Yann Danis came to an Islanders team that had two goalies signed with one-way contracts, one of which belonged to Rick DiPietro who is here for the next decade and then some. It was all but assured that Yann would spend the season with the Isles AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, but season ending surgery to DP caused a change in plans and so far it has worked out in Yann's favor.
The injury to Ricky led to Danis getting a few games to start as the back-up to Joey MacDonald. Mac has played well all season but was forced to sit a few weeks after sustaining an injury of his own. This allowed Danis to take over the starting reigns. In just a few months Yann went from third-string to NHL starter and hasn't looked back since.
Currently Danis has a 2.63 GAA and a .922 save %; very respectable stats for a goaltender playing on a team that seems certain to finish in last place. It's also important to note that his stats were not consistent and are more of a recent development due to growing confidence from the coaching staff and in himself.
During the post-game when the Isles faced the Washington Capitals back in January, coach Scott Gordon made a few remarks that indicated that he was unhappy with the way that Yann had been playing, claiming that the team was "giving up the wrong goals at the wrong time of the game." The Isles lost 2-1 that night. When I spoke to Yann after the game, he said that he felt that the coaching staff had been showing confidence in him since he was playing every night, but the look on his face indicated to me that he knew that this may be a short-term deal once Mac came back. After all, he was still the third-string goalie.
However, Yann has been on a tare since then and posted his first shut-out as an Islander in a 4-0 win over the New Jersey Devils last Saturday night, turning 40 shots aside. He's become a bit of a fan-favorite and a goaltender the fans seem to feel they can rely on in close situations.
The Islanders have been criticized for not handling Rick DiPietro as well as they should by letting him play nearly every game and rushing him back from injuries. This has prompted reporters and fans to worry about the teams future since Rick is still young and in the early-stages of a lifetime contract. It has been suggested that the Isles should find a back-up for next season that is capable of playing the starting role if Ricky were to get hurt again like this in order to prevent the rebuilding phase of this team from slowing down. If the rest of the team is developing but the goaltending isn't remaining consistent, this team will not improve.
So is Danis the one the Isles will turn to? Maybe Joey MacDonald? A seasoned veteran?
It's very hard to say at this point, but right now the third-string goalie that didn't have much expected out of him is turning some heads and I'm sure this will be something that Snow will keep in mind when addressing this area of concern this off-season.