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Islanders Will Probably Open The Season With Three Goalies On The Roster

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano was recently asked whether Evgeni Nabokov, Al Montoya, and Rick DiPietro would all begin the season on the NHL roster.  According to Brett Cyrgalis at the NY Post, Capuano responded:

Are we leaning that way? I’m not going to lie to you, we probably are.  But we haven’t really determined who plays where and when.


I like the idea of the Isles starting the season with three goalies on the roster, but they can’t go too far into the season not knowing who their number one goalie is.  The team can go through the 82 game season with having two number one goalies essentially alternating starts, but having three on the roster for a majority of the season would be a mistake.  At this point in the preseason, it would be nearly impossible to determine which two of Nabokov, Montoya, and DiPietro deserve to start the season in the NHL.

Another problem that the Isles will eventually run into is what to do with the odd man out after the decision is made on which two goalies to keep on the NHL roster.  This is a good problem to have for the Islanders.  Rick DiPietro is finally fully healthy.  Having this competition throughout training camp and the preseason will make all three goalies better.  With only two preseason games left, 120 minutes of hockey isn’t nearly enough time to give these three the opportunity to separate themselves from the others.  I don’t think Capuano has a choice but to give all three goalies a shot during the beginning of the regular season, and then maybe make a choice after 10 or 15 games on who the two goalies will be.

It will be interesting to see what direction Capuano and the Isles decide to go in.  The Isles can’t go to far into the regular season with three goalies for a number of reasons, but the main reason being that having only two goalies on the roster leaves open another forward or defense spot for added depth.  Barring any injuries, I think the two goalies who will be with the Isles long-term are Nabokov and DiPietro.  Nabby looked good against Calgary.  He stopped 15 of 16 shots and had some trouble playing the puck, but overall looked very steady.  Each of the three has had one start so far this preseason.  The Isles play the Devils in Newark tonight and then the Boston Bruins in Bridgeport, Connecticut on Saturday.  I fully expect that Nabokov, Montoya, and DiPietro will get equal time over the final two preseason games and will be competing at an extremely high level.

In other news, the five players who were placed on waivers-Tomas Marcinko, Dylan Reese, Ty Wishart, Trevor Frischmon, and Tim Wallace-all cleared and will be sent back to training camp.  As expected, Steve Staios signed a one-year contract with the Isles earlier today.  Staios has looked good in the preseason and will provide some veteran stability on the blueline. 

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Filed in: New York Islanders, | The Islanders Informer | Permalink
  Tags: al+montoya, evgeni+nabokov, rick+dipietro



What the Isles goalie depth chart should be:

1. Evgeni Nabokov
1a. Al Montoya
3. Kevin Poulin
4. Rick DiPietro
5. Mikko Koskinen
6, Anders Nilsson

What the Isles goalie depth chart will be:

1. Rick DiPietro
2. Al Montoya
3. Evgeni Nabokov
4, Mikko Koskinen
5. Kevin Poulin
6. Anders Nilsson

Posted by Chris on 09/30/11 at 02:44 PM ET


Chris:  I absolutely agree with you that DiPietro should be far down the depth chart, but Snow and Wang have such a love affair with him that he will given more than his fair shot.  I hope that Nabokov and Montoya eventually are the two goalies on the NHL roster, but I think one of the spots is DiPietro’s to lose.

Posted by William Morrison on 09/30/11 at 03:49 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

one of the spots is DiPietro’s to lose.

With that insane contract the Isles gave him, it pretty much has to be that way. I know teams have buried huge contracts in the minors before, but that would make Wang look worse than ever. He seems to have enough PR problems already, don’t you think?

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 09/30/11 at 03:57 PM ET

Chet's avatar

don’t worry, guys. dipietro will be on the IR by 10/18. who knows how, but he will be. it’s a lock.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 09/30/11 at 04:12 PM ET


YzermanZetterberg: I do that think Wang and Snow have to give him more than a fair shot from a PR perspective, but from a perspective of what’s best for the team I think Nabokov and Montoya give the team the best shot to win games.

Posted by William Morrison on 09/30/11 at 04:20 PM ET


Chet:  It wouldn’t surprise anyone if that did in fact happen.  That is also just another reason why it’s a good problem to have three goalies battling for what will eventually be just two spots.

Posted by William Morrison on 09/30/11 at 04:21 PM ET



do you know if Dipietro’s contract is insurable? Most orgs take out injury insurance policies for the top players (cover most of the salary if the player goes ltir), but at some point, I have to think nobody would be left to accept this type of risk that would be associated with a guy like Dipietro.

IIRC, the Ducks couldn’t get a taker on Ray emery last year.

Posted by steviesteve on 09/30/11 at 04:55 PM ET


Steviesteve:  I think it’s insurable for 7 years and after that if he gets hurt, then the team is on the hook for the contract.

Posted by William Morrison on 09/30/11 at 05:04 PM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

DiPietro is good when he’s healthy, which I know is rare, but I feel like people forget that. If e somehow manages to stay healthy for a whole season, or even a half-season, he’s talented enough to make the cap hit a good deal (but probably not the term).  Nabokov should definitely be first, and I know Montoya was good for NYI last season, but DiPietro is definitely aore talented goaltender (again, if he is ever healthy).

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 09/30/11 at 06:11 PM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

a more talented** (damn iPhone)

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 09/30/11 at 06:11 PM ET


Do you think the thought of carrying three goalies on the roster was just to call some GM’s bluff?  If they are willing to carry three, it helps their bargaining position with other GMs that are looking to pry him loose from Snow.  If Snow is smart (and DP is healthy—a big IF), he’ll make this move within 10-15 games as you say, William.  But, knowing DP’s injury history, he’ll go down with an injury the day after that trade is made.

Poulin is clearly the one to watch here after Nabokov is dealt.  If he stays healthy, he could form a nice tandem with Montoya when DP goes down.

Posted by gstatman from Bergen County, NJ on 09/30/11 at 06:15 PM ET


NHLJeff: When 100% healthy, you are right, DiPietro is a good goaltender.  The team says he is 100%, but I need to see it for a sustained time period to believe it.  He has had so many injuries and seems very fragile.  It will make the goalie situation that much more interesting if he is in fact 100%.

Posted by William Morrison on 09/30/11 at 06:30 PM ET


gstatman: I think it could be to increase their leverage in bargaining to trade in the short-term.  I also think that they are keeping all three because they really can’t make a decision on which two to keep.  Many people think that if Nabokov plays a lot early and plays well, the Isles will trade him.  I think that there is a good chance Nabby will be with the Isles all season.  He seems pretty committed to the team so far during training camp and preseason and if he plays well he could fit in very well with this team.

I like Poulin as well, as you say.  This is certainly not a bad problem to have with so many quality goalies in the system.

Posted by William Morrison on 09/30/11 at 06:34 PM ET

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Welcome to The Islanders Informer.  TII will be a forum for discussion, debate, and both Islander and hockey related news. 

I'm an attorney by day and hockey fan by night.  I'm always open to feedback, suggestions, agreements, disagreements, opinions, and discussion. 

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