NHL Fastest Skater, 2011
Michael Grabner always had wheels; they were always on display from the day the Islanders selected him off waivers from the Florida Panthers. While he reached the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks, his rookie season was with the Islanders, scoring 34 goals and 52 points, to lead all first-year players and the Islanders in goals. He was a Calder Trophy finalist in 2011.
In 2011, he wasn't an NHL All-Star but did compete on behalf of "Team Staal" in the skills competition In a head-to-head matchup with Edmonton's Taylor Hall, Grabner bested him 14.061 seconds to 14.261, but as both finished with the top time on their teams, they matched up again in the final, and again Grabner came out on top, this time. 14.238 seconds to 14.715
"I never practiced it or worked on it … I guess it's just natural," Grabner told NHL.com. "It's not a skill everyone has, so I'm lucky, I guess. I was hoping I would be in the event. That's what my game is based on -- speed. So I was excited when heard I was in the event."
"My legs were a little tired. I just didn't care, said Grabner I thought, 'OK, one more lap and I'm done for the day.' It was great to be a part of it and being out there with these guys, though."