Here's a quick expectation post for today: Yann Danis. Danis signed for a minimum salary contract for one year last month, as confirmed by Gulitti. (My post had him making $550k, apologies for that). and will likely serve as Martin Brodeur's back up next season while Jeff Frazee gets more playing time in Lowell.
Danis was the third string goaltender on the Islanders, but got bumped up to be Joey MacDonald's backup goaltender as Rick DiPietro suffered significant injury nearly all last season. While injuries wrecked the Islanders' roster and opposing teams often steamrolled them from game to game, Danis at least got a ton of experience facing shots on net. Something he needed as Danis only had played in 6 NHL games before ending up on Long Island. Even so, he remains fairly inexperienced with a total of 37 career NHL games.
But at least he got the experience of being a backup goaltender and understands what is expected in that role. Moreover, it's not as if Danis was devoid of talent. As I noted when Danis' signing was official, Dominik at Lighthouse Hockey did think Danis was the team's best goaltender last season and praised him, despite his performances fading towards the end of last season. Something to keep in mind when you consider his ugly statline. Even so, most of you who voted in the poll initially liked the signing, so perhaps this won't faze you:
|2008 - Yann Danis||31||1760||10||17||3||1||84||2.86||933||849||.910||2|
Now, with a schedule that features 19 back-to-back games, one may think that Danis should get about 15 starts based on that alone. However, as we have seen in past seasons, I don't think that will happen. Danis will be backing up the legendary Martin Brodeur. Now, I expect Brodeur to continue being a dominant force next season. Unless injury gets in the way next season, it's quite likely that Brodeur will play both games in some of these back-to-backs either because he wants to, or because he needs to as he gives the Devils the best chance to win. In both cases, it doesn't make sense to tell one of the greatest goaltenders in history, "No, we are going to play the backup instead." In other words, I can see Brodeur play upwards of 70 games next season; thus, Danis may not even get 10 starts all season.
So it'll be up to Danis to work real hard in practice and stay sharp. Like Kevin Weekes in 2007-08, when he actually gets to start will be so sporadic, that it will be nigh impossible to get in a groove. He'll have to perform well on the odd ocassion he gets the chance, knowing full well that a great performance isn't necessarily going to earn him more games. Let's be honest, he wasn't signed to do that or push Brodeur to the brink or anything like that. The Devils aren't going to sit Brodeur unless it is necessary or beneficial to the team.
Given he could see very little ice time next season, it's almost pointless to come up with any statistical expectations outside of general ones like staying below a 3.00 GAA and above 90% for save percentage (and Danis hit those marks with the Islanders last season). Danis just has to stay prepared throughout the season, don't get discouraged when he realizes it's been a month or two since starts, and perform competantly when he does see ice time in a game. And I think that's all we can really expect from him.
Now it's time to have your say. Do you have more specific expectations for Danis? Let me know what you think we should expect out of Yann Danis next season. Tomorrow: David Clarkson.