Apr 18, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner (40) carries the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. New York defeated Toronto 5-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Summer Report Card: Michael Grabner

 

NASSAU VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM OF LEARNING

 

Student Report

  • Enrolled: 2012-13
  • Age: 25
  • Undergraduate: 2009
  • Days Absent: 3
  • Scholarship: 5 years / $15,000,000 (expires after 2015-16 season)
  • Achievements: 45 GP, 16 G, 5 A, 21 PTS, +4 +/-, 108 SOG, 14.8 SPCT, 31:42 PROD

 

Class List and Grade History

  • Skating: A+
  • Shooting: A-
  • Passing: B
  • Defense: B+
  • Leadership: B

 

Professor’s Comments: During the 2012-13 season, Michael again brought speed and skill to the New York Islanders’ lineup night-in and night-out. Although his season numbers from a purely statistical standpoint do not match what he posted in years prior, it’s important to remember that this was a lockout-shortened season.

Numbers for goals, assists, points, shots-on-goal and other categories for players league-wide were nowhere near what we’d seen in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, but with games lost due to the work stoppage, it was to be expected.

That being said, Grabner’s 0.47 points-per-game pace this year was up from 0.41 last season, a much-needed improvement from his so-called sophomore slump with the Isles. The fact that Michael was able to improve his scoring rate in a season without an NHL training camp is a testament to his skill and preparation.

Grabner also had four points in six playoff games for the Islanders, racking up 13 shots on goal in the process.

Michael’s skating is worthy of recognition this season, as it is every year. He is one of the league’s fastest skaters, as evidenced by the high percentage of breakaway opportunities he earned. We at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum of Learning would like to see him improve on his conversion rate—e.g. scoring goals on said breakaway opportunities—but otherwise, his performance was admirable.

Graber was one of four Islanders players to post at least 100 shots-on-goal this season, and was second only to John Tavares in shooting percentage at 14.8 percent.

In addition to offensive skill, Michael is a constant and steady presence on New York’s top penalty kill unit. This is proof of his defensive capability, both from a positional and recovery standpoint. Rarely is Grabner seen scrambling during a penalty kill, and his speed was a weapon that the team surely welcomed when shorthanded.

 

Professor’s Recommendation: Based on the aforementioned comments, it is therefore the recommendation of the faculty that Grabner be given a chance to showcase his ability on one of the top two lines, alongside players more capable of utilizing his speed and shooting ability.

Obviously, lineup decisions are based on a particular player’s chemistry with potential linemates. Provided Michael exhibits any kind of chemistry with a top-six Isles forward, it would behoove the coaching staff to give him an opportunity to showcase his speed on a top line.

The player contract is a non-issue for Grabner, as he’s signed through the 2015-16 NHL season. Look for him to be a piece around which the Islanders will continue to build as the team moves to Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.

Grabner is scheduled to make $3 million, $4 million and $5 million over the next three years, but the team cap hit will remain a flat $3 million; it’s a reasonable deal for a player of his caliber.

Regarding Michael’s leadership capabilities, he’s not a prototypical vocal locker room leader, but his play on the ice should inspire his teammates to work as hard as he does.

-MW

 

Poll: agree or disagree with the faculty’s assessment of Michael’s performance. Was his 2012-13 season worthy of placing him on the first or second line next year? Vote ‘Promote’ to agree, or ‘Expel’ to disagree.

 

Michael Grabner: Promote or Expel?

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Tags: John Tavares Michael Grabner New York Islanders Playoffs

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