Islanders: Best Player To Wear Number 25
By Matt O'Leary
Continuing our best of series, today we will look at the best player to wear number 25 for the New York Islanders in their history.
20 players for the New York Islanders have worn the number 25. The first player to sport the number was Neil Nicholson who wore it from 1972-1974. Some other notables are Dave Lewis, Billy Carroll, Mariusz Czerkawski (98-99), Nino Niederreiter, and Devon Toews.
Of the notables, we’ll go with Dave Lewis for our honorable mention. Lewis was drafted by the Isles in the third round in 1973. He would skate in the NHL that same year playing in 66 games and putting up 17 points along the way.
His best season was in 1977, as a 23-year-old. He finished with 28 points (a career-high) and was a +29 on the season. Arguably Dave Lewis’ biggest contribution to the Isles was being a part of the deal that landed Butch Goring, arguably the missing piece to the puzzle.
Not only was Lewis a steady defender for parts of seven seasons on Long Island, but he was also involved in the best trade in team history. Our winner today, is David Volek.
In 1984, Volek was drafted in the 10th round of the playoffs. He would make his NHL debut in 1988-1989 where he put up 59 points (25 goals, 34 assists). He had a down year in 1990, but bounced back nicely over the following two years with 56 and 60 points.
In 92-93, Volek only played in 56 regular-season games but he was solid for the Isles in the playoffs scoring four goals. The biggest goal of his career came in the 93 playoffs as the Isles found themselves down against the heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in the series.
The Isles would force a Game 7, and in overtime, David Volek played hero knocking out the back-to-back defending champions.
Post dynasty era, this is one of the biggest moments in Islanders history. Volek would play just one more year with the Islanders before being forced to retire due to a herniated disc in his back. He finished his Islanders career with 249 points in 396 games over six years.
Now, you can find him coaching HC Sparta Praha as an assistant coach. He’s been with the Czech team for 15 years after spending some time as a scout briefly.