The Islanders placed Jaroslav Halak on waivers on Friday afternoon, temporarily ending the three goaltender drama that Isles fans have grown so accustomed to in the past year. But in addition to possibility that Halak is claimed, there is still a chance lands in the Islanders organization.
So where will Jaro start the new calendar year?
Bridgeport Sound Tigers: This is probably the most likely scenario. Halak is due roughly $8 million between the remainder of this season and next, and there are only a handful of teams that can afford to take on that kind of money. Garth Snow had trouble finding a trade partner, so who knows if there is anyone who will take the struggling Halak right now even if the cost is just money. If he clears waivers, he'll either have to report to the AHL or surrender the money on his current deal, as Art Staple reminded fans on Twitter. That doesn't sound like something Jaro would do (nor would I), so I could certainly envision him tightening up his game in the AHL, and maybe even acting as a mentor to Chris Gibson and Stephon Williams..if Jaro he has the right attitude about it.
Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers have been searching for a goaltender for a while. They overpaid for Cam Talbot two summers ago, coming off Talbot's incredible run filling in for an injured Henrique Lundqvist. And of the eight teams that have the estimated $2.5 million in cap room needed to fit Jaro in for the remainder of the year, Edmonton makes the most sense. Jonas Gustavsson, Talbot's back up, is a UFA next summer, and it would create a nice one-two punch for the Oilers that would be guaranteed to be in place next season.
Winnipeg Jets: The Jets could certainly use to sure up their goaltending situation. Michael Hutchinson has struggled to the tune of a sub-.900 save percentage (.896 to be exact), and Connor Hellebuyck is an RFA this summer and needs a new deal. With the Isles' Saturday opponent just two points out of a Wild Card spot, Halak's experience could be perfect to help this team down the stretch and next season as well.
Remember that, while Halak is an upgrade for many teams over their current back up, Jaro has struggled this year, but he believes he's a starter and wants that role. Teams will undoubtedly be weighing that element of this as well, though it's amazing how fast a player's tune can change if they see the playoffs in sight. One thing is for sure: There's still more to come on this saga, so stay tuned.