Last Year's Ranking: N/A
This Year's Ranking: 14
A former first round pick, Al Montoya has never really blossomed into the goalie the New York Rangers thought he might be when they picked him sixth overall in 2004.
Now with his third NHL team, Montoya is a lock as the main backup to starter Ondrej Pavelec.
His 57 games of NHL experience in net for the Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders puts him in the minority when it comes to backup goalies with bountiful experience to help a young goalie.
But for Winnipeg Jets management, it was not a concern as they signed the young goalie to
In 52 games the past two seasons on Long Island, Montoya went 18-26-10 with a 2.75 goals against average and a .907 save percentage.
He looked poised to become the Islanders starter after a decent 9-5-5 record in 2010-11 with a 2.39 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. But the arrival of Evgeni Nabokov in an Islanders jersey spelt a little trouble for the Chicago, Illinois product and he struggled in 2011-12 going 9-11-5 with a 3.11 goals against average and a .893 save percentage.
All in all, Montoya has shown good qualities as both a backup and a starter – but has shown that he can be effective with limited time – not when relied on to play night in and night out for 50+ games.
With Pavelec cemented into the number one slot in the Jets crease, Montoya would not have to see much more than 20-30 games in the season – depending on if the Jets limit Pavelec to less than 68 games as he played in 2011-12.
Jets management should be commended for this signing after losing Chris Mason to Nashville (despite other rumours he wanted to stay Winnipeg).
Montoya is a young (25) backup for a team that breeds young players and should be a good teammate for Pavelec to develop with.
All in all, Jets fans should be more comfortable when Pavelec gets the night off this season with Montoya in net.