Based on the numbers? Absolutely.
Consider: in 272 appearances for Montreal, St. Louis and Washington, Jaroslav Halak has a career NHL save percentage of .918. That puts the 29-year-old in the company of Pekka Rinne (.918) and Sergei Bobrovsky (.919), and not all that far off from Henrik Lundqvist (.920).
Goalies with a career save percentage below Halak’s include Carey Price (.917), Jimmy Howard (.916), Ryan Miller (.915), Corey Crawford (.914), and many others with recognizable names.
If there’s a risk in signing Halak to a four-year deal, as the Islanders have done, it might be his health. Halak has a history of groin injuries, and that’s a concern for any goalie.
But the groin wasn’t an issue for Halak last season, thanks perhaps to a more dedicated offseason fitness regimen. And at any rate, a risk-free goalie simply doesn’t exist. All of them can get injured. All of them struggle at times. It’s the nature of the position. If Isles general manager Garth Snow were to have signed Miller or Jonas Hiller, two other pending unrestricted free agents, there would’ve been no guarantees either.
Snow, to his credit, targeted Halak, and he got him. And Isles fans should be happy about that. Now it’s up to Halak to deliver, because there’s a lot more than just a playoff spot riding on their 2014-15 season.
Isles’ team save percentage, by season
2013-14: .894 (30th in NHL)
2012-13: .899 (T-24th)
2011-12: .898 (T-28th)
2010-11: .902 (T-23rd)
2009-10: .901 (T-23rd)
2008-09: .900 (T-23rd)
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.