Jaroslav Halak remains a free agent this summer despite coming off an impressive season with the New York Rangers that included a +1.3 adjusted save percentage that ranked 10th in the NHL (just behind playing partner Igor Shesterkin’s +1.4) to close within five wins of 300 in his NHL career. It’s hard to believe Halak won’t get a chance to chase down that milestone next season, especially when you consider how well the Slovak veteran reads the game.
Halak sat down for an extended video session in Vancouver in February, and it was no surprise a goalie who prides himself on those reads had a lot of great insights to offer in the Pro Reads format. Halak is back to share more of them in his fifth installment.
After walking us through a 2-on-1 led by Vegas Golden Knights sniper Jack Eichel in his last two Pro Reads, this time Halak is facing a clear-cut 2-on-1 against the Calgary Flames. (It may be worth a quick review of the last Pro Reads against Vegas sniper Jack Eichel before analyzing this one because Halak references the differences between those plays.)
It’s not the perfect freeze frame because the pass option is not in the picture completely yet, but we’ll tell you now, it’s a left-handed shot. Given that, and all the other information you can glean from this image, what factors matter the most in terms of how you would play it?
What do you notice — and like (or dislike) — about how Halak is handling it at this point?
Like most rush chances, speed matters when making these reads, so rather than posting more freeze frames, watch the entire save sequence and ask yourself if a left-handed puck carrier is more or less likely to shoot? How does the pass option being a lefty affect the read?
THE PRO READ
Let’s hear how Halak read the attack and his keys to managing it:
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