After another shaky performance from backup goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, the Pittsburgh Penguins are realizing Tomas Vokoun’s absence is really starting to show.
With only two starts under his belt, Zatkoff has been anything but impressive.
Allowing ten goals and owning a horrific 5.04 goals-against-average, Zatkoff hasn’t panned out the way Pittsburgh had hoped, and they might want to consider looking elsewhere for somebody to backstop Marc-Andre Fleury.
To cut Zatkoff some slack, the two games he’s played in were his first two NHL starts ever; however, being that as it may, Pittsburgh only has three losses on the year, with two of them belonging to him.
Surrendering six goals to the lowly Florida Panthers earlier this month and four to the New York Islanders last night, Zatkoff hasn’t really given the Pens’ a shot at winning.
It’s not like the team hasn’t supported him offensively, because they scored four in the Florida game and three in last night’s seesaw battle — which should be enough to come out with a win.
Most of the goals he’s let in have looked terrible too. They’ve squeaked, crept, and wiggled their way by — nearly identical to the forgettable ones Fleury conceded this past postseason.
With Vokoun’s availability this season being cloudy, is it time for the Penguins to start searching for an alternative option?
You also have to put the teams’ salary cap into perspective.
Already pushing the boundaries of the payroll limit, you have to think that Pittsburgh can’t afford to sign anybody else. Or at least if they did, the potential signee would have to ink to the bare minimum, and even that might be tough to fit into the budget.
Goaltenders’ Ilya Bryzgalov, Mathieu Garon, and Johan Hedberg are probably their best options — but are they really worth putting on the roster?
Garon and Hedberg could be good nominees considering they’ve each played in Pittsburgh’s organization. Only thing is, they haven’t performed in a single game this year, and they also haven’t had a training camp or a preseason.
Whichever way you look at it, Zatkoff will most likely continue to fill-in for Vokoun, and it scares me. The team could look within the organization, however, they probably won’t find anyone that’s ready or will be any more effective than Zatkoff.
The only benefit that’s coming out of this is the fact that Fleury is playing extremely well out the gate. Recognizing the team has an inexperienced backup, Fleury’s psyche is thriving because he knows the team needs him now more than ever.
We’ll have to see how this situation plays out, but the team has got to find a way to either get Zatkoff rolling or Fleury a better counterpart.
Pittsburgh plays tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7 p.m.
Topics: Pittsburgh Penguins