30-Year-Old Goalie – Florida Panthers
Al Montoya Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $2.1 million deal with the Panthers in July of 2014.
The Panthers indicated Wednesday that Montoya is okay after leaving Monday's game against the Kings with an undisclosed injury, Craig Davis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.
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Al Montoya: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Montoya signed a two-year deal with the Panthers to serve as the backup to Roberto Luongo. He had a solid season in that role with Winnipeg in 2013-14, posting a 2.30 goals against and .920 save percentage. He will get some competition from veteran Dan Ellis in camp, but it is Montoya's job to lose. He would see 20 starts or so if he wins the job.
Montoya started five games for the Jets last season, finishing with a 3-1-0 record and posting the team's only shutout of the season early in the year with a 1-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators. It's clear that Ondrej Pavelec will get the lion's share of the starts going into the upcoming season, but Montaya is a solid spot starter fantasy-wise when Pavelec gets a day off.
Montoya rotated in as part of a tripartite goaltending committee with the Islanders last season, posting a 9-11-5 record and .893 save percentage in 31 appearances. Though he is most likely to back up Ondrej Pavelec in 2012-2013, which could prove to be a position rich in ice-time should Pavelec's legal troubles take a turn for the worse in the coming months, the 27 year-old American is still a less than desirable fantasy option given Pavelec's presence on the squad.
Montoya was nothing short of a godsend for the Islanders last season, when the team acquired him from Phoenix. Originally thought of as a stopgap option until the Isles got healthier in goal, Montoya grabbed the starting job by the throat and played exceptionally well. In 20 games, he compiled a 9-5-5 record, 2.39 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. One would think with numbers that are much better than those belonging to Rick DiPietro, Montoya would be guaranteed the starting job entering camp, but if DiPietro proves himself to be healthy, he will see his share of starts as the Isles are still unwilling to give up on him, thus lessening Montoya's value.
Phoenix may want to consider naming their minor league affiliate the Wolverines, as Montoya is yet another University of Michigan product in the organization. Montoya may battle for the job against Josh Tordjman in AHL Las Vegas. Montoya looked good in the short glimpse he got with the Coyotes last season, winning three of the five games he appeared in, with a save percentage of .925.
It's getting very close to the point where Montoya needs to be in the NHL and unless something drastic happens, he is going to have to make his mark with a different team. The Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist, who figures to be their starting goalie for the next decade, and Montoya is too good a prospect to be a backup. With so many teams looking for good, young goaltending that the Rangers should get a very nice return once they decide to deal Montoya.
Montoya (23-9-1, 2.61 GAA, .907 save percentage in AHL Hartford), is coming off left shoulder surgery, but depending on how he progresses in rehabilitation; Montoya may be ready to displace Kevin Weekes for the backup goalie job. If Montoya is not on the roster the start of the season, expect the former first round pick to be with the club sometime during the regular season and make some sort of impact.
Selected sixth overall in the 2004 NHL entry draft, it's no secret that the Rangers are grooming the former Michigan goalie as a piece of their future. There was some talk prior to training camp that Montoya had a realistic shot at claiming the backup goaltending job to Weekes in 2005-06, however after playing himself out of contention, Montoya will instead start the season off at Hartford of the AHL. Expect his stay to be short however; the Rangers are looking to him to be their long term answer between the pipes.