Editorials

Islanders: Best Player To Wear Number 52

By Matt O'Leary
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 01: Ross Johnston #32 of the New York Islanders fights with Luke Witkowski #28 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on November 01, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 01: Ross Johnston #32 of the New York Islanders fights with Luke Witkowski #28 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on November 01, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Continuing our best of series, today we will look at the best player to wear number 52 for the New York Islanders in their history.

Five players have worn the number 52 for the New York Islanders in their history. The first to ever do it was Mark Lawrence in 1998. He wore the number for just two games and in those games, he didn’t register any points in his limited sample size.

The following year he switched to number 44 where he put up 30 points, the best year of his career. In 2003-2004, Sven Butenschon wore the number for 41 games. That was a career-high for him as he put up seven points and averaged 11:15 per game on the blue line.

In 2010-2011, Nathan Lawson wore the number in net for the Isles. He played in just 10 games putting up an .893 save percentage and a 4.06 goals against average. He’d play just one more NHL game three years later with Ottawa.

In 2012-2013, Joe Finley wore the number 52 for 16 games with the Islanders. That was only seven years ago but I genuinely have no recollection of Finley with the Islanders. In those 16 games, he had one assist, 20 penalty minutes, and he averaged just under 12 minutes a night.

Last but certainly not least, and our winner for today is Ross Johnston. Johnston has never played more than 32 games in a season and his career-high in goals is three but that’s not his game. Johnston is a fighter and a pretty good one at that.

According to HockeyFights.com Ross Johnston has 13 fights in his 74 career games played in the NHL. As a six-foot-five 235 pound kid, it’s easy to see why that’s the role that he chooses to play in the NHL.

Ross The Boss is under contract for two more years at $1 million against the cap each year. If the Isles decide to move on from Matt Martin after the season due to cap constraints, it’s easy to assume that Johnston can fill that role.

Best Player To Wear 51. Next

For now, he’s a scratchpad player who occasionally comes in and gets bottom-six minutes when you need a little physical boost.

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