Jaroslav Halak waived by New York Islanders
Things between the New York Islanders and veteran starting netminder Jaroslav Halak have been tense since earlier this season, when Halak’s agent took to Twitter to publicly complain about the team’s three-goaltender system.
At the time of the complaints, it was reported that the Islanders decided to publicly shop Halak around the NHL. With his high cap hit, though, it didn’t seem that there were any buyers.
As a result, it looks like the team is giving him up for free.
It was confirmed on Friday morning that Halak, who has a 6-8-5 record and a .904 save percentage so far this year, has been placed on waivers. The other 29 NHL clubs will have the next 24 hours to place a claim; if no one opts to pick him up, he’ll be eligible for reassignment to the AHL at 12:00 PM EST on Saturday.
This comes as a huge shock, given Halak’s tenure and pedigree. A ninth round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 2003, Halak has skated in the NHL for 11 seasons – and done quite well in the process. His poor save percentage and record this year is in keeping with the struggles of the entire Islanders roster.
With publicly aired tensions between Halak’s agent and the Islanders, though, the writing may have been on the wall for this kind of situation for a while.
A few teams around the NHL could certainly use the help, but don’t have a good situation to place a claim. The Los Angeles Kings are still without starter Jonathan Quick (and just staying afloat in the process), but don’t have the cap space. The Dallas Stars have two sub-par starters in Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen, but already have too much money committed to those two. The Arizona Coyotes are struggling all around, and it’s affecting Mike Smith – but without losing Smith, their hands are also tied.
This means that Halak could be headed for the AHL. If that’s the case, though, don’t expect this saga to go away quietly.