The Washington Capitals traded the rights to goaltender Jaroslav Halak to the New York Islanders in exchange for a 2014 fourth-round draft pick, the team announced Thursday afternoon.
Halak, a pending unrestricted free agent, started 12 games for Washington after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at the March 5 trade deadline. He finished with a 5-4-3 record, 2.31 goals against average and .930 save percentage.
The 28-year-old was unable to recapture the same magic that spurred the Montreal Canadiens to a 2010 first-round upset of the Capitals. Washington failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2007.
Halak went from playing behind one of the NHL's stingiest defenses with the St. Louis Blues to one of the most porous. He faced roughly six more even-strength shots per appearance with the Capitals than he did with the Blues, who traded him to the Sabres on Feb. 28.
Of course, Halak's defining moment in Washington was the awkward situation created when former coach Adam Oates revealed to reporters that the goaltender "wasn't 100 percent comfortable" starting against the Blues last month.
Halak's departure leaves the Capitals with a decision to make regarding their goaltending tandem for next season. They could elect to go with Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer or seek an experienced, low-cost veteran to back up Holtby while giving Grubauer more time to develop in the American Hockey League.
It was a mutually beneficial trade for both parties. The Capitals acquired a draft pick for a player that was unlikely to re-sign, while the Islanders received a potential starter who can steady their shaky goaltending situation.
The trade was consummated by assistant general manager Brian MacLellan, who is performing those duties for the time being while Washington searches for George McPhee's replacement.
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