May 1, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders centerCasey Cizikas
(53) handles the puck against pressure from Pittsburgh Penguins left wingJussi Jokinen
(36) during the first period in game one of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
NASSAU VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM OF LEARNING
- Name : Casey Cizikas
- Enrolled : 2012-2013
- Age: 22
- Undergraduate: 2009
- Days Absent: 3
- Scholarship: 1 year remaining on ELC, $900k
- Achievements: 45 games played, 6 goals, 9 assists, 15 points, even, 45 shots on goal
Class List and Grade History
- Skating : B
- Shooting : C
- Passing : B-
- Defense : B+
- Leadership : B
Professor Comments : Casey, Casey, Casey….what is there not to love about this 4th line spark-plug who at times last season, looked as if he belonged centering the 3rd unit. My affection for this player runs so deep that he has been chosen to be my next Islanders jersey purchase and is my pseudonym here at EyesOnIsles.
After a brief 15 game tryout in 2011-12 he burst onto the scene making 45 out of 48 possible appearances for the Islanders and appearing in all 6 playoff contests. And he did not look a step out of place in either.
After scoring 88 goals in 237 OHL games with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, he made his mark at Bridgeport for the Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League. His rookie debut there produced 15-30-45 in 52 games and prior to the lockout being settled was doing well yet again as a sophomore with 10-11-21 in 31 games.
But it is at the NHL level he made his mark this season, cementing his place in the Islanders lineup for a very long time with determined, hard-working forechecking, responsible defensive play and some offense thrown in for good measure here and there. Playing the pivot between Matt Martin and often Colin McDonald, the trio was arguably one of the best 4th lines in the Eastern conference last season.
Casey is an excellent skater with good straight line speed and agility. His low center of gravity makes him difficult to check and contain when he gets on the cycle in the corners of the offensive zone.
Shooting can be improved, mostly from an accuracy standpoint. His junior and AHL totals show that the potential is there to be a consistent 15-20 goal scorer with increased ice time however he has to fine tune the radar and get more of his opportunities on goal.
Passing is underrated when people think of breaking down his game. He has never had more goals than assists at any level and showed good camaraderie with his line-mates finding them in crucial spots down the stretch that led to glorious scoring opportunities.
Defensively he is very sound and comfortable in his own zone. In his first professional season I was, to be completely honest, astounded by the lack of rookie mistakes that the 5’11 Cizikas made in terms of coverage. He made it to the point where head coach Jack Capuano was not afraid to use him in critical late game situations and penalty killing.
It is always hard to judge leadership when a player does not possess a letter on his jersey but this is one that could and probably should get one in the near future. An ability to lead by example and stand up for his teammates, even at his diminutive size (by today’s standards) shows tons of heart and respect for the players around him.
Professor Recommendation : This is an easy decision for myself and most all Islanders fans. Heck, I would venture to guess that anyone who watched even 5 games all season for this team that Cizikas played in would agree.
A promotion is not only warranted but earned. Thrown onto a would be playoff team and asked to play a prominent role showed just how much the coaching staff values his contributions.
What he has also earned for the 2013-14 season is more ice time. Averaging 10:46 per game is excellent for a rookie center but we could be reasonably expect to see that increased to the 13 minute range with some added responsibility.
Every team needs a line EXACTLY like the Islanders already HAVE. A 4th line that can crash, bang and chip in with the occasional big goal. All future championship teams have one.
Here is your chance to let the faculty know what you thought of Casey’s performance this season. What would you do?