Both Chere and Gulitti have the news from earlier this afternoon, the Devils signed 28 year old goaltender Yann Danis. Here is the link to the Devils' press release on their site announcing the signing. Danis is the first unrestricted free agent signing from outside of the Devils organization this summer. Contract information will be included once that is known.
Danis played for the Islanders last season (as seen in the photo, of course) as back up to Joey MacDonald, who became the de facto starter when Rick DiPietro was injured. In grading the Islanders, Dom at Lighthouse Hockey praised Danis though he kept noting he ended the season a poor note. Well, both Danis and Joey MacDonald did, actually. Danis did very well when he came up with the Islanders in January and February; yet he faded drastically down the stretch. However, he was originally thought to be a #3 on the depth chart and stay on the Islanders' farm team, so it wasn't as if the expectations were high to begin with. In the poll, the fans felt he played above expectations; and it's not as if Dom has a problem with Danis. Just pointing out a misgiving from the season - he still named him the best goaltender from the Islanders from this past season. Here are Danis' numbers with the Islanders from last season.
|2008 - Yann Danis||31||1760||10||17||3||1||84||2.86||933||849||.910||2|
Not awful considering he faced 30.1 shots per game on average. One interesting fact is that the Devils have seen and seriously tested Danis recently. Twice last season, to be precise. The first time was in a 3-1 win against the Islanders where Danis faced 36 shots on net. The second time was in one of the worst Devils' losses in the regular season in 08-09: a 4-0 loss. Danis faced 40 shots and stopped them all for his first shutout of the season. He clearly did well in the second game (and helped by a terribly ineffective offensive performance that night), but he wasn't bad in the first one either from what I saw. So my personal impressions of the goalie are good.
In my opinion, just that he's continued to work on his game despite spending so much time in the AHL and has proven himself to a degree last season makes me feel good about this signing. That Islanders fans were pleased (to a point) with how he played makes me feel even better about the signing. From my point of view, I think that Danis can be the #2 goaltender without people hoping, pleading, and praying that he does well every time he does step on the ice. I can be confident in Danis getting a few starts here and there as the season begins. And that's what you're looking for in a back-up keeper - the confidence that he can do a good enough job from time to time.
It's also beneficial that he's 28 and with no history of injury, those are assets as well. If he does well, then a long term deal wouldn't be such a bad idea. As for now, this signing fills a positional need and while the contract isn't known yet, I can't imagine it being a very significant amount of money. Therefore, I like the signing. It can even turn out to be a, dare I say it, a shrewd deal.
But let me know what you think with this poll. How I think it will play out for the Devils will be after the jump.
The Devils now have two goalies with NHL experience and I would think that Jeff Frazee will be in Lowell. However, not everyone will agree with that. For starters, Lou doesn't. Lou's had quotes both reported by Chere and Gulitti about multiple options and how "this hasn't closed the door" on bringing back Kevin Weekes. Chere has the best summary of the angle Lou is taking:
"Right now the thought process is we're still not sure what decision we're going to make with Jeff Frazee and where he's at," GM Lou Lamoriello said. "Possibly we could use Jeff and Yann that way because Jeff can go up and down. There is also still the chance of getting another goaltender."
That goalie would be Kevin Weekes, who is still an unsigned unrestricted free agent.
"Kevin Weekes is not out of the picture yet ," Lamoriello revealed. "Right now these are the two goaltenders who will be the backup to Marty. But it's not set. We have to see where we're going with other situations and, quite frankly, it comes down to money and economics."
Personally, I think Lou is trying to keep the position up for grabs. It's clear that he's high on Frazee and would like to give him a shot if only to see how hard he'll reach for a spot. However, in my opinion, I would have to think the depth chart is now Brodeur, Danis, and Frazee. Brodeur is clearly the starter; Danis was a back up on Long Island and did quite well all things considered; and so Frazee would be allowed to develop further in the AHL.
As much as I like Weekes, I'm skeptical of him being in the New Jersey Devils' picture. It doesn't make sense to add Weekes unless Weekes or Danis are willing to play in Lowell along with Frazee, and that could even cut into how much experience Frazee would get. Should the Devils need a fourth goalie as extra insurance, I don't think they need to get some one as experienced as Weekes unless he (Weekes or whoever) is willing to go down to the farm team. Or if the Devils aren't that confident in Danis. But I'm doubtful given how he did on an awful Islanders squad last season. Again, I really think Danis has to be the #2 goalie right now.