Continuing our best of series, today we will look at the best player to wear number 27 for the New York Islanders in their history.
Only 10 players have worn the number 27 for the New York Islanders and for the most part, this number has been reserved for the best of the best. We’re going to hold off on who the first to wear it was but some other notables were Derek King, Michael Peca, and current captain Anders Lee.
Out of that group, our honorable mention is going to be Derek King. King was a first-round selection for the Isles in 1985. He would make his NHL debut the following year playing in two games and he’d be a regular for 1987-1988.
In his first full year in the league, the left-winger put up 36 points (12 goals, 24 assists). It took a few years to get going but by the time he was 24, he found his groove. For three straight seasons, he put up 70+ points.
His best year was in 1991-1992 when he had a career-high 78 points and 40 goals to his name. Over 11 years with the Islanders, King would finish with 499 points in 638 games.
The best to ever wear number 27 would have to be John Tonelli. The Isles selected Tonelli in the second round of the 1977 NHL Draft and he would join the team after playing in the WHA for one more year following being drafted.
In his first year in the league, he had 56 points with the Isles. Like King, it took a little bit but he eventually hit his groove around 24. He would put up 93, 71, 67, and 100 points with the Isles over a four year run in the 1980s.
The best year of his career was without a doubt 1985 when he had a career-high 100 points and 42 goals. In 1986, the Isles decided to part ways with Tonelli and move him to Calgary for Steve Konroyd and Rich Kromm ending his tenure on Long Island.
Over eight years, Tonelli had 544 points in 594 games with the Islanders including four Stanley Cups. He also finished top-10 in Selke voting four times during his eight-year run with the team.
This past season, the Isles retired his number to honor Tonelli. As Mr. Tonelli said, hopefully, one day Anders Lee’s number 27 is also up there with him.