There is no doubt that the Islanders current roster is different from the one they had during the 2012-2013 season. Today I decided to take all of the ex-Islanders from that time and forward and put them together to make an ex-Islanders All-Star team sort of speak. Will they be good? Could they be even better than the Islanders current roster? Let’s find out!
Note: There are two rules that I have put in place. Rule #1 is that retired players are not eligible for the team. Rule #2 is that they must have played at least one game for the team from the 2012-2013 season or forward. Using these two rules, I found 21 forwards, nine defenseman, and four goaltenders eligible for this team. In addition, I tried to keep the players in their natural positions. Statistics courtesy of NHL.com, hockey-reference.com, hockeyfights.com, and wikipedia.org
The Islanders have had some good forwards that have come and gone, let’s look at what four lines of ex-Islanders could look like…
Line 1: Thomas Vanek – Frans Nielsen – Kyle Okposo
Both Kyle Okposo (Buffalo Sabres) and Frans Nielsen (Detroit Red Wings) left this past summer via free agency. After 559 games with the Islanders, Okposo had 139 goals and 230 assists. In 606 games with the Islanders, Nielsen had 119 goals and 230 assists. While on the Islanders, Okposo mainly played right wing on the top line with John Tavares and Nielsen played second line center. Thomas Vanek only played in 47 games with the Islanders but scored 17 goals and 27 assists for 44 points. Like Nielsen, Vanek is now on the Detroit Red Wings.
Line 2: Matt Moulson – Tyler Kennedy – Michael Grabner
Matt Moulson had 118 goals and 105 assists in 304 games with the Islanders. In a trade where the Islanders acquired Thomas Vanek, Moulson went to Buffalo. Buffalo traded him to Minnesota around the trade deadline but signed back in Buffalo that summer in the free agency. He currently plays with former Islander, Kyle Okposo as well as 2015 2nd overall pick Jack Eichel on the first line. Tyler Kennedy only played in 13 games for the Islanders after being acquired from the Sharks at the trade deadline but scored in his Islanders debut and had a total of two goals and three assists in those 13 games. Last season Kennedy signed with the New Jersey Devils and had three goals and 13 assists in 50 games. He is currently and unrestricted free agent. In 297 career games with the Islanders, Michael Grabner had 90 goals and 54 assists. Before the 2015-2016 season, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and signed with the New York Rangers during this past summer. In his first 35 games with the Rangers, Grabner has 14 goals and five assists.
Line 3: Matt Martin – Cory Conacher – Brad Boyes
In 438 games with the Islanders, Matt Martin had 42 goals, 88 assists, and 67 fights. This summer, Martin signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Cory Conacher only played in 15 games with the Islanders, scoring a goal and two assists before being waved and being sent down to Bridgeport after clearing waivers. At the 2015 trade deadline he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks where he played for their AHL team, the Utica Comets for the rest of the season. Last season Conacher played overseas for SC Bern but is now back in the NHL/AHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. Brad Boyes played on the Islanders top line for most of the 2012-2013 lockout shortened season. In 48 games with the Islanders, Boyes had 10 goals and 25 assists. After that, Boyes played two seasons for the Florida Panthers and then the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. Boyes is currently an unrestricted free agent.
Line 4: Mike Halmo – Peter Regin – Colin McDonald
In 20 NHL games with the Islanders, Halmo has one goal. Last season with the Sound Tigers, Halmo had 22 goals and 19 assists in 74 games. This past summer, Halmo signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. Peter Regin played 44 games with the Islanders, scoring two goals and five assists. During the season he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks where he spent that year and the next year in the Blackhawks organization. Now Regin is the captain for Jokerit of the KHL. In 133 games with the Islanders, Colin McDonald had 17 goals and 26 assists. Last season, McDonald signed with the Philadelphia Flyers organization and is currently the captain of the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Honorable Mentions: Kael Mouillierat, Taylor Beck, Keith Aucoin, David Ullström, and Johan Sundstrom.
Defense: Of the nine defenseman eligible for this team, only one was right handed so some of the players are not in their natural positions…
Pairing 1: Andrew MacDonald – Mark Streit
In 295 games with the Islanders, MacDonald had 17 goals and 72 assists and wore the “A” for some time. He was traded at the 2014 trade deadline to the Flyers and has been there since. The former Islander captain played 286 games with the Islanders scoring 40 goals and 139 assists. Following the 2012-2013 season, his rights were traded to the Flyers and wound up signing there and has played there since.
Pairing 2: Brian Strait – Marek Zidlicky
Brian Strait and Marek Zidlicky were both on the Islanders last season. In 17o games with the Islanders, Strait had six goals and 20 assists. During the summer he signed a contract with the Winnipeg Jets organization. Zidlicky signed with the Islanders before training camp last season and played in 53 games scoring four goals and 12 assists. Zidlicky is currently an unrestricted free agent.
Pairing 3: Aaron Ness – Griffin Reinhart
In 29 NHL games with the Islanders, Aaron Ness had one goal and two assists. Ness was also the captain of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers before signing with the Washington Capitals organization during the summer heading into the 2015-2016 season. Griffin Reinhart was picked 4th overall by the Islanders in 2012. During the 2015 NHL draft he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for the 16th overall pick and 33rd overall pick. The 33rd overall pick would be packaged with the Islanders’ third round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 28th overall pick. 16th overall the Islanders selected Mathew Barzal and 28th overall the Islanders selected Anthony Beauvillier.
Honorable Mention: Matt Donovan.
Starter: Michal Neuvirth
Neuvirth only played five games with the Islanders after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at the 2015 trade deadline. He finished those five games with a 1-3-1 record, a .881 save percentage, and a 2.94 goals against average. However, in 209 NHL games, Neuvirth has a 88-73-21 record, a 2.69 goals against average, and a .912 save percentage.
Backup: Chad Johnson
Johnson signed with the Islanders during the summer leading up to the 2014-2015 season. Johnson went 8-8-1 with the Islanders with a 3.08 goals against average, and a .889 save percentage. Johnson and a third round pick were traded to the Buffalo Sabres at the 2015 trade deadline for Michal Neuvirth. Last season with the Sabres, Johnson went 22-16-4 with a 2.36 goals against average and a .920 save percentage. This season with the Calgary Flames he has looked to have taken the starting job from Brian Elliott with a 13-7-1 record, a 2.30 goals against average, a .922 save percentage, and three shutouts.
Honorable Mention: Anders Nilsson.