After a flawless training camp, former Hamilton Bulldogs’ number 1 goaltender, Mike Condon, has usurped Dustin Tokarski for the job as Carey Price’s backup. Tokarski, along with newly acquired defenseman Mark Barberio, was placed on waivers earlier today.
In a press conference on Monday at noon, Canadiens’ general manager Marc Bergevin cited Condon’s strong camp and Tokarski’s less than stellar performance were definitely the determining factor in the move.
There has been a severe dip in Tokarski’s game since his extraordinary playoff performance against the New York Rangers in the 2014 Eastern Conference finals. Despite losing the series, the goaltender’s work replacing an injured Carey Price gave the Canadiens a fighting chance in the series.
Since then, however, Tokarski hasn’t even shown flashes of his former self. Oftentimes, he would get caught out of position, with his back turned to the oncoming play, or simply letting pucks going through him.
As for Condon, he did everything he needed to do to earn the backup job. He looked technically sound, which is a huge plus for any backup goaltender, and he showed excellent reactionary skills when they were called upon to stop pucks fired at him.
Despite Tokarski’s experience, Condon showed veteran poise beyond his career experience, never looking flustered. That type of demeanor in goal is a character trait not held by many at this level. It wasn’t too long ago that Carey Price was vilified for having a laid back, un-phased mindset in goal. And as well all know, that worked out just fine for the Canadiens.
Mike Condon will now not only get much needed NHL experience, but he’ll be under the tutelage of two great goaltending minds. If Habs’ goalie coach Stephane Waite can make him great, with better tools than he had to work with in the case of Chicago Blackhawks’ goalie Corey Crawford, and Price can show him the NHL ropes, the Canadiens’ goaltending will be almost as strong as when they had Patrick Roy and Pat Jablonski as their goaltending tandem.