It was announced on Saturday morning that the New York Islanders will go with Al Montoya in their net, when they take on the Florida Panthers, to open their 2012 NHL campaign on Saturday night.
Going into this NHL campaign, the biggest question surrounding the team from Long Island is which goalie was going to get the bulk of the starts, which goalie will act as the back-up and who could be the odd-man out. Well, with Montoya, Rick DiPietro and Evgeni Nabokov all in the fold, you can see how this situation became somewhat difficult to manage.
With the announcement that Montoya is the guy to open the season, it is really only a small indication of how this team will move forward, but it does raise a lot of eyebrows, especially considering DiPietro has a large number of years left on his contract as the franchise goalie and Nabokov has a large number of career wins to his name and should have been taken into consideration.
Instead, they go with Montoya, who did well enough to make an impact at the end of last season, helping the Islanders deal with some depth issues in their crease, winning some games, and obviously made another big impact in training camp and the preseason to earn this start.
With these three goalies, for the time being, everyone will be on a short leash, the team will likely ride the hot hand through the season, so consistency will be based on each goalie's consistency in the net.
How does this impact the draft? Well, Montoya was taken by Peter H. in the draft, so there is an immediate impact to his start on Saturday night. Montoya was taken 101st overall in the draft, only four picks after Nabokov, who was taken by Allan S.. Peter starts Saturday's action only 3 points behind Allan in the early part of this season and a good performance by Montoya could swing that around in a hurry.
Without a consistent Islanders fan in the draft this season, DiPietro was not taken this year and likely for good reason. Not only is DiPietro battling two goalies for minutes in the crease, faith in his health is also quite sketchy and is always taken into consideration when drafting.