Montoya Makes Most Of Opportunity

Goaltender Inks Extension Through 2011-12

Tuesday, 03.29.2011 / 6:06 PM ET / News
By Jesse D. Eisenberg
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Montoya Makes Most Of Opportunity
Since joining the Islanders in early February by way of a trade with Phoenix, goaltender Al Montoya has very openly acknowledged the gravity of his opportunity on Long Island.

Prior to the transaction, Montoya had only played in five NHL games during his six-year professional career, and the former US development team member was eager to show why he’d been taken sixth overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Montoya needed just 45 days and 17 appearances in Blue and Orange to prove to Islanders management that he belonged, inking a one-year contract extension on March 29.

Al Montoya #35 of the New York Islanders celebrates after winning against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum on March 22, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
“It was definitely my main goal when I got this opportunity with the Islanders to prove myself,” Montoya said, hours after inking his first ever one-way NHL deal. “You can kick around in the minors for years and all the sudden you get an opportunity, and you have to put it on yourself to go out there and show why they brought you in. This is a step in the right direction for me and I’m very grateful to the New York Islanders for giving me this chance.”

To say he took the opportunity and “ran with it” is an understatement. With just 15 starts under his belt, the Chicago native is already tied for the team lead with eight wins. Montoya’s 2.35 goals against average also leads the Islanders, while his .923 save percentage ranks 10th in the NHL among goalies who have played in at least 15 games.

“For me, this was an easy decision,” Montoya continued. “It was the team that gave me a chance, which wanted me to come back. That said a lot to me. This is where I want to be.”

Montoya has seen the Islanders go 10-6-5 since joining the squad, giving him good reason to be optimistic about his future on Long Island.

“The team is going in the right direction and I just want to be a part of it and continue to take advantage of the opportunity I’m getting,” Montoya said. Our expectations with the way we’re finishing the season are to keep this going for next year.

While “The Big Cubano” is flattered at the thought of being listed in the same vein as the Islanders’ other recent AHL finds, such as Michael Grabner, PA Parenteau and Matt Moulson, he knows that his sample size is limited, leaving him still with a lot to prove.

“I’m going to just keep playing, keep giving the team a chance to win and keep contributing,” said Montoya. “I’m a guy that works hard, wants to win and wants to add to the tradition here as a good player and teammate for the New York Islanders.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 6 2 4 3 6
J. Bailey 6 2 3 2 5
N. Leddy 6 0 5 1 5
R. Strome 6 2 1 1 3
K. Okposo 6 2 1 1 3
C. Clutterbuck 6 2 1 2 3
B. Nelson 5 2 0 1 2
N. Kulemin 6 1 1 0 2
L. Visnovsky 4 0 2 5 2
J. Boychuk 6 0 2 1 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 3 3 1 .926 2.34
M. Neuvirth 0 0 0 1.000 0.00

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