As many ponder the fact of whether or not the New York Islanders were a fluke in the playoffs this year, it’s pretty clear that the answer is no. This is a team with a solid core group of offensive talent, some young prospects coming up on the blue line, all adding up to a bright future.
One of those young players is Michael Grabner. Already locked up on a pretty favorable deal for the next few seasons, Grabner has gone from waiver wire pick up to key piece for this club. As the Islanders head into the future, it’s obvious that Grabner will play a large role in it.
During this lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, Grabner had a solid year, particularly in the goal scoring department. Despite the fact that it was a short season, Grabner definitely saw a rebound from a disappointing 2011-12 season in which he only managed 32 points, 20 of which were goals.
His totals in the 48-game season, 45 of which he appeared in, included 16 goals and five assists. He easily could have gotten back to the 50-point type numbers he had put up in his first season with the Isles two years ago. His play goes beyond what he does at even strength as well.
Grabner is not only a top goal scorer for this club, ranking second on the team in goals behind only John Tavares, but he is one of their key penalty killers as well. His ability to generate turnovers has been used on the penalty kill, with one of Grabner’s goal coming while a man down.
Obviously, the biggest asset for Grabner is his exceptional speed. He could very well win in a foot race with any other player in the league. That makes him a dangerous player in more ways than one. Regardless of what line he plays on, or what situation he’s in, he’s a threat to grab the puck and fly up the ice.
Next season, Grabner could see a return to the 30-goal scoring ways that we saw in 2010-11, his first with the club. He’s a big time threat for this club, and just one reason why they have a bright future ahead of them.