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Islanders: Best Player To Wear Number 11

The New York Islanders logo (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The New York Islanders logo (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Continuing our best of series, today we will look at the best player to wear number 11 for the New York Islanders in their history.

22 players have skated for the New York Islanders while wearing the number 11 on their back. The first to ever do it was Dave Hudson in 1973-1974. Some other notables who wore it were Randy Wood, Darius Kasparaitis, Mattias Weinhandl, Lubomir Visnovsky, and most recently Tanner Fritz.

Of that bunch, our honorable mention today wiki be Randy Wood. For seven years, he wore the number for the Islanders. He made his NHL debut in 1986-1987 and in 1988 he finished eighth in Calder voting.

That year, Wood had 38 points (22 goals, 16 assists). From 1990-1992 he had three straight 20+ goal seasons finishing with 172 points (94 goals, 78 assists) in 381 games played.

Our winner today is Wayne Merrick who played center for the Islanders from 1977-1984. Now, Merrick switched between numbers 11 and 10 but he played from 77-81 as number 11 before switching to 10 for one year and then returning to 11 again.

Don’t ask me why he did that for that season but he did nonetheless. In 411 games with the Islanders he had 197 points (81 goals, 116 assists). In 1981, he finished 18th in the league in Selke voting.

His most productive year came in 1978-1979 when he had 41 points and 20 goals. That was the only season he had 20 goals or more with the Islanders. Merrick has four Stanley Cup rings on his finger due to his time with the Islanders.

Merrick saved his best for the playoffs as he had 18 points in 18 games in 1981 (including the cup clinching goal) and 12 points in 19 games in 1982. In those two years specifically, he was extremely effective for the Islanders in his role.

Wayne was in the radio booth in the late 1990s and was around the team up until around the mid-2000s. After that, he’s gone rogue. He moved up to Ontario and hasn’t really been around since then.

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Apparently it’s not a health issue or an anti-Islanders issue. As far as I can tell he’s in good health and has no issues with the team he just chooses not to come around anymore.

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