Dec 20, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Michael Grabner (40) celebrates his empty-net goal in front of New York Rangers defenseman John Moore (17) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. The Islanders won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner is out indefinitely after undergoing sports hernia surgery Thursday. The speedy winger posted 12 goals and 14 assists in 69 games last season.
Grabner was out most of training camp with an upper body injury and was placed on injured reserve by the team on October 6th. Due to the Islanders plethora of forwards, they certainly won’t have a problem filling his spot in the line-up. One of the teams’ top prospects, Ryan Strome, appears to be the top candidate to take Grabner’s spot on the 2nd line, playing alongside Mikhail Grabovski and Brock Nelson.
Grabner inked a 5-year contract with team in May 2011, after an outstanding rookie campaign in the 2010-2011 season in which he scored he scored 34 goals and 18 assists. In 283 NHL games with the Canucks and Islanders, Grabner has a total of 142 points including 87 goals and 55 assists.
What the Islander will miss most during Grabner’s absence is his excellent work on the penalty kill. He has been one of the few bright spots on an Islander team that has had one of the worst penalty kills in hockey over the past couple of seasons. Perhaps Nikolay Kulemin, who inked a 4-year deal with the Islanders this summer, will take Grabner’s role on the penalty kill to start the season.
Hopefully the Islanders, who, despite the possibility of missing both Lubomir Visnovsky and Calvin de Haan for the start of the season, can get off to strong start .