The Wednesday Wake-Up Call is where we pick a struggling player and kindly ask him to SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY. COME ON. YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS!
Dwayne Roloson, G, Tampa Bay Lightning
Key Stats: 11GP, 5-4-1, 3.29 GAA, .895 save percentage.
Cap hit: $3 million annually.
It feels wrong calling out the oldest player in the NHL. I mean, Roloson’s the only player born in the 60s. He’s older than his current head coach, Guy Boucher, and once backed up Trevor Kidd and Rick Tabaracci.
If anything, we should applaud Roli for hanging on this long.
But that’s not how the Wednesday Wake-Up Call works.
Instead, we’re taking him to task for his underwhelming play. Most of this stems from how impressive he was after coming over from the Islanders last season — Roloson went 18-12-4 with a 2.56 GAA and .912 save percentage following the January trade. He recorded four shutouts in his first 11 games and another one in Game 7 against Pittsburgh, becoming the oldest-ever goalie to post a Game 7 shutout.
As such, Tampa signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal in June. (The move also played a role in backup Mike Smith leaving for Phoenix, which in hindsight proved costly.)
Roloson’s dealing with several issues at the moment. One is finishing games, as he’s been yanked in two of his nine starts and probably could’ve been hooked from more (for example, when he allowed seven goals on 33 shots in a loss to Florida.) Another issue is backup Mathieu Garon, who has received almost equal playing time but posted considerably better numbers (3-3-1, 2.80 GAA, .909 save percentage.) Garon replaced Roloson during Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets and was solid in relief, stopping 16 of 17 shots.
This isn’t to say Roloson is done in Tampa Bay. He’s a traditionally slow starter and whispers about fatigue and burnout don’t really fly — even though he’s 42, he’s only played in 577 NHL contests (comparatively, Roberto Luongo’s played in 685.) Besides, there’s no way Tampa wants to roll with Garon as its No. 1.
So wake up, Dwayne Roloson. Your team needs you.