With yesterday’s win over the Red Wings, Thomas Greiss pushed his record to a sparking 16-6-2 on the year, with a .931 save percentage and 2.16 GAA — pretty good for a backup netminder making just $1.5 million this season.
Of course, Greiss might not be the backup for long.
[Isles head coach Jack] Capuano has been adamant he is going to use the players he deems are playing best, and there’s no question Greiss has outplayed [Jaroslav] Halak recently.
This was Greiss’ third start in the past five games, having given up four goals on 90 shots in that span. Halak got torched for six goals on 25 shots on Saturday in Carolina during a 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes. In his previous five starts, Halak has a .850 save percentage and 4.26 goals-against average, and in his 10 starts since returning from injury back on Jan. 7, Halak has a .896 and 3.12.
“When you have a hot goalie and he’s playing well, you want to play him,” Capuano said.
Greiss, 30, has been one of GM Garth Snow’s savviest acquisitions. Signed to a two-year, $3 million deal this past summer with little fanfare, the German ‘tender has become arguably the NHL’s best backup and given the organization the kind of goaltending depth it hasn’t seen in ages.
Third-stringer J-F Berube has been one of the AHL’s top netminders over the last few seasons, and the club could really have something in ’14 draftee Ilya Sorokin, a 20-year-old that’s currently lighting up the KHL.
But the real story in Brooklyn is this year’s playoffs, and if Capuano will have a decision on his hands by early April.
Right now, it’s tough to envision Halak not starting in the playoffs. He has 30 games of postseason experience to Greiss’ one, and was very good during the Isles’ opening-round loss to the Caps last spring, finishing with a .926 save percentage and 2.30 GAA.
That said, it’s going to be hard for Capuano to keep Greiss out of the net, especially if he continues playing this well.