Today the New York Islanders traded a fourth round draft pick for pending free agent goaltender Jaroslav Halak.
Halak split time between the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals last season, with a brief period in which he was property of the Buffalo Sabres, but he never appeared for Buffalo. He was 23-13 with a 2.25 goals against average and .921 save percentage during the 2013-14 season.
The Isles dealt the fourth round pick they acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks which they received in exchange for Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin during the season for the rights to the 28 year old goaltender.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) May 1, 2014
If the Isles are able to lock up Halak to a long term deal this will go down as an excellent move by general manager Garth Snow. The Isles are in desperate need to a legitimate NHL caliber goaltender, and Halak certainly is that. If Halak walks away from the Islanders without signing this offseason will be added to the lists of wasted moves by Garth Snow this season, which includes trading Matt Moulson and a first round pick for Thomas Vanek, only to see Vanek traded away to the Montreal Canadiens at the trade deadline for a much less attractive return package.
If nothing else, hopefully this is an indication that the Islanders will be aggressive in their efforts to improve the clubs glaring weaknesses. If they successfully addressed the goaltending issue by locking up Halak it will allow Snow to go all out for help on the blue line and secondary scoring help for John Tavares and Kyle Okposo when free agency starts.
Halak is a veteran of 8 NHL seasons, and has finished in the top ten in Vezina Trophy (best goaltender) voting twice. He has posted a career 144-85-29 record in272 games played in his career with a 2.38 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.