Islanders: Best Player To Wear Number 12
By Matt O'Leary
Continuing our best of series, today we will look at the best player to wear number 12 for the New York Islanders in their history.
After back to back days with over 20 players to wear a number with 10 and 11, we have only 13 players to ever wear the number 12 for the New York Islanders. The first to ever do it was Terry Crisp in 1973.
Some other notables are J.P. Parise, Mike Vukota, and Josh Bailey. Of this bunch, I’d probably lean Bailey as the honorable mention. The Isles selected Josh Bailey ninth overall in 2008 and he’s played with the team ever since.
Yes, his first seven or eight years in the league were rather mediocre but he has developed into a steady player for the Islanders over the past four seasons. For the majority of fans, at least the ones without a bias, he’s done a 180 as a player most didn’t like to one who is revered.
His best season came in 2017-2018 when he put up a career-high of 71 points (18 goals, 53 assists) in 76 games. For nearly the entirety of that season, he was a point per game player and then he extended for just a $5 million AAV. Bailey has changed the narrative and deserves credit where credit is due.
Despite over 800 games, and 476 points for Bails he isn’t the best to ever put on the Islanders number 12. That’s reserved for Duane Sutter.
Sutter was drafted by the Islanders 17th overall in 1979 and immediately began playing in the NHL as a 19-year-old. In his first year he put up 24 points and it wasn’t until his third year in the league when he really got going.
In 1981-1982, Sutter had a breakout year putting up 53 points (18 goals, 35 assists). He would be a 20 goal scorer just once in his career, 1985-1986, but in 547 career games with the Isles, he was fairly productive putting up 292 points (121 goals, 171 assists).
Sutter won four Stanley Cups with the Islanders and was a huge part of the final Stanley Cup in 1983. That year in the playoffs he was on fire putting up 21 points (9 goals, 12 assists) in 20 games for the Isles.
Duane went onto coach in his post-playing career. He was the bench boss for the Florida Panthers for parts of the 2000-2001 season and 2001-2002 season but was fired after 72 games and a 22-35-8 record.
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He is remembered, and for good reason, fondly during his seven-year career with the Islanders.