Halak initially suffered a groin injury on March 8 in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was out of the lineup for the remainder of the season, including the playoff run. He did have the opportunity to skate in the second round, but a return was not to be.
Halak managed 36 starts in the 2015-2016 season with the Islanders ahead of his injury and posted a record of 18-13-4 record. He had 2.30 goals against average and .919 save percentage with three shutouts.
Halak’s efforts were overshadowed by the play of 30-year-old German netminder Thomas Greiss, who manned the position in the post-season and posted a 2.46 goals against average with a .923 save percentage in 11 playoff starts. He went 23-11-4 in the regular season, with a 2.36 goals against average and a .925 save percentage.
The injury to Halak highlighted the issues in the New York goal and there is the suggestion that there isn’t room for the 31-year-old from Slovakia may not have a spot on the Islanders come the 2016-2017 season.
After all, the club is pretty high on Jean-Francois Berube and Greiss proved himself in the playoffs. That could leave Halak and his $4.5 million annual cap hit on the outs.
And Halak doesn’t exactly seem pleased to be part of a three-goalie system, noting to the New York Post earlier this month that the situation is “not ideal.”
“I’ve tried to tell [management], and this is not up to me,” said Halak. “I like it here, but they just have to decide which way they want to go for next season. [Jean-Francois] is a young goalie, Greisser played well all season long. So we’ll see.”
Greiss has a year to go on his contract and you can expect the Islanders to take a run at signing him to something long-term. He’s currently worth a cap hit of $1.5 million a year.