Apr 26, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Keith Aucoin (10) takes the puck behind the Buffalo Sabres net during the first period at the First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Islanders Summer Report Card: Keith Aucoin

NASSAU VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM OF LEARNING

 

Student Data

  • Name: Keith Aucoin
  • Evaluation Year: 2013
  • Age:  34
  • Undergraduate:  2005
  • Days Absent for 2013: 7
  • Scholarship(s):   One-year UFA contract valued at $650K
  • Achievements:    41 GP, 6 G, 6 A, 12 pts, -1, 12.0%

 Report Card

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

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Professor’s Comments: Keith Aucoin offers his team yeoman services when called upon to do so. His arduous journey in and out of the NHL has everything to do with his physical stature (5’ 9”), in my estimation, as bigger, faster opponents often trump his grit and determination rather well. So the fruits of Aucoin’s labor are somewhat sparse according to stat sheets.

And suffice to say that as easily as Aucoin can make his presence know on a given squad, his uncanny ability to fade into the fold makes him somewhat of a marked man for trades, or pulling AHL duties for significant amounts of time.

But whatever the case may be, Garth Snow believed in this man, and Aucoin did all he could to thank the Isles and his GM for taking him off the wavier wire.

In only the second game of this past season, Keith Aucoin would tally his first point as an Islander, an assist and 5 SOG, in a winning effort against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

His best game of the season, however, came two matches later in his hometown of Boston against the Stanley Cup runners-up.

Aucoin would account for all the scoring (2 G) that evening in a losing effort, but showed neither fear nor qualms nor lag playing center stage at one of the more revered venues for hockey.

Aucoin seemed to be going on a streak of some sorts in January, scoring four goals in that truncated month of hockey, making Garth Snow look somewhat deft in his off-season moves.

But as Casey Cizikas started picking up his play ever more so, and Jack Capuano began looking for size and speed over determination, Keith Aucoin’s play began to suffer a bit.

The Isles’ Centerman logged only one point  (1 A) for all of February, and wouldn’t score again until March 19th in a losing effort against the Ottawa Senators.  At this midway point of the season, Aucoin was a -3 +/- with 10 SOG.  For the month of January, Aucoin also had 10 SOG but within a 7 game span.

By the middle of April, what with Cizikas, Matt MartinMichael Grabner, Kyle Okposo, and Brad Boyes  et al. all awakening to their talents and abilities, Keith Aucoin once again faded into the background.

I’m not saying that Aucoin was brought to the Island to score a ton, but much more for plugging holes and giving you honest minutes on the ice. But even that seems to be something on the wane, or something someone else on the team can do more consistently and with a larger frame.

My issues with Aucoin have everything to do with what awaits the Isles from their respective minor league talent, and not his ability to help his team. He did have a ‘decent’ postseason, notching 5 A, playing significant ice time. But Aucoin’s name is not the one you remember when you harken back to that series, yes? You relive more Casey Cizikas moments, no? You speak of Zeeker as a spark plug, a playmaker, a puck cycler, and yes, a scorer.

See? Where does that leave Keith Aucoin?

And when you think about it, with Cizikas (and I say this with due respect for both these men) you have a younger, faster, lightning rod of a player that is nothing more than a reflection of what Aucoin used to be, or could’ve been, but is not at present.

If Keith Aucoin returns for the 2013-2014 season, rest assured I won’t be too upset, but I’d be incredibly surprised. Moreover, if he returns to the Island it will most definitely be for one last year. After that, this good, diligent, and hard-nose forward will have to pack his bags and, perhaps, return to AHL.

Let’s hope he’ll have some great stories to share back home, or that he can stay on somewhere else to keep living the dream.

I like Keith Aucoin, but he’s the true definition of collateral damage, which says lots about upcoming Islander talent, and loads more about the trials and tribulations of an honest professional athlete.

 

Professor’s Recommendation: 

If it were left up to me and I wasn’t quite ready to pull the trigger on the youth that awaits me at Bridgeport, or trade for a Thomas Vanek, etc., I would have to consider keeping Keith Aucoin on for another year. Or, at the most, platoon him with a Ryan Strome or whomever until you were quite certain that all lines and duties are covered.

Aucoin’s stature and age make him a prime candidate for trading away or sending him down to the AHL again, unfortunately.

If Anders Lee, for example, shows promise, then what? If Zeeker turns it up another notch, then what? What exactly can Capuano do with a 34 year old 5’ 9” forward who doesn’t score often?

I don’t know. You decide…

Promote or Expel Keith Aucoin

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–RD

 

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