Why Halak Needs to Remain in Bridgeport



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Now lets look at how he would be a help for the Islanders.

Before looking at the long-term effects of keeping Jaro Halak in the organization, the short term benefits need to be understood.  Halak is a better goalie than JF Berube.  There is very little debate about that point, when looking at the careers of each man.  While Berube may (doubtful at this point) may be better long term, Halak is the guy needed to help Greiss with this playoff push.  The schedule has tightened up and there are four back to back situations in which the Islanders need to navigate.  In addition to playing back to back, they are also playing three games in four nights (in each situation).  That means that the Islanders need a backup goalie for at least four games during the remainder of the season.  So, for at least four games this season the Islanders will not be putting themselves in the best position to win hockey games, during a time where each game can be critical.

There is no longer any doubt, Thomas Greiss is the starting goaltender for this team. Keep in mind though, Greiss has never played more than 41 games in an NHL season a number he will surpass before they return home next week.  In fact, he has not played in more than 55 games since 2009 when he was in the American Hockey League.   If Greiss plays in every game the rest of the season he will have played 57 games and that is before the playoffs start, which is a sizeable workload, specifically with most of those games coming later in the season.  He will need some breaks along the way.  As stated above he will need at the very least rest one game in each of the four back to backs along with probably another night or two along the way.  A backup is important even without bringing up injuries.

The next question needs to be who should be playing those four to six games down the stretch, unfortunately the answer is not JF Berube.  While Berube may become a good backup, his numbers (which are a small sample size) do not back up that belief.  In his 12 games, he has a save percentage below 900 in addition to a 3.24 Goals against average, which means on average he is giving up .75 more goals a game then Greiss.  Taking those four back to backs that would mean Berube gives up an extra goal in three of those four games.  There is also no reason to invest in Berube as a backup, as he will not appear in his 28 games for the season, which makes him a ufa during the summer.  With how Snow has treated this goaltending situation, there is next to no chance Berube will return to possibly the same situation again.  In order to commit to this playoff, run a new back up is needed.  The experiment failed time to move on.

On the other side Halak is the guy that needs to take those reigns.  Since being sent down Halak has a .931 save percentage which admittedly is inflated because he is more talented than most of the players in that league.  It shows though that Halak has taken his assignment seriously and is committed to helping his team win (or making himself look good, either way it’s a benefit).  Even a Halak that struggled earlier in the season, he put up a save percentage of .904 and you can expect improvement on that going forward.  Halak also has the experience to play to the moment in these games.  There is not going to be a single moment that is too big for Halak down the stretch, the same cannot be said for Berube.

There will be four to six games this season in which Greiss cannot or will not play.  On Friday March 24th the Islanders play the Penguins in Pittsburgh.  The Isles will be coming off a game with the Rangers two nights prior, and they host the Bruins the next night (along with a Monday night March 27th matchup with the Predators).  It is an obvious game for Greiss to take a breather, who do you want in the crease for the Islanders, Berube or Halak.  I’m betting you picked Halak.




About Ryan Welsh

Old enough to remember Pierre Turgeon but not old enough to remember Bryan Trottier.

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