One of the greatest New York Islanders to ever lace up the skates has finally hung them up. Zigmund Palffy announced today that he is retiring from professional hockey.
Palffy began his hockey career in his native Czechoslovakia (and later Slovakia) with 3 impressive junior years before heading over to North America. The New York Islanders drafted Palffy in the second round of the 1991 NHL Entry draft. Deciding to stick it out a couple more years in his home nation, he made his North American debut in 1993 where he suited up for the Salt Lake Golden Eagles of the IHL. He became a point a game player with the Eagles notching 57 points in 57 games. He also made a 5 game stint with the big club in the same year.
After spending the next year between the Islanders and the Denver Grizzlies, Palffy broke away from the heard and became the franchise face starting in the 1995-1996 season. Scoring 87 points in 81 games, Zigmund Palffy rightfully cemented his spot on the Islanders roster.
The next two seasons saw Palffy become a machine as he scored over a point per game. However, all good things must come to an end. In 1999 and against the wishes of the fans, Palffy, along with Brayn Smolinski were traded to the Los Angeles Kings. Citing financials woes, the Islanders received Olli Jokinen, Josh Green, Mathieu Biron and a first round draft pick in return. The Palffy trade was a hard one to take on Long Island. Zigmund Palffy was proving to be a rising star and franchise player.
Although Palffy continued to be a powerhouse with the Kings, injuries forced him to start playing less. He missed the majority of the 2003-04 season due to an injury to his shoulder. After taking the time off and refusing to resign with Los Angeles, Mario Lemieux made a phone call and with that, Palffy signed a 3 year contract and became a Penguin.
It was short lived however as Palffy only managed to suit up for 47 games. After the season, Palffy officially announced his retirement from the NHL. In 684 games, he finished his NHL career with 329 goals ad 384 assists.
Zigmund Palffy ventured back to Slovakia and laced up his skates for numerous Olympic games appearances and World Championships. He also suited up for his hometown club of HK 36 Skalica. During the 2007-08 season, he remained as dominate as ever scoring an astonishing 75 points in 46 games. His last North American appearance however was at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Today, after almost 21 years of professional hockey, Zigmund Palffy is walking away. Walking away with his head held high and still at the top of his game. For that Ziggy, you will always remain a Legend of Long Island.