The procedure is expected to sideline the Slovakian goalie for 6-8 weeks. Barring complications in recovery, it (presumably) won’t keep Halak from playing for Team Europe in September’s World Cup of Hockey.
But looking further down the road, Halak’s future in New York remains unclear.
At locker clear-out following the Isles’ second-round loss to Tampa Bay, Halak voiced his displeasure with the club’s three-goalie system. Halak, Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube all saw time this year (technically, it was a four-goalie system when you consider AHL farmhand Christoper Gibson got a couple of starts as well).
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After getting hurt in training camp, Halak suffered a severe groin injury on March 8 and was not able to return as his team lost in the second round to the Lightning. Yet as Thomas Greiss ably took the reins, and as the team remains infatuated with 24-year-old J-F Berube, the 30-year-old Halak and his two years at an annual $4.5 million salary-cap hit make him a possible trade piece.
Either way, the team is not looking to continue a three-goalie system next season. Halak admitted “it’s not ideal,” and added, “I’ve tried to tell [management], and this is not up to me.
“I like it here, but they just have to decide which way they want to go for next season. J-F is a young goalie, Greisser played well all season long. So we’ll see.”
Halak’s contract isn’t particularly burdensome, but — in a flush goalie market with plenty of affordable options available — Isles GM Garth Snow might find it tough to move.
The x-factor in all this is Halak’s health.
He turned 31 last week, has a history of groin/abdominal injuries and has only broken the 50-games-played mark three times over his 10 NHL campaigns.