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Montoya Makes Most Of Opportunity

Goaltender Inks Extension Through 2011-12

Tuesday, 03.29.2011 / 6:06 PM / 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 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 48 23 25 -1 48
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 48 9 25 16 34
B. Nelson 48 15 15 5 30
F. Nielsen 48 9 17 4 26
J. Boychuk 38 4 21 16 25
J. Bailey 36 8 14 7 22
N. Leddy 48 7 14 14 21
N. Kulemin 48 11 9 0 20
A. Lee 42 13 5 6 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 26 10 0 .912 2.42
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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