It may be early into the 2013 NHL season, but the New York Islanders’ Michael Grabner appears to be bouncing back after a disappointing 2011-12 campaign. Grabner has four goals and six points through eight games, and has provided second-line scoring for a team not expected to have many offensive threats after John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo.
The 2010-11 season was Grabner’s first with the Islanders, and he scored 34 goals and added 18 assists. This put him fourth on the team in scoring and made the Islanders think they had gotten quite a steal by claiming him off of waivers. He was unable to keep up his scoring pace last season, scoring just 20 goals and 32 points in New York. With P.A. Parenteau leaving for the Colorado Avalanche, the Islanders will need to make up for his scoring and Grabner so far seems up to the task. The Austrian winger has great speed, is a capable defender and reliable in special teams situations.
Originally a first round pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 2006, Grabner toiled in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose for three seasons, seeing just 20 games in Vancouver and only managing five goals and 11 points. He was traded to the Florida Panthers, but was unimpressive at training camp and was waived by the team. That’s when the Islanders stepped in, realizing they could use the speedy winger. So far, Grabner has proven to be a great pick-up for the team, and if he’s back to his 2010-11 form the Islanders may continue to make things tough for Eastern Conference opponents.