It’s been a quiet time for the New York Islanders, with the lack of signings at this point in August. While I love diving deep into rumors and trying to armchair GM, today I decided to take a trip down memory lane.
What I wanted to do was look at some of the best one-year stints in Islanders’ history. No, I’m not talking about a guy who had like one randomly good year for the team (ie. Trent Hunter in 2003-2004) and then was just okay.
We’re talking about one season spent on the Island, and their impact on the team. Here’s my list of the six best (in no particular order):
Thomas Vanek – 2013-2014
The Islanders traded fan-favorite Matt Moulson in hopes of finding that elusive scorer for John Tavares. While Vanek’s time on Long Island was short-lived, just 47 games, he put up some very solid numbers over that time.
He had 44 points (17 goals, 27 assists) playing with Tavares and Kyle Okposo. The Islanders offered him an extension, he just had no interest in moving with the team to Brooklyn.
Robin Lehner – 2018-2019
A fan favorite if there ever was one. Lou Lamoriello took a chance on Robin Lehner after the Sabres decided to let him test free agency in 2018. Lehner was very open about his addiction and mental health during his time here and was a shoo-in for the Masterton Trophy.
While his impact off the ice was great, on the ice he was just as good. He went 25-13-5 with a .930 save percentage and a 2.13 goals against average. Lamoriello decided to let him walk at the end of the year, but he is one of the more beloved post-dynasty era Islanders despite his short time here.
Victor Kozlov – 2006-2007
Before the 2006 season, it appeared that Kozlov’s best days were behind him. Yes, he once put up 70 points in Florida but coming off a 25 point season in New Jersey those days seemed to be over. Well, in his lone season on the Island he was reborn.
The Isles surprised people and ended up making the playoffs that year, and a part of it was due to this impressive season. Kozlov had a career-high 25 goals to go along with 51 points.
Ryan Smyth – 2006-2007
Speaking of 2006-2007, the addition of Ryan Smyth was a big help to this team. He spent the first 11.5 years of his career with Edmonton before being traded to Long Island. Garth Snow swooped in for him and in 18 games, Smyth had 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists).
He played 22:26 a night down the stretch (that’s some defensemen like numbers) and was even pretty solid in the playoffs with four points in five games. He’d move on to Colorado after the season.
Wendel Clark – 1995-1996
24 goals in 58 games. It was only a short time, but Clark was a very good Islander on a not-so-good Islanders team. The Isles shipped him back to Toronto and in return received Sean Haggerty, Darby Hendrickson, Kenny Jonsson, and a 1997 1st Round Pick which turned into Roberto Luongo.
Brad Boyes – 2012-2013
This was a really nice find from Garth Snow before the 2012 season. In the shortened season the Islanders ended up making the playoffs and got excellent production from Brad Boyes in the process.
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He had 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists) and added three more assists in the playoffs. He’d leave after the season to play for Florida for a couple of years.