Islanders waive Halak

Jaroskav Halak, Tanner Glass

In a move that finally came today, the Islanders placed goalie Jaroslav Halak on waivers. The 31-year old veteran struggled in his third year with the club. Following a very good World Cup of Hockey tournament in which he backstopped Team Europe to a surprising run to the Finals before losing to Canada, Halak was inconsistent going 6-8-5 with a 3.23 goals-against-average and .904 save percentage with one shutout.

Signed by general manager Garth Snow in the summer of 2014 after he coughed up a fourth round pick for his exclusive negotiating rights, Halak posted a career best 38 wins with a 2.43 GAA, .914 save percentage and six shutouts in a career high 59 games in ’14-15. He led them to a first round appearance against the Capitals. It was a hard fought series that the Islanders lost in seven games. Halak had a strong series posting a 2.30 GAA and .926 save percentage.

After winning Game 6 which was the final game at Nassau Coliseum, the Isles fell to the Caps 2-1. Halak kept them in it with 24 saves. The Isles only had 11 shots on Braden Holtby. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the series winner with 7:18 left in regulation.

His second season with the Islanders was cut short due to a lower body injury. In 36 games, he performed admirably winning 18 games with a 2.30 GAA, .919 save percentage and three shutouts. He split duties with Thomas Greiss, who also performed well. The German backup won 23 games and posted a 2.36 GAA, .925 save percentage in 41 games. With Halak out for the postseason, it was Greiss who backstopped the Isles to their first series win since ’93. A thrilling six-game triumph over the Panthers in which captain John Tavares scored the tying and winning goals.

While Halak has been inconsistent in his third year of a four year contract, Greiss has been steadier winning eight of 13 starts with a 2.48 GAA and .922 save percentage. With the organization opting to keep three goalies including Jean-Francois Berube, it became a numbers game. They obviously see something in Berube to believe he could be the goalie of the future. They picked up the 25-year old former Kings’ 2009 fourth round draft pick off waivers last year.

Berube hasn’t gotten into many games allowing eight goals on 81 shots in four appearances with a 0-2-1 record. That should change with Halak gone.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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