In the wake of last night’s contentious loss to Minnesota, the Islanders have placed veteran netminder Jaroslav Halak on waivers.
The move comes after Halak was hooked following four goals on 24 shots, and taken to task by head coach Jack Capuano for the poor effort.
“Jaro wasn’t sharp at all,” Capuano said, per Newsday. “Some soft goals to start, and then we had to battle our way back in.
“We needed a better effort from Jaro, quite honestly.”
Today’s move could mark the end of what’s been a tumultuous calendar year for Halak. Signed to a four-year, $18 million contract in 2014, he started out as the club’s unquestioned No. 1 netminder, but lost his stranglehold on that position with a variety of injuries, including one in March that sidelined him for the regular season and all of New York’s playoff run.
Thomas Greiss took over No. 1 duties and fared well, but it was Halak who bested Greiss for the Team Europe starting gig at the World Cup of Hockey. Given how well Halak played at the tournament, there was optimism for him to reclaim the starting gig in Brooklyn, and run with it.
Didn’t happen, though.
Never a fan of the club’s three-goalie system — J-F Berube was also in the mix — Halak split duties through the first three months of this season and posted mediocre numbers: 6-8-5 record, 3.23 GAA and a .904 save percentage.
In late October, Halak’s agent — Octagon Hockey’s Allan Walsh — took to Twitter to express his client’s frustration with the three-goalie setup. Not long after, the Isles reportedly explored trading Halak, but found no takers.
Halak has a solid enough body of work to warrant a waiver claim, but the finances ($4.5 million per through 2018) will make it extremely difficult for a team to take on. Should he clear, the Isles could send him to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, and receive a bit of financial relief in the process.
More importantly, though, it would finally solve the crowded crease conundrum.