Dustin Tokarski wasn’t expected to be a significant contributor to the Montreal Canadiens. He ended up playing in some of their most important games of the season.
STATS: 3 Games | 2-0-0 | 1.84 GAA | .946 SV% | 0.9 Point Shares
PLAYOFFS: 5 games | 2-3 | 2.60 GAA | .916 SV%
STORY: Dustin Tokarski pretty much solidified his NHL career in only eight NHL games this season between the regular season and playoffs. He also pretty much forced Montreal’s hand. There is no way he passes through waivers so they either have to trade him or Peter Budaj.
Many resigned themselves to an easy defeat to the New York Rangers once Carey Price went down. Tokarski was at times brilliant against the Rangers and while he did allow some goals he’d like back he did not cost the Canadiens any games. They did not lose the series because of their goaltending.
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Tokarski was recalled right after the Olympics when Price went down after an injury sustained during the Olympics. He played one game and came in relief in another. His third game was later in the season when they were resting Price. After the come-from-behind win against the Ottawa Senators, Tokarski was called up and got a shut out the next night against the Buffalo Sabres.
I can’t give a grade to someone who played in only eight games including the playoffs. However, he was a solid B if not higher for his performance alone. Like I said, he allowed bad goals but he also made some incredible saves. And the games the Canadiens lost they didn’t score enough goals. In fact, his worst game was probably Game 5 which the Canadiens ended up winning. Simple as that.
FUTURE: Tokarski signed a two-year contract before the end of the season worth $565,500 per season if he sticks in the NHL. The cap hit is low even for a backup goaltender which could help the Canadiens trade him for some value or keep him over the more expensive Budaj and get some extra room.
I think Tokarski can be a very good backup in this league, something that would come in handy for the Canadiens who have been without their starting goaltender the last two years in the handshake line after getting knocked out of the playoffs.