Thomas Greiss’ first season with the Islanders was a memorable one. As a career-backup, Greiss came to Brooklyn and stole the show, helping the Islanders to their first playoff series win in 23 years. Despite this, his spot as starter was not guaranteed heading into the 2016-2017 season thanks to an unbelievable effort for Jaroslav Halak at the World Cup of Hockey. Early on in the season, the Islanders struggled and at-the-time head coach Jack Capuano tried to turn the team around with Halak as their starter. This didn’t work which not only reflected in the standings but behind the bench. Doug Weight replaced Capuano as head coach and Thomas Greiss was given a vote of confidence as he led an improbable push for the playoffs. Down the stretch, Halak, who was originally waived down to Bridgeport, would play a string of ‘do or die’ games but there wouldn’t be any ‘do or die’ games in the first place without Greiss. Greiss’ strong play through the first half of this season and all of last led to a three-year contract extension with a considerable pay raise at the end of January. Once again, Greiss’ role as starter will likely be an unknown until the season actually starts but he is certainly capable of that role.
Importance to Team/Consistency: 27/30
Before becoming an Islander, Greiss had never seen more than 20 starts in a season; but he had 49 this year and 38 last year. His 26-18-5 record was pretty good as were his stats (2.69 goals against average, .913 save percentage, and three shutouts). Besides the final handful of games, Greiss played many meaningful games and was almost always the guy in goal. Without him, the Islanders would be much farther back in the standings rather than one point out of the playoffs.
It’s hard to find someone as calm in goal as Thomas Greiss. Greiss can make a highlight-reel stop and you wouldn’t even know it based on how calmly he got across or how he was in perfect position to get there in the first place. Greiss is great at being able to anticipate a play and so when the puck does come across or come towards the net, he is ready for it.
Clutch Factor: 7/10
Since January, almost every game the Islanders played was meaningful and so Thomas Greiss treated it as just that. Towards the end his heavy workload might have taken it’s toll but he carried this team on his back for months. It is unfair to blame his benching towards the end of the year on him; even though he played poorly as the year concluded, much of that was due to the play in front of him.
Goalies are interesting and sometimes crazy. There just isn’t a position in all of sports quite like it. When a goalie gets pulled or the team makes a bad play resulting in goal you can see on plenty of occasions a goaltender smashing his stick or calling out teammates. For Greiss, he never threw anyone under the bus and after letting up a goal would focus on not allowing another one. His dedication and commitment to the community, especially his work with autistic children, has made him a role model in the community as well.
Thomas Greiss 2016-17 Highlights:
Grade: 52/60; B+