Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Trading Halak...

It's no secret that Gainey has been looking for a move to get Halak a new jersey. Halak is a very capable goalie, and there are teams who need competent goaltending. The problem for Gainey is moving a goalie who hasn't played much, and even when he does, his style looks a little wild and out of control.

Halak's loss to Buffalo on Monday certainly didn't help things. Halak looked rusty, a bit shaky, and a bit slower than his usual self. GMs are going to be looking at Halak as starter: is Halak a starting goaltender? Is he gonna win playoff games? Is he going to make that 1 or 2 'big save' to let the team prevail? That's a really tough call.

Halak loves to rebound the puck. He has a lot of trouble corralling any rebounds, and he knows his game is to make the stops until the defence can clear it. He can make 3 saves in a row no problem - on a good day - because he knows where the puck is going. It gives him a great save percentage, but it can be very tough on a team to live with. Night after night the defence has to be on the ball to help out their goalie, and opposing coaches are gonna send out the command: crash the net!!

Championship goalies need to be able to help control the pace of a game. In a 'Big Game' situation, momentum can be everything - so when the opposition is pressing for the tying goal, top goalies like Miller, Ward, Luongo and Brodeur help control the play, and the puck.

So Halak is not currently a no. 1 goalie - so any smart GM is looking at him as a tandem starter. That hurts his trade value - GMs won't see a Stanley Cup in Halak's glove hand. But that's not to say Halak can't become an awesome goalie - I think he's really good. He certainly is entertaining. And maybe with a full work load he can develop into a top tier goalie, a surprise winner. Varlamov? Steve Mason last year? There are always goalies popping out of the woodwork. And Halak can certainly become "that guy".

I hope Halak gets some more play time in December to boost his trade value, and I hope he goes to a team that really needs a goalie: Tampa Bay, Columbus, not so much Philly, maybe LA... And I will miss his antics and Halak Attacks! But the fair thing to do with him is to send him to a team that will play him, because he certainly is good enough to warrant a shot.

The Canadiens will be lucky as long as they can keep him. Excellent team player and fun to watch.

There is some great Halak discussion going on here: check it out and add your thoughts

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