Continuing our best of series, today we will look at the best player to wear number 45 for the New York Islanders in their history.
In the New York Islanders history, only six players have worn the number. Before we get to our winner, the other five who wore the jersey were Ken Leiter, Danny Lorenz, Marko Kiprusoff, Nate Thompson, and Anders Nilsson.
For the honorable mention, we’ll go with Nilsson. Nilsson was selected in the third round by the New York Islanders in 2009. He’d make his NHL debut in the 2011-12 season putting up a .911 save percentage and a 2.75 goals against average.
He’d go back down for the 2012-2013 season, but in 19 games in 2013-14 he went 8-7-2 with a .896 save percentage and a 3.11 goals against average. The Isles then flipped Nilsson in the trade that brought in Nick Leddy on October 4, 2014.
Our winner today is Arron Asham. On June 22, 2002, the Islanders sent Mariusz Czerkawski to Montreal and received Asham and a fifth-round pick. In his first year with the Islanders, Asham put up both a career-high in goals and points with 34 points and 15 goals.
Over the next two seasons, he put up 24 points each year including his second career double-digit goal season in 2003-04. His last year with the Isles came in 2006-2007. His ice time took a pretty big dive (from 13:33 to 9:20) but he gave the Islanders about the same production with 11 goals and 23 points.
In 300 games with the Islanders, he finished with 105 points and 47 goals to his name. Over his four-season tenure, he was a solid bottom-six forward for the Isles and would go on to play through the 2013-14 season in the NHL.
His biggest moments arguably came in the playoffs, after leaving the Islanders. In 2010, he had four goals for the Flyers as they made their run to the Cup Final. The next year, he put up three goals in seven games with Pittsburgh.
Then, in 2013, the Rangers found themselves in a Game 7 against the Capitals. Asham broke the ice with the first goal of the game as they’d go on to win 5-0. Asham will be remembered as a clutch role player during his 15 year run in the league.