Will Jaroslav Halak be long for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers??
That’s a question that should be the main focal point for the Islanders goalie after being demoted to the AHL following a 6-8-5 start which saw him get pulled in three of his last 11 starts. With a GAA over three and a .904 save percentage, it’s definitely a time for Halak to get some retooling. However, it seems that the Islanders went for a different approach other than putting him on IR and then getting him some “rehab” starts in Bridgeport– they went full waiver wire-to-AHL with him.
While it was something that was needed, the question is how professional will Halak be about the demotion and furthermore, how will his agent Allan Walsh advise Halak for the future of his client.
Walsh, who is no stranger to rattling the cages of management, has been very outspoken about how Halak has been treated in the three-goalie system the Islanders have had with Halak, Thomas Greiss, and J-F Berube. You would think that it would challenge Halak more and make him better…but apparently, it’s not the case. Walsh wanted a trade for Halak, which he hasn’t gotten, and now we’re at this point.
You may remember what happened last time a client of Walsh was demoted to the AHL when the agent clearly didn’t think he needed to be demoted– that’s right, Jonathan Drouin left his AHL team and then was suspended by the Tampa Bay Lightning for a time while they figured things out. In Drouin’s case– he’s a young talent who the Bolts wanted to keep around, but felt he needed to work on the finer things of his game in the AHL. Walsh wanted a trade. The Bolts won out because Drouin is still with the team and being an impact player.
Right now, the question is whether Halak will report to Bridgeport and whether or not the Sound Tigers want any kind of bad attitude in their locker room when this is a team who has lost eight of their last ten games and need to find some kind of spark to stay within striking distance of the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
Another factor is how long is it before Walsh goes and pulls something like he did with Drouin and have Halak play a little bit and then leave the team in order to not risk having his client hurt, thus hurting any trade value. That, or how long will it be before the Halak camp suggests a loan to Europe for the rest of the season. With Walsh at the helm, it’s anyone’s guess what could come next in this situation.
If Halak wants to get back to the NHL this year and is willing to work with the demotion, it could give the Sound Tigers a nice little boost and allow them to steal some games. It also works two-fold, as it will show other teams that Halak is going in with a good attitude and is willing to be a team-player when times get tough. That said, with one more year remaining on his contract, I’m sure that Halak will be tough to move via trade and make the Islanders hope he’s picked up in the Expansion Draft.