In 2008, the New York Islanders drafted Jared Spurgeon. Spurgeon never played a single game for the Islanders but has made a name for himself with the Wild.
13 swings is a lot in a single draft. That’s how many picks the New York Islanders had in 2008 as their rebuild truly got underway. The Isles found key pieces like Josh Bailey, Travis Hamonic, and Matt Martin in this class that would be on the forefront of the Islanders’ turnaround.
There’s another guy from this draft class though who also has 600+ games in the NHL like the other three and that’s Jared Spurgeon. With pick 156, the Islanders took Spurgeon out of the WHL.
In his draft year, he had 43 points (12 goals, 31 assists) in 69 games. He followed that up with another productive season with 45 points and another with 51 points as a 21-year-old in the WHL.
Garth Snow and the Islanders never signed him. In 2010, he signed an ELC with the Minnesota Wild effectively ending his Islanders tenure with zero games played in their system. They let him go for nothing.
Spurgeon would play 23 games in the AHL before getting the call up to the pros. Since then, he’s averaged over 21 minutes a night or more each of the following years. He really hit his stride in 2016-2017 hitting 38 points (10 goals, 28 assists).
Last year was the first time he hit 40 points scoring a career-high 14 goals with 29 assists to go along with it. That breakout year earned him a seven-year $53 million contract with the Wild that he signed last September.
Before this year came to a close, he had 32 points in 62 games which is a pace of 42 points. Now, at 30 years old, he’s a steady 35-45 point defender who can pop in double-digit goals from the right side and handle 22-24 minutes of ice time.
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Is he the best defender in the league? No, but he’s certainly rock solid and the Islanders letting him leave for nothing is pretty poor in hindsight. Sometimes you hit on those sixth rounders, and other times you don’t know you hit until eight years later when they are finishing top-15 in the Norris voting.