30-Year-Old Goalie – New York Islanders
Thomas Greiss Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $3 million contract with the Islanders in July 2015.
Greiss stopped 24 of 26 shots in Thursday's 3-2 victory over visiting St. Louis.
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Thomas Greiss: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Greiss fits the definition of a career backup, having never played more than 25 games in a season. However, as far as backup goaltenders go, Greiss has typically provided solid work for every team he’s been on when he receives the chance to start. In 20 games with the Penguins last season, Greiss went 9-6-3 with a 2.59 GAA and a .908 save percentage, numbers that weren't remarkable, but enough to keep his squad competitive on a nightly basis. While both of those figures were actually off Greiss' career averages, they're still a significant upgrade what the Islanders received from Chad Johnson and Michal Neuvirth, Jaroslav Halak’s backups last season. With Halak entrenched as the clear-cut starter, Greiss should be viewed as a strong No. 2 and nothing else. His fantasy value ticks up if Halak goes down due to an injury, as the Islanders' strong goal-scoring efforts would put Greiss in strong position to win most of the time he takes the net.
In a somewhat surprising move, Pens GM Jim Rutherford signed Greiss to a one-year, $1 million deal over the summer. Pittsburgh's goalie situation was thought to be fairly stable with starter Marc-Andre Fleury and backup Jeff Zatkoff, but Rutherford apparently brought Greiss in to battle for at least the backup job. Playing time has always been an issue for the German-trained goalie, as he's started just 52 games in parts of five NHL seasons. Last year, Greiss played for the Coyotes, going 10-8-5 with 2.29 GAA and .920 save percentage. Training camp performance will likely dictate where the goalie begins 2014-15. Rutherford has already changed the status quo in Pittsburgh and it would not be surprising to see Greiss start 30-plus games or get sent down to AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre.
Greiss will immediately step in as the number two netminder in Phoenix as he replaces the departed Jason LaBarbera. The former Shark, who posted a 2.15 GAA and .915 save percentage in six games with San Jose last season, is an upgrade from LaBarbera and it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect 25 starts for him.
Grumbles about Antti Niemi's 68-game workload last season mean Greiss should get 20-25 starts this year. Can he handle that? Yes ... and then some. Last season, he was 9-7 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage in very limited action. Has Greiss shown us enough to prove he can be a starter? Not even close. But the talent is there and now the opportunity will increase; he'll be looking to earn a raise on his current contract. There's a lot of motivation in that. Be sure to handcuff him to Niemi, particularly in daily formats.
Greiss is a talented goalie prospect trying to make a name for himself in the Bay Area. Early in the 2010 offseason, he had been the supposed backup to Antero Niittymaki, but the Sharks ended up signing Antti Niemi, consequently leaving Greiss without an NHL job. Greiss then headed to the Swedish Elite League, where he posted a 2.92 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in 32 games with Brynas IF. The Sharks re-signed the German backstop to a two-year contract, but with the aforementioned goalies still in San Jose, Greiss will remain little more than a depth option between the pipes for Team Teal.
Greiss served as the backup to Evgeni Nabokov in the 2009-10 regular season. In doing so, the German puck-stopper was between the pipes for 16 games, posting a 2.68 goals-against average and a 7-4-1 record. But Nabokov is no longer in the NHL, opening the door for Greiss to step into a larger role. Yes, the Sharks did pick up netminder Antero Niittymaki in the offseason to add stability in goal, but he's not likely to hog as many starts from Greiss as Nabokov did. Greiss would become worthy of starts in most fantasy leagues in the event that Niitymaki struggles, or gets injured.
Greiss was drafted by San Jose in the third round (94th overall) of the 2004 entry draft. The German has ideal size and strength, and has been polishing his game with Worcester of the AHL since the 2006-07 season. Now that Brian Boucher is no longer in town to back up Evgeni Nabokov, Greiss will be begin the 2009-10 season second in the pecking order among Sharks goalies.
Depth at goaltender is a luxury the Sharks should enjoy for years to come. Nested in their minor league system is Greiss, a young goalie who demonstrates outstanding positioning in order to predict an offense before ultimately stopping the puck. In 2007-08, Greiss won 18 games and lost 21 for the Worcester Sharks with a 3.09 goal against average. Evgeni Nabokov is arguably the best goalie in hockey, so Greiss has ample time to grow with a great mentor to learn from. He’s knocking on the NHL door as the Sharks' "goalie of the future," but won’t log much time this season barring injury to Nabokov or Brian Boucher.
The one consistency for the San Jose Sharks has been being able to develop NHL goaltenders. Out of the four goaltenders that are currently in the NHL, two of them have starting jobs: Mikka Kiprusoff and Evgeni Nabokov. And the other two are competing for a starting spot: Vesa Toskala and Johan Hedberg. Greiss enters training camp as the number two option for the Sharks. His playing time will be limited.