But now we approach the Jackets postseason. The “fun” begins in a little less than a week, with the end of the season next Saturday. If you have a favorite player other than Vinny Prospal or Jack Johnson, you might want to get one last look on Saturday. If the front office is cleaned, those two may not even be safe.
One thing to watch for over the last week of the season is the play of Allen York and whether or not Shawn Hunwick gets any playing time. The surprising play of York has turned a week around after it started with an embarrassing loss. Steve Mason’s struggles have been a combination of his own occasional bad play and the guys in front of him letting him down. But it sure does seem that the Jackets play better for other goalies and especially for York. Certainly other teams don’t have a “book” on York, but this is a guy that was at best fourth the depth chart and has actually spent time in the ECHL this season. The Jackets have faced three playoff teams this week and won three in a row, largely because of York’s play. Book or not, playoff teams ought to be able to beat the Jackets and an untested goaltender in the second to the last week of the season.
Of course, if York continues to play well there is little incentive to put Hunwick in a game. Playing out the string or not, some people still want to win. If nothing else it would be nice to pick a game and give Hunwick the start, it might be his only chance and what is the harm at this point? Plus, a little game experience to see if you want to offer that contract to him for next year doesn’t hurt. Despite his size, all he has done is persevere and succeed. The Jackets could use some of that.
York and Hunwick are almost certainly not the answer at the NHL level next year, but they could fill the Springfield spots nicely. That leaves us with the fun of filling the two goalie spots at the big club level.