Islanders Summer Report Card: Joe Finley


Feb 23, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Joe Finley (52) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. Islanders beat the Sabres 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports


Student Data

  • Name: Joe Finley
  • Enrolled: 2013
  • Age: 25
  • Undergraduate: 2005
  • Days Absent: 32
  • Scholarship: Signed through 2014 at 1.6m
  • Achievements: 16 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 PT, 20 PIM

Class List and Grade History

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


Professor Comments: This was Joe’s first season on the Island after spending the majority of his career in the Washington Capitals minor league system, not before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres. He was then released by Buffalo and claimed by the Isles in January of this year.

Joe was one of three defensemen picked up off waivers by GM Garth Snow, the other two being Thomas Hickey and Brian Strait.

Finely played in 16 games for the Isles this year compiling 0 G, 1 A, 1 PT +/-  -5 and 20 PIM. He suffered a lower-leg injury in March and didn’t play another shift for the Isles in 2013.

One could easily say this burly defenseman’s body of work wasn’t expansive enough to fairly grade him, but 16 games is sufficient time to gauge the worth of a loosley-defined utility player who was once a first round draft pick with a ton of promise.

It’s quite obvious looking at his stats that offense isn’t Joe Finely’s strong suit, and a quick glance at his overall offensive performance throughout his minor league career, would say that it’s not going to improve any time soon.

With that being said, Finely’s defensive numbers weren’t very impressive either and his -5  +/- in 16 games isn’t what you want from a guy trying to break through into the defensive rotation.  At his size,  Finely isn’t afraid to drop the gloves and go toe-to-toe with an opponent, but he was signed for his development as a defenseman, not as the resident enforcer.

When a guy’s penalty minutes outweigh his games played,  you know what type of player with which you’re ending up.

Professor Recommendation: Joe Finley doesn’t inspire much confidence in any of the possible defensive pairings currently available to Jack Capuano.  Finely hasn’t shown any sort of consistency and is apparently incapable of parlaying his success at the University of North Dakota(7 G, 28 A, 35 PTS)  to his pro game at the minor league or parent club level.

Obviously GM Garth Snow saw some potential in the former national champion and first round draft pick to snag him off waivers in January.  As of now, after a lack luster season that saw him injured halfway through, he hasn’t lived up to that potential and at this point may just be more of a depth option going into the 2013-14 season.

So that leads me to my next question: