Jaroslav Halak deserves to be named the NHL’s top player in the month of November. If you haven’t noticed, Halak is quietly putting on a show for the New York Islanders and has assisted in pushing the Isles up near the top of the Metropolitan Division.
Before we dive into the actual numbers, let’s talk some broad facts. Halak has stood on his head for the Isles in the month of November and has stolen several games and points for the team. Games the Isles probably should have lost – and definitely would have lost in the past – have gone in the team’s favor. The Isles finally have a goalie who can steal a result.
#Isles win 3-1. Feel safe saying this was the most "no shot they win this last year" game of the season to date.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) November 30, 2014
Here’s Halak’s line from November:
.950 save percentage
Stopped 267 of 281 shots
Not bad, right? Halak has been dominant in November and has easily been one of the most reliable and consistent goaltenders in 2014-15. Thanks to his play of late, he has pushed into the NHL’s top-10 in both GAA and save percentage.
Halak’s play shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, but it’s safe to say it has to some due to the narrative put in place when the St. Louis Blues traded him away in order to bring in Ryan Miller. The Miller experiment didn’t pan out for the Blues and it cast an ugly light on Halak as a goaltender incapable of making the big save when a team needs him most.
Though there are instances with the Blues which could support that argument, Halak’s career statistics consistently hover around the low 2.00s and save percentages around .920. He’s not a perfect goaltender and he certainly has his hot and cold streaks, but he is a huge upgrade for the Islanders.
After a couple teams passed on Halak, the Islanders are now benefiting. Will his steady play continue?