Islanders goaltender Al Montoya has made the most of his time on Long Island, and he's being rewarded accordingly.
The 26 year-old netminder, who was acquired in a trade with Phoenix last month, agreed to terms with the Islanders on a one-year, one-way contract extension through the 2011-12 season.
"It feels great," Montoya said when reached by telephone Tuesday. "I'm very grateful I got this chance and opportunity."
Since steadying a goaltending corps depleted by injuries and trade, Montoya has posted an 8-4-4 record with a 2.35 goals against average and .923 save percentage in 17 games with the Islanders.
"It's been everything I can imagine," Montoya said of the whirlwind that has been the past two months. "It's the NHL. It's the chance to prove yourself every day against the best competition in the world. And the guys on the team have really made it an easy transition for me."
The extension seems to be a positive move for both sides. Montoya gets the security of a one-way deal for the first time in his career, while the Islanders add stability and depth to their goaltending for next season. Per the rules of the CBA, Montoya would've become a Group 6 unrestricted free agent July 1 had he not signed an extension.
"For me it was a goal to be back with this team and get that contract," Montoya said. "This is just another chance to prove myself. To just go back out there whenever I get the chance."
The Chicago native spent the majority of the past two-plus seasons with Phoenix's AHL affiliate San Antonio Rampage. He was picked by the New York Rangers high in the 2004 draft (6th overall) before being traded to Phoenix in 2008.