Chris Osgood spent just over one year with the New York Islanders, but in that season he was extremely productive.
The Islanders and a long-term answer in net is something the team has struggled with for decades it feels like. They’ve had good stopgaps along the way, Jaroslav Halak, Robin Lehner, and Kelly Hrudey are just a few names that come to mind when running through the laundry list of names since Billy Smith.
Another one of those stopgaps that can go forgotten from the early 2000s is Chris Osgood. In the late 90s, Osgood was the goalie for the back to back champion, Detroit Red Wings. But after they traded for Dominik Hasek before the 2001 season, Osgood became the odd man out.
Detroit wasn’t able to trade him so the Isles were able to scoop him up on waivers. For that 2001-2002 season, Osgood was excellent in net.
He finished the season with 65 starts (10th in the NHL), a .910 save percentage (17th in NHL), and a 2.50 goals against average (28th in the NHL). He provided stability for a team that had one of the worst goalie situations in the league the year prior.
Between John Vanbiesbrouck, Wayne Flaherty, Rick DiPietro, and Chris Terreri the Isles finished the 2000-2001 season with a .891 save percentage and a 3.15 goals against average. Of the three goalies who played over 20 games (Vanbiesbrouck, Flaherty, and DiPietro) none of them had a save percentage above .900 or a goals against average below 3.00.
So to get someone in there who could start 60+ games, and give you a .910 save percentage and a 2.50 goals against average was a massive upgrade for the Isles. Unfortunately, after a solid run in 01-02, it flamed out the following year.
In 2002-2003, Osgood’s save percentage and GAA dropped to a .894 and a 2.92 in 37 games. At the 2003 trade deadline, the Isles decided to flip Chris Osgood and a third for Justin Papineau and a second-rounder.
For the remainder of the season, the Isles rolled with Garth Snow and Rick DiPietro in net. The following season saw the Isles truly begin the DiPietro era when he started 50 games for the team including each of the five playoff games.
Even though Osgood was only here for two seasons, you have to remember him for his play in 2001-2002. He was a big reason for the Islanders breaking their seven-year playoff drought and for that, he’s remembered fondly on the Island.