Friday, February 22, 2013

If It Wasn't For That Contract...

You can call me crazy all you want, but I think Rick DiPietro could still be a serviceable goaltender in the NHL....if it wasn't for that pesky long-term contract. Of course, if this leads to some sort of amnesty buy-out, then it may be worth it to take a flier on him as a free agent. 

The onus of DiPietro is the contract and the history of injuries he has had in the past half-decade. Yet, many forget that after signing that contract he had a career year with a 32-19-9 record. Granted, he's been limited to 50 games (including this season) since 2008, but beforehand, he was a decent goalie-- maybe not for the length of contract, but at $4.5M-- the price was right and would probably be right in this climate. 

Yet, it's hard to separate DiPietro the goalie and DiPietro the contract. With another eight years left on the 15 year deal, many teams aren't going to pick that up, especially since he hasn't been able to be effective in those 50 games (14-27-7)-- which may not make him worth that money, either. That's where the amnesty buy-out could be the only way to get around getting DiPietro off the books, though the Islanders would need that to stay at the salary floor. 

Despite the defense of the Islanders not necessarily being the best, DiPietro didn't do himself any favors when it comes to holding down the Islanders net. His performance may also be tied to the coaching, condition, and handling of DiPietro, as well as the on-going revolving door of goalies-- picked up through waivers and stockpiled in the minors-- that the Isles have had. It can't help an already fragile goalie mentally to know that there's five or six guys gunning for his spot-- thus makes him overwork and over-conditioning and leads to injuries. 

Would he be an asset in a better system and a better way of life?? Only without the contract he currently has. That's the only way that DiPietro will get the fair shake he needs to get his career back on track. However, he's also 31-years-old and that contract will continue to weigh him down if the Islanders cannot deal him and it would be another disappointing footnote on a career of a goalie that had so much promise before his debut. 

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