Despite the way it ended, with a first round defeat in six games, the 2013 season was a good one for the New York Islanders in a lot of ways. They established themselves as an up-and-coming club, with plenty of young talent, and even some elite players making their way to superstardom.
One of the downfalls of this club, though, was ultimately the goaltending. Evgeni Nabokov had a decent regular season, and was actually really good down the stretch, but ended up doing what he typically does in the playoffs: melt down. It was a rough postseason for the Russian netminder.
Nabokov’s final numbers on the year were solid. He posted a .910 save percentage and a 2.50 goals-against average, numbers that include three shutouts. He won six of his last nine starts and really dominated down the stretch, where the Islanders needed wins the most.
But the postseason was another story. Nabokov finished the Stanley Cup Playoffs with an incredibly poor 4.44 GAA and an .842 save percentage. Those numbers are putrid, even by the poor playoff standards set forth by Nabokov over his career.
Which means they should look at outside options. Which means that the should look at trading for a guy like Roberto Luongo.
The one hiccup in the Islanders looking at Luongo is that they’ve been burned with long term contracts for goaltenders before. In fact, they’re going to use a buyout on Rick DiPietro later on this summer. So they may not even be willing to take a look at him.
But Luongo is going to be traded this summer, and probably at a lower price than Vancouver GM Mike Gillis has been asking for. The Islanders have some talent to offer up from their farm system, and plenty of it. There’s a match there, at least on paper.
Is this something realistic? If there wasn’t that history with DiPietro, then possibly. But regardless of what Garth Snow plans on doing, examining a deal for Luongo is something he should do. He’s a proven goaltender, with a better track record in the postseason than Nabokov, as hard as that might be to believe. There should at least be some tire kicking.