Islanders Summer Report Card: Matt Carkner



Student Report

  • Name : Matt Carkner
  • Evaluation Year: 2013
  • Age: 32
  • Undergraduate: 2006
  • Days Absent: 26
  • Scholarship: Signed thru 2015 at 4.5M per year
  • Achievements: 22 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 PTS,  46 PIM

Class List & Grade History

  • Skating: C
  • Shooting: D
  • Passing: C-
  • Defense: C-
  • Leadership: D

Professor Comments:

This was Matt’s first season with the Islanders after spending the last 3 seasons with Ottawa. When Carkner came to the Isles,  everyone was expecting the guy that was a tremendous pain for the Rangers in last year’s playoffs. He was all over the ice; mixing it up, hitting everything in his way and really being an annoyance. Unfortunately, he seems to have left that personality in Ottawa.

Matt was brought to the Isles along with Eric Boulton to provide some toughness in a lineup that was being pushed around. The Isles needed some protection for their superstar John Tavares. They brought him in hoping he could provide some of that feistiness the Isles were missing. The Islanders have really been in need of a Mick Vukota, Darius Kasparaitis, Matt Cooke type of player; someone who will demolish people if they go after  John Tavares.

Say what you will about Matt Cooke, but as awful as he is to opposing teams, he most definitely provides the protection needed for the Penguins stars to shine.  This kind of thing was clearly missing from Carkner’s game this year.

Sure, he got in a few fights and mixed it up here and there, but he also became somewhat of a defensive liability. His lack of ability to  play his position properly really wound up hurting the Isles. In fact, Carkner was even scratched from 2 of the 6 playoff games.

When the Islanders faced the Penguins in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they knew they were badly outgunned. So, they desperately needed that spark from a guy mixing it up.  They had to show Pittsburgh they weren’t to be messed with. They did get that spark…from Kyle Okposo, not Matt Carkner.

If you want to give Carkner the benefit of the doubt, he really never got the chance to get going. Feb 7 he went on the shelf with a groin injury. He missed 20 games, which in this shortened season was almost half the season. Carkner actually only played in 22 total games this season, not counting the playoffs.

He is really not the player that the Isles are counting on for leadership. Although he is 32 years old, he is not exactly a wily veteran. He has only played 184 total games in the NHL. If he could step up the D, and get back to the form that hockey fans saw in the 2012 playoffs, when he had 21 PIM mostly from fights, the Isles I am sure will be happy to have him in the lineup.

Professor’s Recommendation:

It will be interesting to see if Carkner returns to the player the Islanders thought they were getting in 2013-14.  He most definitely has the ability to spark the team when necessary. He is pretty much a pure agitator. He cannot be counted on for any offense whatsoever. But, if you are looking for a guy who can help protect your stars, Carkner can be that guy. At 6’4″, 240 lbs., he is certainly not someone you can just push aside. If he can get that fire and passion re-lit, and comes back healthy, he, along with Eric Boulton,  could be just what the Islanders are looking for. Grit and toughness can go a long way towards helping Tavares get to 50 goals.

So, what do you think? Do you want to see more from Matt Carkner or have you had it with him after 1 season? Let us know how you feel.