Islanders: Best Player To Wear Number 34
By Matt O'Leary
Continuing our best of series, today we will look at the best player to wear number 34 for the New York Islanders in their history.
34 is a weird number for the New York Islanders. 23 players have worn it for the Isles but of those 23 only four have worn the number for multiple years. The first to was Gord Dineen in 1983 and some other notables are Brian Curran, Rob DiMaio, Wade Dubielewicz, and most recently Cole Bardreau.
Our honorable mention for today is Wade Dubielewicz. In his first three years with the Islanders, Dubie played just 17 games with the Islanders. It was the last game of the regular season in 2006-2007 that put Dubie on the map.
The Isles beat the Devils in a shootout, and Wade Dubielewicz’s poke check sealed the game for the New York Islanders sending them to the playoffs.
The 2007-2008 season was by far the best year of his career. In 20 games, he had a .919 save percentage and a 2.70 goals against average. After that year, he’d go on to play just six more games in the league.
Our winner today is Bryan Berard. In 1995, Berard was selected first overall by the Ottawa Senators. In January of 1996, the Isles would trade Wade Redden and Damian Rhodes and receive Berard, Don Beaupre, and Martin Straka.
The 1996-1997 season was stellar for Berard who finished with 48 points (8 goals, 40 assists) from the blue line. He won the Calder that season and finished 11th in Norris voting. The following year he was nearly as good posting 46 points and 14 goals.
As a 21-year-old defenseman, the Isles decided it would be a good idea to trade him for Felix Potvin. For context, Potvin played 33 games for the Isles over two years and had a .893 save percentage over that span.
Berard would actually come back to the Islanders to finish his career in 2007-2008, playing in 54 games and putting up 22 points in 17:38 of ice time per night. Berard’s time on the Island was short-lived, but he was excellent in his first few years with the club.