Hockey Twitter was buzzing Saturday night after agent Allan Walsh once again publicly criticized a team for its usage of a client. Or, in this case, clients.
Outspoken NHL player agent Allan Walsh called out the New York Islanders Saturday night for their use of a three-goalie system, two of which are Walsh’s clients.
Islanders netminders Jaroslav Halak and Jean-Francois Berube are clients of Octagon Hockey and are represented by Walsh. Presumably with the players’ blessings, on Twitter Walsh criticized how the club shares practice time among its three goalies.
“Hard to figure out NY Islanders using 3 goalie system for 2nd year. Biggest issue is goalies don't get enough practice time to stay sharp,” Walsh said in his first tweet, followed by, “Starting goalie for NY Islanders last game had only 1 quality practice in last 5 days before Penguins game. Going on 2 years of this now.”
Starting goalie for NY Islanders last game had only 1 quality practice in last 5 days before Penguins game. Going on 2 years of this now.— Allan Walsh (@walsha) October 29, 2016
Shortly after Walsh’s comments sent hockey Twitter into a frenzy, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman provided an explanation for New York’s goalie usage, indicating the team won’t provide an official response, but essentially they’re concerned about injuries and don’t want to lose the 25-year-old Berube on waivers. Berube, in his sixth year pro, has played in 12 regular season games in a year and has seven NHL appearances to his credit.
On @walsha NYI tweets, team says no official response, but it's known they don't want to lose Berube on waivers -- have had injuries in goal— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 29, 2016
Two-and-a-half hours later, Friedman additionally reported that Islanders GM Garth Snow was quick to react to Walsh’s comments behind the scenes, suggesting Snow had let other GMs around the league know his No. 1 goaltender, Halak, is available for trade.
Word tonight is that after @walsha Twitter blast of NYI carrying three goalies, NYI GM has let league know Jaroslav Halak is available.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 30, 2016
I think NYI see it as Halak wanting this to happen, so he's the guy they want out. https://t.co/4xT2OErFkD— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 30, 2016
Walsh has a history of public defenses of his clients. Most notably, last season Walsh's client Jonathan Drouin went public with a trade request and temporarily left the Tampa Bay organization after the Lightning kept Drouin in the AHL for an extended period. Drouin eventually rescinded his trade request, returned to Tampa, had a productive playoff run and is still with the club today.
In five games this season, Halak has a 2-3-0 record with a 3.04 goals-against average and .901 save percentage. The 31-year-old has a career record of 202-118-37 along with a 2.39 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and 39 shutouts.