Halak To Undergo Sports Hernia Surgery
New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak is to undergo surgery to repair a sports hernia, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
Got word last night that Jaro Halak needs surgery to repair a sports hernia. Not sure if he's had it yet. 6-8 week recovery. #Isles
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) May 18, 2016
The 31-year-old was limited to just 36 appearances for the Islanders last season, missing the clubs final seventeen regular season games and all eleven playoff games due to a groin injury he sustained during the clubs 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 8th.
Halak was initially expected to miss six-to-eight weeks, but ultimately played no further part in the organisations campaign and is now likely to be out until at least July, possibly throwing in to doubt his participation at the World Cup of Hockey in September where he was slated to appear for Team Europe.
In his absence, Thomas Greiss impressed many with his performances in the Islanders goal, most notably during the club’s Eastern Conference quarter final victory over Atlantic Division winners Florida.
The Slovak stoppers future with the club was further cast in to doubt last week when he publicly aired his frustration at the organisations three-goalie system, which saw Jean-Francois Berube remain with the team throughout the year, following the Islanders elimination from the playoffs by Tampa Bay.
It leaves general manager Garth Snow with some decisions to make this summer. Halak went 18-13-4 last season with a .919 save percentage last season, and is still widely considered by many to be the clubs best goaltender.
But Greiss’ success, and lower cap hit, combined with Halak’s rumoured unhappiness at the Barclay’s Center leaves many wondering whether he will see out the remaining two-years of his contract with the franchise.
Halak is set to earn $4.5 million in each of the next two seasons, compared to Greiss $1.5 million. A not insignificant difference as Snow seeks to retain the services of Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo and Matt Martin during the offseason.
While most analysts still believe the former Montreal and St. Louis puck stopper is the Islanders best option, events of recent weeks have certainly stirred up a conversation of which direction the franchise should head in, especially as it now boasts perhaps its strongest ever crop of goaltending prospects.