Islanders need one of their goalies to step up if they want to be serious contenders

Getty Images

This is part of New York Islanders Day on PHT…

The New York Islanders were one of the few teams that kept three goalies on their roster last season. Thomas Greiss started the majority of the games because Jaroslav Halak was injured for a good chunk of the regular season.

Once the playoffs rolled around, Greiss became the team’s starting goaltender again, but only because Halak was sidelined with a groin injury.

Greiss ended up giving the Islanders some solid goaltending in their opening round series against the Panthers, as he gave up two goals or less in four of the six games. Things got a little more difficult in the second round when the Isles were eliminated by the Bolts in five games.

Overall, Greiss’ playoffs were a success. The question is, can he carry the load for an entire season?

It’s hard to say which goalie has a leg up in the race to be number one, but it’s clear that one of these two netminders will have to take the job and run with it in order for the Islanders to be a serious contender in the East.

Halak is signed for two more seasons at a cap hit of $4.5 million, while Greiss has one year remaining on his contract at $1.5 million. Don’t forget, the Islanders also have J-F Berube under contract in 2016-17.

As Halak pointed out in May, this is far from an ideal situation.

“It’s not ideal,” Halak said of the Islanders’ goalie situation, per the New York Post. “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.”

As of right now, nothing’s changed in the Islanders’ crease since those comments were made. Halak has to realize that his inability to stay healthy is one of the main reasons why GM Garth Snow feels the need to keep three goalies around.

The Islanders did what they could this off-season, but it’s hard to think that they made their team better. Gone are Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin and in come Andrew Ladd, Jason Chimera and P.A. Parenteau.

One of the ways New York can overcome the losses of Okposo and Nielsen in particular is if one of these three goalies can step up steal more games.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports

MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.