Islanders: Best Player To Wear Number 17
By Matt O'Leary
Continuing our best of series, today we will look at the best player to wear number 17 for the New York Islanders in their history.
In the Islanders‘ history, 25 players have dressed wearing the number 17. The first to ever do it was Tom Miller from 1973-1975. From there, some other notables are Greg Gilbert, Brad Dalgarno, Wendel Clark (1996), and Matt Martin.
Of the notables, Greg Gilbert seems to make the most sense for honorable mention. Gilbert wore 17 from 1981-1986 before switching over to number 7. He was technically a part of two Islanders Stanley Cups (1982 and 1983) playing just 46 games over the two years and 14 combined games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Anyway, his best year came in 1983-1984 when he had 66 points (31 goals, 35 assists). Gilbert spent eight years with the Islanders and had 231 points to his name. While he’s a good candidate, Shawn Bates is our winner today.
In 2001-2002, after four years with the Bruins, Shawn Bates joined the New York Islanders. In his first year with the team, he put up 52 points (17 goals, 35 assists). He was great in the playoffs that year with six points in seven games vs Toronto. Bates’ penalty shot goal is widely considered one of the best moments in 21st century Islanders history.
Chills. The Coliseum is the absolute best, I love it.
Bates spend eight years with the Isles from 2001 through 2008 and had 170 points (58 goals, 112 assists). After injuries held him to just two games in 2007-2008 he was bought out by New York.
He would go on to play 20 games for HIFK Helsinki in 08-09 and then 16 games in Austria and the AHL combined before calling it a career after 2010.
The lasting moment for Bates will be that penalty shot in a NHL career that spanned 465 games. For that historic moment, and solid production when healthy, he’s in our eyes the best player to wear 17 for the Islanders.