Should Tampa Bay stop rolling out Roloson?

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Faced with a shallow free agent goalie market, Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman opted for familiarity by re-signing Dwayne Roloson. After allowing 18 goals in his first four starts, pundits such as the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont wonder if the 42-year-old goalie is at the end of the line.

The real question might not be about Roloson’s performances alone, but instead revolves around whether solid backup Mathieu Garon deserves the starting job. It’s a ludicrously small sample, but here’s a snapshot of the two goalies’ work so far.

Garon: 5 games played, 2-1-1 record, 1.51 GAA, .948 save percentage and 1 shutout.
Roloson: 4 GP, 1-2-1 record, 5.09 GAA, .858 save pct. and 0 shutouts.

As is often the case with a small set of games, the circumstances have been different for both goalies. The Lightning have allowed 31.75 shots per game against Roloson and just 26.8 per game against Garon, so in the simplest way, it seems like life has been easier for their presumed backup. (Roloson was also pulled from one of those games.)

Still, things have been pretty bad for Roloson since he allowed just one goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in his first start of the season. He gave up 17 of his 18 goals allowed in the last three games, including seven against the not-all-that-potent Florida Panthers.

So should Tampa Bay give up on Rolie the Goalie? I’d say no, but with the caveat that they must ride the hot hand with Garon for the time being. Roloson was noticeably hot-and-cold with the Lightning last season, so the Bolts should be patient with what could be a lull for their aging goalie.

It wouldn’t hurt if they started playing better defense in front of him, either.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)