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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 MTL 60 39 16 5 162 133 83
2 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
3 NYR 59 37 16 6 186 145 80
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
6 DET 59 33 15 11 173 154 77
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 60 26 21 13 145 169 65
10 PHI 61 26 24 11 162 178 63
11 OTT 58 25 23 10 166 161 60
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 59 26 29 4 155 184 56
14 TOR 60 24 31 5 167 183 53
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 61 18 38 5 114 204 41

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 62 29 34 4 63
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 62 13 26 21 39
B. Nelson 62 17 19 6 36
F. Nielsen 62 11 25 11 36
A. Lee 56 20 12 12 32
J. Bailey 50 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 52 7 22 15 29
N. Leddy 62 8 17 14 25
T. Hamonic 52 4 19 16 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 32 13 0 .910 2.49
C. Johnson 8 7 1 .890 2.95

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