10 February 2011
The Islanders found their answer to the goaltender situation in former New York Ranger Al Montoya. Many Islanders fans may recognize Montoya not from his play on the ice, but from his preseason fight with Rick Dipietro several years ago.
After beginning his career with the New York Rangers organization, Montoya has spent the past three years in the Phoenix Coyotes system, mostly in the AHL with their farm team the San Antonio Rampage. With the Rampage this season Montoya has been 11-8 with a goals against average of 3.19 and a saver percentage of .891. He has seen NHL action as well, although it was only a mere five games in the 2008-2009 season with the Coyotes, during which he went 3-1 with a save percentage of .925.
The acquisition of the now 25 year old fits the Islanders “M.O.” of signing/trading for inexpensive players to fill a whole left by injury. Montoya is a similar case to Nathan Lawson in that they both have spent a majority of their careers bouncing around the minors. However unlike Lawson, Montoya was drafted high (sixth overall by the Rangers in 2004) and had high expectations put on him.
It’s safe to say that with the status of Nathan Lawson still uncertain Al Montoya is looking at the prospect of getting his fair chance at major playing time with the Islanders. Also with the addition of Montoya the chances that fans will see Joel Martin get a start, unless he gets one in Montreal, is very unlikely and could spell the end to Martin’s very short stint on Long Island. It would not surprise me to see Montoya get the start against the Crosby and Malkin-less Penguins Friday night.
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