Neuvirth, 26, is 6-17-3 this season with a 2.99 GAA and .918 save percentage.
Johnson, 28, went 8-8-1 this season with a 3.08 GAA and .889 save percentage for the Isles while backing up Jaroslav Halak.
I said back in February that Garth needed to address the back up goaltender situation if they weren't confident enough in Johnson, and apparently that was the case. While Johnson strung together four straight solid games, he was very disappointing in New York's loss to Carolina on Saturday. The third round pick may have been steep, but let's face it: the Islanders needed someone a bit more reliable to spell Halak and provide insurance for their first stringer. This accomplished both.
In Neuvirth, the Islanders get a goalie that has been very good since taking over as the Sabres’ number one, posting a .938 save percentage in February. He should be a bit more capable of stealing a game on the nights Jaro needs rest, which should be abundant down the stretch. So all in all, I like the move.
There is no doubt that Neuvirth is an upgrade from Chad Johnson. The Islanders backup goaltending situation has been an up and down drama through most of the season. I will admit I gave Johnson the benefit of the doubt and thought he was coming around recently with the way he was playing. Saturday's game was rough for everyone and Snow made a decision that in the end Johnson just wasn't going to cut it the rest of the way.
Neuvirth has played well for a bad Buffalo Sabres team, so have a much better defensive core in front of him should only make him better. Confidence wise, the Islanders now have two goaltenders that should be able to keep them in games when they have to and make the timely saves. The Islanders can also find comfort, more so than before, in allowing Halak to rest up for a push in the playoffs.