While Jaroslav Halak’s tenure with the Washington Capitals was brief, his time in the Metropolitan Division may just be getting started.
Halak agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on Thursday on a four-year, $18 million contract that keeps the potential free agent from testing the open market July 1.
The Islanders acquired Halak from the Capitals on May 1 for a fourth round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. The trade gave New York an exclusive window to negotiate with the 28-year-old before free agency.
Halak went 5-4-3 in 12 games with the Capitals last season, posting a 2.31 goals-against-average and .930 save percentage over that span. The Capitals acquired Halak on March 5, in a trade deadline deal that saw Michal Neuvirth sent to the Buffalo Sabres.
Considering that Halak’s deal comes with an annual salary cap hit of $4.5 million, and given his prior experience with the Montreal Canadiens and St. Louis Blues, the Islanders may have found their new No. 1 goalie as they begin a new era in franchise history. Next season will be the team’s last on Long Island, before moving to Brooklyn for the start of the 2015-16 campaign.
Veteran Evgeni Nabokov, who has been the Islanders’ No.1 goalie for the past three seasons, could still return to Long Island according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, but it’s hard to imagine the soon-to-be 39-year-old returning as the starter.
Other goalies that remain without a contract for next season and could become unrestricted free agents include Ryan Miller, Ilya Bryzgalov, Carter Hutton, Jonas Gustavsson and Jonas Hiller.