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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.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

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2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 9 6 5 0 11
K. Okposo 9 1 6 0 7
F. Nielsen 9 3 2 -1 5
B. Nelson 9 1 4 -4 5
T. Hickey 9 1 4 -4 5
A. Quine 9 1 4 0 5
S. Prince 9 3 1 1 4
R. Strome 6 1 3 3 4
N. Leddy 9 1 3 3 4
C. Clutterbuck 9 2 1 -1 3
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Greiss 5 4 1 .930 2.34
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