In this series, we will look at players who started out as New York Islanders but went on to have good careers elsewhere. First up, Zdeno Chara.
This week, I wanted to take a look at some players who may have started out with the New York Islanders but either never played for the team or is more known for what he’s done since leaving the organization.
We will start this series off with a Mike Milbury classic, Zdeno Chara. In the 1996 draft, the Islanders selected the six-foot-nine d-man in the third round of the NHL Draft.
Just a year later, in the 1997-1998 season, Chara made his debut for the Isles He played in just 25 games and put up one point as a 20-year-old. The following year he was a regular, playing in 59 games and logging nearly 19 minutes a night,
Over the next two years, he would play 65 and 82 games with the Islanders and average over 22 minutes a night.
In June of 2001, the Islanders traded Bill Muckalt, a second overall pick, and Zdeno Chara for Alexei Yashin. That pick turned into Jason Spezza and Zdeno’s career took off in Ottawa.
The next year, at age 24 he scored 10 goals. His previous career-high was two with the Islanders, he would go on to score double-digit goals 10 times in his NHL career. In four years with the Senators, he would hit double-digit goals three times and finish in the top-five of Norris voting twice while making two all-star teams.
In 2006-2007, Chara would move to Boston where his dominance continued. In 14 years with the Bruins, he’s played in over 1,000 games with 481 points (148 goals, 333 assists) to his name.
He’s made five All-Star teams, won the Norris trophy while finishing top-five four other times in addition, he’s a Stanley Cup champion and a team captain. At age 42, he still plays every night and is averaging 21:01 as a top defender.
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To say the Islanders let one get away is the understatement of the century. He’s an absolute lock for the NHL Hall of Fame with 22 years of NHL experience under his belt. Thanks a lot Mike Milbury.