I do have the express written consent of the New York Islanders to use their logo on this website.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Final Season Player Rankings Part 1

The Islanders season is over. Another disappointing year for the Isles and their fans as we will once again sit at home and watch the postseason without the blue and orange. Once again they have a top 5 draft pick, this year it's the #4 pick.  While the standings may not indicate such, many Isles have vastly improved their games since last season. In this entry, I will rate the goalies on a scale of A+ to F based on their performance (or lack thereof) this past season.

#60 Kevin Poulin  C+
photo credit: bostonherald.com
After injuries gave Poulin the chance to play last year, he shined, going 4-2-1 in 7 starts before a fluke injury ended his season. This year, Poulin was called up quite a few times, but only appeared in six games. Part of that can be due to Evgeni Nabokov's good play, but the other part of that can be due to that when he was called up, he was rusty. He went 2-4-0 in those six starts. Both of the wins came against the Carolina Hurricanes. In those six games he posted a save percentage of .907 compared to .924 in his rookie season. Ultimately, there was too small of a sample size to accuratley grade Poulin. In the next few seasons, if Evgeni Nabokov gets traded or leaves, Poulin will be the first guy to get the call. He should be the Islanders goalie of the future, but in the present, he'll be in Bridgeport where he can excel and thrive, and try to lead the team to a Calder Cup. 

photo credit: sports.yahoo.com
#35 Al Montoya B- 
Montoya was also given a chance last year after a slew of injuries to goalies. In 2010-11, Montoya played in 20 games down the final stretch. In those games he posted a 9-5-5 record, 2.39 goals against average, and .921 save percentage. These numbers were good enough to earn Montoya a one year contract extension. This year, his numbers looked very different though. In 31 games played, he posted a 9-11-5 record, while having a 3.10 goals against average and an awful .893 save percentage. Montoya started the year as the starting goalie on opening night, and ended up winning two of the first three games for the Islanders. However, once Evgeni Nabokov started playing, Montoya was relegated to the bench. And, after suffering a concussion in Winnipeg in December, Montoya was sidelined for a little while, and when he came back, he just wasn't himself. I don't know if it's fair or not to give Montoya a B- in the rankings. He didn't have the best circumstances and once Evgeni Nabokov started playing, Montoya was not the same Montoya he was during the previous season. I don't think that the Isles will resign Montoya for next season but he has played well enough that he should find a job somewhere else in the NHL next season. 

#39 Rick DiPietro  D
Rick DiPietro - Montreal Canadiens v New York Islanders
photo credit: newsday.com
We all know about Rick DiPietro and his struggles. In October, a Brian Rolston slapshot got him in the face and took him out. Then in December, he had to get sports hernia surgery, once again ending his season. In 8 games this year, DP went 3-2-3 with a .876 save percentage. Not good. This marked the 3rd time in the last 4 seasons that DP has played in 8 or less games. He still has nine years left on his contract, and it doesn't look like he is going anywhere. There are three reasons I didn't give him an F. Firstly, he actually played in a few games and won a couple. Secondly, he had 2 assists on the year, giving him more than Nino Niederreiter. Thirdly, he tried to win the fans over by buying lunch for the first 5,000 fans at an Islander game at the end of the season. Too bad it takes wins, not lunches, to win over the Islanders fans.

#20 Evgeni Nabokov A-

Evgeni Nabokov Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov #20 of the New York Islanders warms up prior to the game against the Florida Panthers on October 22, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.
photo credit: zimbio.com
Nabokov has had a crazy ride to Long Island. After refusing to play for the Isles last season, he came back to the NHL and his first season on the Islanders will be considered a success many people, but Nabokov himself won't appreciate his season. He went 19-18-3 with a solid .914 save percentage in his first full season in the NHL since coming back from the Russian KHL, starting in exactly half of the games during the regular season. Nabby played like the elite goalie that he was for so many years with the San Jose Sharks, even winning games by himself at some points. He will be back next season, and now, he is in line to be the Islanders starting goalie if all works out. If he plays just a little better than he did this season, than the sky is the limit for the Isles.

Anders Nilsson was not given a grade because I am only grading the goalies that played in at least 5 games, he might get a better chance next season.

That's it for the goalies. Next up will be the defensemen.

Lets Go Islanders!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment