Islanders: Best Player To Wear Number 20
By Matt O'Leary
Continuing our best of series, today we will look at the best player to wear number 20 for the New York Islanders in their history.
In the New York Islanders history, 22 players have worn the number 20. Ironically, the first player to ever wear it was Bob Nystrom in 1973, before he changed to number 23. Some other notables are Neil Nicholson, Doug Rombough, Mats Hallin, Dale Henry, Bryan Smolinski, Steve Wenn, and Evgeni Nabakov.
Of that bunch, we’re going to go Evgeni Nabakov for the honorable mention. The Isles claimed Nabakov on waivers when he tried to re-enter the league in 2011. While he didn’t play at the end of the 2010-2011 season he did start for the Isles in 2011-2012 and was rather solid.
He had a .914 save percentage and a 2.55 goals against average. The year prior they had six different goalies start in net so they need some stability. The following year he put up relatively good numbers again with a .910 and a 2.74 goals against average.
Unfortunately in the playoffs, he was an absolute disaster. He had a .842 save percentage and a 4.44 goals against average. If he gave the Isles anything close to the numbers he had in the regular season they upset the Penguins in round one.
After three years with the Islanders, he would finish with a .910 save percentage and a 2.59 goals against average providing a couple years of stability in net for a team that desperately needed it.
Our winner today is Ray Ferraro. In 1990, the Isles acquired Ferraro for Doug Crosman straight up. It wasn’t until the next year, 1991-1992 that would see Ferraro take the next step on Long Island.
He played in 80 games and put up 80 points (40 goals, 40 assists), the highest point total of his career. Ferraro only played in 46 regular-season games the next year but he was dominant for the Islanders in the playoffs.
He had 13 goals in 18 games in the 93 playoffs as the Isles were able to rally and get to the Eastern Conference Final. Ferraro would stick with the Islanders through the 1994-1995 season and finish with 238 points (116 goals, 122 assists) in 316 games over five years.
Now you can find Ferraro on TSN Radio, TSN, and NBCSN. He is a busy guy as he has made the transition to the coverage side quite well.