Posted: Tuesday September 12, 2006 5:45PM; Updated: Tuesday September 12, 2006 6:28PM
Isles GM Garth Snow looked thrilled at the press conference where the great big deal was announced.
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No one's saying that DiPietro doesn't have potential, but to this point, he's barely proven himself as a capable NHL netminder. And that's what really makes this a jumping-on-Oprah's-couch crazy deal.
This is the golden age of goaltending. Look around the league and there's an embarrassment of riches at the position, both present and future. Sure, there are question marks this season in a few cities like Toronto, Detroit and St. Louis, but they all seem to be set for tomorrow with kids like Justin Pogge, Jimmy Howard and Marek Schwarz in their respective systems.
And consider that teams like Buffalo, San Jose and Anaheim, who are blessed with at least two goalies capable of carrying the mail, couldn't find a taker this summer for either one. Why not? Because there were better, or cheaper, options out there for the shoppers.
You have to believe that opposition to the concept of this deal led to the dismissal of previous GM Neil Smith last month. And you have to feel bad for his successor in name only. Garth Snow's involvement likely was limited to getting DiPietro's agent on the phone, handing it to Wang and heading out to get coffee. It's hard to imagine anyone with any power in that position, even someone with such limited front office experience, putting his stamp of approval on that contract. And now he's saddled with DiPietro until 2021 because his deal, like Yashin's, is an immoveable object.
Of course, Wang could have a backup plan in mind if DiPietro's play starts to deteriorate and he needs to clear that salary off the books. After all, Snow will have to be replaced eventually.