the team if they do in fact sign him to a contract, the team still needs help. The top line needs a left winger who can hang with Tavares. The need for a hulking veteran defenseman is still great. These questions seem to be a long ways away from being answered, and have so many potential solutions. However, the good news is that Snow has wasted no time in preparing for what will be the most important free agency period for the Islanders in recent years, and maybe ever.

If I had one bit of advice for Garth Snow and the Islanders, it would be this- this is a great start. Islander fans are finally starting to come around to the plan. But, this can’t be the end of the road for acquisitions this offseason. Whether a big free agent is signed or our fifth overall pick is traded for someone of value, fans are eager to see whats next.

Somehow, I seem to think that Garth will do alright this offseason. He can’t afford not to.

Anthony Tartamella

Anthony Tartamella

Lifelong Islander fan who spends way too much time playing NHL 14. Student at Hofstra University currently studying broadcast journalism. Generally can be found tweeting about hockey or whatever he's watching on Netflix.
Anthony Tartamella


  1. The Isles struggles in net go back to the mid 90s. We had some good goalies along the way: Tommy Salo, Bobby Lu (an Isles’ fan’s fav torment is to wonder what this team would’ve been like w/ Luongo, Zdeno, Spezza, Parise, Jokinen, Heatley, Brewer, etc), Osgood and RDP wasn’t bad for awhile. I like Nabby, but I think we need to clean house and bring in Reimer as well. With those two in net, Isles might get their GA below 200 and even a modest boost in production ought to get them into a playoff spot.

    Kane would be a good get but it would take more than supposed. Isles would need to add a roster player (Grabs?) to the #5 pick to get Kane. Unless Isles get someone like Markov or Orpik, I wouldn’t worry about FA but would promote from our pipeline.

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  4. Holy Diver 83 says:

    The big hulking defenseman might be Reinhardt, but they still need to bring in a top 4 veteran defenseman either on draft day, FA or trade a Bailey and a Prospect such as Mayfield or Pedan/ Pelech. Also CUT STRAIT! As for the wing, that too might already be on the team, either Lee, Strome or Nelson. Either Strome or Brock needs to move to wing leaving Frans as the 3 Line Center, with Czikias as the 4th. But all this means balls if Halak doesn’t sign. Which I think he would, the Isles show him some love, the guys been passed around like a jail cigarette, plus the team is ready to make a run (WITH A GOALIE). Also they have a guy named JT! Ring the Madhouse off the Meadowbrook one more Glory Run and a cheesey parade down Hempstead Turnpike!

    LETS GO ISLANDERS! In Garth We Trust!

  5. Well said. I think Halak would be fantastic for us. As for addressing LW1, I’d like to see Garth send #5 to Winnipeg for Evander Kane and maybe #9. To address defense, I think the best course of action would be throwing big money at Matt Niskanen. If we can’t get Kane, we gotta sign one of Vanek/Stastny/Moulson. Maybe another thing Halak giving us stability in net would do is make us more appealing to free agents

  6. Perfectly written, you said everything right on target. Especially the fact that this is not the end and Snow still has a lot of work, next on the checklist is that big hulking veteran defensemen who does not have rocks in his head and can hit and stand up for player like john tavares. I would take Halak as my starting and Nabakov as my backup anyday any time.

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