Canadiens’ Condon: The Perfect Fit For 2016


It was announced today that Montreal Canadiens former back-up goalie Dustin Tokarski along with Mike Barberio have been sent down to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. Goaltender and prospect Mike Condon, only playing a few games during the pre-season with the Habs, will be the back-up goalie for the 2015-16 season.

After impressing both the Habs and fans during his short time playing in pre-season, it’s quite obvious why the Habs are keeping the 25-year-old around. Condon has worked his way up from the ECHL to being a top star in the AHL, and he’s ready for NHL stardom.

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Looking at the basics, Condon is the type of back-up goalie any team could dream of. He’s 6’2, has solid positioning, and can put on a great performance despite sitting around for quite a few games. However, there’s a lot more to Condon that shows he’s a better fit for this coming season than Tokarski.

Going back to the 2014-15 season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Condon earned the majority of starts. In just 48 games, he recorded 4 shutouts, had 2.44 goals against average, and achieved a .921 save percentage. Veteran goaltender Joey MacDonald went 10-9-6 while Condon earned 23-19-6 which shows that even in the AHL, Condon is able to perform at an NHL level despite never performing in a regular season game.

Sep 24, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Mike Condon (39) makes a save against Washington Capitals center Jakub Vrana (13) as defensemen Jarred Tinordi (24) and Tom Gilbert (77) defend during the third period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The main problem with Tokarski is relying on his strength to compensate for his height which is what gets him into a lot of trouble. His history of passing back rebounds to the opposing team is perfect proof, as he is unable to handle the fast paced players who are quick to pounce on the puck and put it past him just seconds after. This was especially seen during the pre-season games. He also has trouble covering angles due to his smaller frame, which allows pucks to easily slip by him. It’s not his fault that he’s smaller than most goalies in the league today, but this is a problem that should have been worked on a long time go.

In 17 games during the 2014-15 season, Tokarski lost six of his final seven starts. While he has shown that he can be quite successful in the the minors as well as leading up to the big leagues, he has only really shown us his performance in the mediocre range, with the exception of a few periods here and there. With Condon, it only took a few games to show that he has consistency and he’s clearly the more reliable choice. It’s not a bashing parade on Tokarski, it’s just general observation.

The same situation goes for Zach Fucale, as throughout the pre-season games he showed that his shaky rebound control from the Red vs. White scrimmage was far from gone, and that he needs more work on his play before he can reserve a solid position beside Carey Price, if that opportunity ever comes his way.

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  • What does this mean overall? It simply means that guys like Tokarski and Fucale need more time in the AHL to work on their skills before making a commitment in the NHL. The Habs are a team who are still working on not relying on the goaltender, and now average goaltending isn’t enough. They need someone who can be Price-like in the net, especially when Price needs enough rest for a long playoff run.

    Overall, Condon is the ideal backup to Price, as having a big body in net beside Price is exactly what the team needs. While it’s a great idea for Tokarski to go down to the IceCaps where he can work on his problems, gain more experience, and perhaps get a chance with the Habs down the road and prove that he’s earned time in the NHL, a trade seems more ideal. The Habs could trade Tokarski, maybe in a package with a guy like Jarred Tinordi, as he does provide goalie depth and the team could very well get a great bargain in return. Regardless of Tokarski’s future, Condon is ready to come in and play 15-20 games wearing the “CH” on his sweater. It’s his time to shine.

    How do you feel about Tokarski being sent to St. John’s? Do you think Condon is ready to play in the NHL or should he have had one more year in the AHL? Let us know in the comments below!

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