The Morning After: Moving on from Alex Stalock
It's time to go a different direction.
In the big picture, losing the second of a back-to-back on the road by a couple of goals isn't a back-breaker, but it's become clear the Sharks can't rely on their backup goalie for much of anything anymore. That has to change.
Alex Stalock's story is a damn good one, and honestly, it deserves a better ending than the one that's likely to come in San Jose. After suffering a brutal injury in the AHL, the American netminder worked unbelievably hard to get back to the NHL, even competing for a starting spot last season.
It's just not happening anymore. You can make arguments for Stalock's performance in last night's 4-2 loss, but not for his performance over the past season and change.
That's Stalock's Adjusted Save Percentage over time, starting with his first game in the NHL back in the 2012-13 season. His burst on to the scene in 2013-14 put a bit of heat on Antti Niemi, but Stalock was unable to follow up his strong campaign with anything resembling success a season ago. That trend has continued this year, where he's sitting pretty with a .882 even strength save percentage after nine games.
He has a .915 even strength save percentage over his career, which isn't too shabby, but it appears the version of Stalock that posted a .932 in 2013-14 is long gone. The Sharks need a competent backup goalie, because relying on a brand new goaltender to play 60 games this season (plus [hopefully] the playoffs) isn't something the Sharks can do.
Aaron Dell hasn't exactly set the world on fire for the Barracuda in the AHL, but it might be time to give him a go unless a new backup can be secured elsewhere. If not, the Sharks run the risk of burning out Jones while also hurting themselves in the playoff hunt. Sub-.900 even strength goaltending is a great way to lose a lot of games, and given the Sharks injury struggles this season, they can't really afford to throw games away.*
It's a crappy end to what should have been a better story, but we're used to that, I guess.
*Given the strength of the Pacific Division this year, the Sharks can actually probably afford to throw games away. But who wants to count on that?