Friday, October 20, 2006

Just A Few Games Into The Longest Contract Ever

This summer Charles Wang and the New York Islanders hit the news when they signed Rick DiPietro to a 15 year $87.5 million contract. This ill-advised move came after they hired then fired GM Neil Smith after a tenure of 40 days and zero games (and replaced him with a backup goalie). Wang is determined to run the Islanders his way, regardless of how crazy his way might be and regardless of how many people tell him its not a good idea.

So how is it working? Its only a few games into Rick DiPietro's record length contract, but it doesn't look good in the shortterm. So far this year, DiPietro has a lacklustre 0-3 record with a poor 4.53 GAA and a .879 saves percentage. These aren't numbers worthy of a high profile contract like the one he signed.

Mike Dunham was brought in at far less cost ($500,000 over one year) and so far this year has been the better of the two goalies. Dunham has appeared in five games. He has 2 wins, 2 overtime losses and one no decision. He has a very good .939 saves percentage and a 2.21 GAA. Arguably, Dunham has been the best Islander player so far this season.

If I was coaching on Long Island, I would make Dunham my number one goalie as long as he can play this well. I wonder is Charles Wang would allow this or would the owner interfere with day-to-day operations of the franchise by forcing them to play his chosen goalie even if he isn't playing particularly well.

Dunham was the best Atlanta goalie last year, too. Until he got hurt. But there's no doubting his talent.
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