A couple of non-playoff teams are getting a jump on the off-season, as the Washington Capitals traded the rights to pending unrestricted free agent, Jaroslav Halak, to the New York Islanders for a mid-round draft pick.
On the face of Halak's 2014 season, you would have likely thought that he had a rough year for the number of times he has been traded since the trade deadline. Going from St. Louis to Buffalo to Washington to Long Island, one might assume that nobody was really looking to retain his services for whatever reason.
That wasn't necessarily the case, as he just found himself in some unfortunate situations. St. Louis thought they could upgrade with the acquisition of Ryan Miller, Buffalo is in turbo rebuilding mode and wanted as much return as possible on pending UFA's, while the Capitals do have some goaltending depth in the system, which may not cost them down the line. Long Island, on the other hand, doesn't have much for goaltending signed on beyond the 2014 season and at age 28, Halak is a fine candidate for the number one job on a team that is on the way up.
Between St. Louis, Buffalo and Washington, Halak was able to register 29 wins and 5 shutouts, plus an assist for 69 points in my hockey pool draft, good enough for 36th overall in pool scoring. In terms of this year's draft, which was 24 teams deep, that's a mid 2nd round pick in the draft. No one is reserving mid 2nd round picks for crappy goalies, so Halak should do just fine.
In an injury-plagued season, Halak's predecessor, Evgeni Nabokov, was good enough for a 1.04 points per 60 minutes played pace, which would be the expectation for the Slovakian keeper. If Halak can get 65-70 starts with the Islanders, 70-75 points doesn't seem out of the question.