Something needs to change.
Through 15 games in December, no team saw more goals against than the Islanders, who allowed at least three tallies in 12 contests. On seven nights, that number ballooned to five or more.
Tuesday's loss, coupled with a victory by the surging Carolina Hurricanes, bumped New York from a playoff position, an absurd reality considering the Islanders' dynamic offense trails only the NHL-best Tampa Bay Lightning.
Time is running short for general manager Garth Snow to bring in a netminding reinforcement ahead of the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Here are five possibilities worthy of his consideration:
For the third consecutive year, the fiery netminder has impressed on a poor Sabres squad. He's posted a .916 save percentage over 30 games, putting him in the same conversation as Braden Holtby, Ben Bishop, and Martin Jones, among others.
Lehner is set to become a restricted free agent at season's end. If things go south, there is no long-term commitment for New York. As it stands, Halak is set to become unrestricted this summer, while Greiss is signed through the next two campaigns.
Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek
The Detroit Red Wings could have a pair of goaltenders up for grabs, either of which could be an upgrade for the Islanders.
Despite pundits seeing Petr Mrazek as the Red Wings' goaltender of the future, Jimmy Howard has taken the majority of time between the pipes, and deservedly so. He boasts a .913 save rate through 32 appearances this season; not bad on a Red Wings team that sits ahead of only three teams in the East.
While Mrazek has struggled over the past two campaigns, the 25-year-old netminder still holds potential. He's just two years removed from a 27-win campaign. Only once in the last 10 seasons has an Islanders goalie registered that many victories (Halak, 2014-15).
Michael Hutchinson had a tough time with the Winnipeg Jets last season, but the 27-year-old has rebuilt his game and his confidence in the minors this year, proving he's ready for another shot at prime time.
Through 18 games with the AHL's Manitoba Moose, Hutchinson has lost just twice while posting a league-leading .947 save percentage. Not only could Hutchinson serve as a potential upgrade for the Islanders, he also comes at an affordable price, as his cap hit stands at just $1.15 million.
It'd be odd for Arizona to move on from Antti Raanta after acquiring him in a blockbuster deal last summer – the same trade that brought Derek Stepan to the desert – but all options must be considered for a squad that has occupied the league's basement all season.
When healthy, Raanta has put up respectable numbers in Arizona, as he owns a .912 save percentage through 20 games despite the Coyotes allowing 32 shots a night.
As an added bonus, Raanta could quickly fit into the Metropolitan Division, where he previously resided for two seasons with the New York Rangers, a stretch that saw him post a 27-14-4 showing. Like Hutchinson, Raanta also comes at a cheap ticket, as he's on an expiring contract that carries a $1-million cap hit.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)
Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.