Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Give Ian Clark a Raise

Ian Clark coaching up Jeremy Smith.  "this means
get me outta the game!!"
Curtis McElhinney set a career mark in saves last night, and is looking very solid in the absence of the Number 1 goal tender, Bobrovsky.  In last night's win against the Flyers, CMac made an unbelievable cross crease glove save on Jake Voracek to preserve a fragile lead.  Even then, the Flyers pushed back to a tie in that wild second period.

What is clear is that McElhinney is playing at a level that represents some of the best play in his career.  Why then, at this point?  Getting routine work contributes of course (taking notes Richie?).  There is something to be said for not riding the number 1 goal tender like a rented mule.  McElhinney is playing for a contract, and if this team is going to make any noise next year it HAS to have a solid back up.  I think Forsberg is going to be a very good goal tender, but he does not seem ready to be number 2, and contracts don't come much cheaper than McElhinney's.  You could give him a nice raise on a 1 year deal, and be VERY cap friendly.

To me, a prime reason why McElhinney is playing so well is Ian Clark.  Once he came in as a full time goal tender coach, the position has steadily become of  position of strength.  Getting Bobrovsky of course was a key, but someone needs to keep Bob at the top of his game,   But is that Clark?  Well McElhinney has definitely come around.  Mike McKenna did well in relief of both Bob and McElhinney, and realistically, Forsberg hasn't played that poorly, but he definitely has drawn some games where we ran into a buzz saw (Lightening, Islanders).

In my opinion, Clark is slowly but surely turning the goal tending position into a position of strength for the organization.  If we ever want to make some real noise in the playoffs, real depth at the position will be necessary.  We seem to be on the right path, so let's make sure we keep this guy!


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