*Update – Halak signs four-year, $18.5 million contract with the team (May 23)
Fantasy Impact: The Washington Capitals have traded goaltender Jaroslav Halak to the New York Islanders for a fourth-round draft pick.
The Capitals get: tons of intangibles here. They get stability, a clean slate under new management – and of course a draft pick for a goalie on an expiring contract. Now the new GM can decide whether to roll with Braden Holtby and Phillip Grubauer (that’s what I would do) or to bring in a veteran like Tim Thomas for a year and transition the kids in.
The Islanders get: a prime chance to sign a top starting goaltender for the next five or six years. I do believe that Halak is a top goalie, but only when he’s healthy. He gets hurt a lot, which – overall – makes him an average fantasy goalie own at best. But this team is on the cusp of making the playoffs with regularity and Halak is arriving there just in time to take full advantage. Assuming he signs. Which he should, because there really isn’t a better fit out there for him.
Fantasy Players impacted: Not that we didn’t know this already, but Evgeni Nabokov is done now. The big hit here is to Anders Nilsson, who was proving to be the most competent of the incompetent Islanders goalies last season. He may get on the team as a backup over Kevin Poulin. (Update: Anders Nilsson reportedly not returning to the Islanders as he was looking for a one-way deal that the Isles would not give. More in the comments below)
Mikko Koskinen, who is having a hell of a career over in the KHL, is still signed there for one more year. The slim chance that the Isles woo him over here just got slimmer – for those who were holding out any hope.
As for Halak – he couldn’t have asked for a better situation. As a Halak owner in one of my three keeper leagues – here’s hoping that he doesn’t blow it by exploring the FA market. A healthy Halak, a more mature roster, and a healthy John Tavares will see to it that the Islanders are back in the postseason. And as injury prone as Halak is, in the last four 82-game seasons he’s played at least 45 games. So that’s probably the downsi