Can a team ever have too many goaltenders?
For the New York Islanders, the 2010-11 season has been a house of horrors particularly in net.
After trading veteran goalie Dwayne Roloson to Tampa Bay as the New Year began, the Islanders were about ready to embark on a circus ride of goaltenders. Guys with experience and guys barely out of diapers when it comes to NHL experience in the pipes pretty much sums it up for the Isles this season.
As of Feb. 21, the Isles stand in next-to-last place in the Eastern Conference with 51 points, 13 points out of the last playoff spot. Is it conceivable that New York could make the playoffs this season? Well, anything is possible, but don’t bet the house or your lifetime savings on it.
That being the case, should the Isles go after and/or move anyone before the Feb. 28 NHL trade deadline?
Islanders fans have heard this way too often in recent years, but the future does look relatively bright on Long Island.
That being the case, would it behoove New York to trade away some of that younger talent to make an effort to gain a veteran or two and make a run at the playoffs? Or, is it better for New York to ride the remainder of this season with these younger players and build for the future?
The goaltender position on Long Island obviously grabs the most attention and rightfully so. There is no clear number one goalie for the Isles at this point.
While some may point to Rick DiPietro as the favorite, he’s spent a portion of the season mending injuries, therefore allowing younger guys (both in experience and overall age) to get some playing time.
Mikko Koskinen, Nathan Lawson and Al Montoya have all had playing time recently with DiPietro on the shelf. It is hard to say if any of them will emerge as the favorite going into next season, but given the fact this team likely will miss the playoffs again this spring, they are basically auditioning for next season. It is also safe to say that they are not only auditioning for Isles GM Garth Snow, but executives around the NHL.
New York has clearly shown that it is building at home and not looking to raid other teams of veteran talent in order to try and achieve a quick fix.
In their latest move last week, the Isles and P.A. Parenteau (14 goals, 21 assists in 56 games) agreed on a one-year contract extension for a reported $1.25 million.
“I’m really excited to stay on Long Island,” Parenteau remarked in a statement. “The Islanders organization has given me the chance to prove that I belong in the NHL and I look forward to being a part of the success that is building in our dressing room for the near future.”
Parenteau is one of a number of players who the Isles appear to be building around.
That group includes top goal scorers Michael Grabner (25 goals), John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Frans Nielsen. With none of these players 28 years of age yet, there is obviously talent put in place for a number of years to come, assuming they avoid injuries or prolonged slumps with the puck.
While Islanders fans may believe their team has a shot to grab the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, reality should set in soon enough.
This team is not ready yet to be a playoff team, but I would not trade a player here and there just to try and get a quick fix.
If I were Snow, I’d keep this nucleus together for the remainder of this season, address the goalie situation in the off-season as priority number one, and then see what other pieces are needed to compete next season for one of the eight playoff spots in the conference.
Looking down the pike, the goal for the Isles is to continue to build for the future and not trade away any potential future stars just to get better quickly.
Sometimes, though, that is easier said than done when you’re dealing with the media and your fan base.
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Written by Dave Thomas