The Islanders inked goaltender Al Montoya to a one-year contract extension. Montoya has been exceptional since joining the Islanders compiling an 8-4-4 record to go along with his stellar .928 save percentage. All while wearing his San Antonio Rampage helmet in every start he has made claiming he doesn’t want to jinx his play and change helmets. Well I think it is about time to start designing Mr. Monyota a new Isles mask.
The beauty behind this signing is that Montoya was acquired in exchange for a 2011 6th round pick from the Phoenix Coyotes midway through the season as the Islanders went through a slew of injuries to their netminders.
This is a great signing for the Isles for many reasons. One, Montoya has been very impressive between the pipes and seems focused to prove to everyone that he is an NHL goalie after things didn’t pan out according to plan since being taken 6th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2004 draft. He has been extremely consistent for this young club, giving them a chance to win every night since his arrival. Two, with DiPietro’s never ending injury brigade, Montoya brings stability to a team with playoff expectations next season. Without a legitimate back up to DiPietro this team doesn’t stand a chance. Lastly, it allows young goalie prospects Kevin Poulin and Mikko Koskinen the proper time to develop in the minors. Furthermore, I know he has only seen action in 17 games this season but I feel he can make the leap to become an NHL starter. Not to mention his contract is 14 years shorter than DiPietro’s. At this point I could take a shot at Rick but I am a DP supporter the man will not give up and perhaps by some sort of miracle he can regain form which would be an incredible boost to this team. I do not agree with handing any player especially a goaltender a 15 year deal, but what’s done is done and Isles fans need to move on.
Montoya was just an afterthought in the Coyotes organization with Ilya Bryzgalov and Jason LaBarbera manning the cage for the Yotes and prospect Matt Climie seeing the majority of the rubber for the San Antonio Rampage. Montoya a once highly touted first round pick was relegated to AHL back up.
I will trust Garth Snow’s opinion of a goaltender afterall he was a serviceable netminder in his days. I will also trust a goaltender who posted an 86-29-8 record in three years with the University of Michigan, led USA to its first World Junior Championship gold medal in 2004, and has a chip on his shoulder to prove he is an NHL starter.