The revolving door of goalies continued in the 2011-2012 season for the Islanders. Rick DiPietro was once again MIA for most of the year, and Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov bounced in and out of the lineup with various injuries, including a concussion apiece. That made room for young netminders Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson to get some ice time — and it also gave the Isles the chance to sign veteran John Grahame to a short-term contract.
The five goalies that posted ice time on the Island combined for a 3.03 GAA and a .900 even save percentage. It certainly wasn’t easy to keep it above or even at .900, what with the holes on defense and all of the injuries, but they managed to do so. Let’s see how each goalie fared individually.
Evgeni Nabokov: The 36-year-old Russian got over his earlier temper tantrums and decided to try it out for the orange and blue — and he looked disinterested at first, but slowly turned it on, and somehow his indignance turned into a positive attitude. In the end, he posted the best GAA and save percentage of all five goalies (2.55 and .914) in 42 games- exactly half of a season. Nabokov had become the Isles’ most stable, consistent goalie as the season went on, even though he suffered from a few injuries. With a fresh new contract under his belt, he’ll no doubt hope to continue that success. Grade: A-
Al Montoya: Monty started out strong, suffered a concussion on Dec. 20, and missed a month’s worth of ice time. After coming back, his play certainly suffered, his save % below .900 for the final six games of the season (and nine of 13 games started post-concussion). Part of it was, in my opinion, a result of his perhaps not being given (or giving himself) enough recovery time from his initial injury, as well as not being played enough in order to shake off the rust, but the fact remains that he did not deliver when the team most needed it. As a result, he could (and probably will) be out of a job next season. Grade: C-
Rick DiPietro: This just isn’t fair. 8 games played? Nah. You be the judge. Grade: INC
(Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson will be assessed in my Call-Ups post.)
Overall Goalie Grade: B-
Does this seem high to you? Perhaps it is, but I’m a little biased. Also, you can’t really discount the great two and a half months Monty had, or the remarkable consistency Nabokov displayed after getting off to a shaky start. I can only hope the goalies can get some more goddamn support in front of them.
Until next time.