Continuing our best of series, today we will look at the best player to wear number 44 for the New York Islanders in their history.
In the New York Islanders history, 15 players have worn the number 44 during their time on Long Island. The first to ever do it was Ken Leiter in 1985, some other notables are Jari Gronstrand, Todd Bertuzzi, Janne Niinimaa, Freddy Meyer, and J.G. Pageau.
For our honorable mention today we’ll go with Todd Bertuzzi. In the 1993 draft, the Isles were able to snag Todd Bertuzzi 23rd overall. Two years later he would make his NHL debut playing in 76 games and putting up 39 points.
In year two, there was a slight step back as his point total dropped to 23 points in 64 games. That would be the last full season he’d play on Long Island, after 52 games in 1997-1998, the Isles moved him to Vancouver for Trevor Linden.
His career took off in Vancouver as he’d go on to put up 85 points in 2002 and 97 points in 2003, finishing fifth in Hart voting. In 1,159 games over 18 years he had 770 points and 314 goals.
For our winner today, we’re going with Calvin de Haan. In the 2009 draft, the Isles landed both John Tavares and Calvin de Haan in the first round. de Haan would make his NHL debut with the Islanders in the 2011-12 season, playing just one game.
He played just three games in the AHL the following year due to injuries. In 2013-14, de Haan became a regular and got a ton of ice time with the big club. As a 22-year-old, de Haan put up 16 points in 51 games and was playing 21:01 for the Isles alongside Travis Hamonic.
Over the next few years, de Haan would be a steady piece for the Islanders top-four. His best year came in 2016-17, the first time he played a full 82 game season, putting up 25 points (5 goals, 20 assists) while playing 19:51 per night.
The following year would be his last on the Island, and it was cut short due to injuries as he played just 33 games with 12 points under his belt at the time. Since then, he’s played one year in Carolina and one year in Chicago this past season that was limited to 29 games.
de Haan is a solid defensive defenseman, whose career to this point has been unfortunately riddled with injuries. When he’s on the ice there’s no denying the impact that he can have on your defense.