A week with five days between games is the time to announce news that would otherwise be buried: The Islanders extending Tim Jackman is a no-brainer for both sides.
Jackman, 27, is finding an opportunity to play a regular role like he's found nowhere else (in the NHL) before. And the Islanders have found a reliable checking forward who also allows Scott Gordon to frequently dress an enforcer-free lineup. Gordon (via Garth Snow) upset fight fans last summer by declaring that the Islanders didn't need a full-time fighter on the roster. Jackman's agility and willingness to drop the gloves enables that.
He has already established new career-highs in games played, goals, points, penalty minutes and shots this season. ... Jackman (6-4, 210 lbs.) has played in 125 career NHL games and has scored six goals with seven assists for 13 points and 237 penalty minutes. He has played in 93 games as a member of the Islanders and has scored five goals and five assists for 10 points during the course of his two seasons with the club.
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I don't know if Jackman ever envisioned himself as a go-to fighter in an NHL lineup (seems like players never do until it's their last route to making it). But the big North Dakotan has impressed fans and staff alike by his willingness to do whatever is needed, while staying responsible in his own end.
Islanders TV color man Billy Jaffe recently said on the air that "no one does more with just 11 minutes of ice time," and in a sense that is true. I routinely look at the Islanders' post-game stats and am surprised to see Jackman with so few minutes -- because he makes his presence felt every game.
On top of that, on his rare opportunities he has flashed a little bit of the hands that defensive-oriented forwards occasionally surprise you with -- reminding you that no one makes it to the NHL without having some puck skills, Steve Webb excluded.
It's probably a sad statement about the Islanders that a former mid-'00s era Blue Jacket, Coyote and King has finally found a regular role with the club. His +/- is certainly not pretty and his Corsi numbers are no better (consider his teammates, though).
But I prefer to look at the improvement he's made in his game to go from AHLer early this season (6 goals in 12 games) to a guy Gordon trusts at the NHL level. Gordon is fairly demanding of players' mobility -- the major reason pure enforcers get 3-4 minutes from him (when they're dressed at all). The fact that Gordon gives Jackman a fairly regular shift means Jackman has found a job to focus on, and Gordon trusts him to do it.
Now, in an ideal world your team has enough depth so that it has no room for a guy like Jackman. But the Islanders haven't been there in years and won't be there for at least a couple more, so it's nice to have a big guy like him who brings the physical element and can actually skate. Unlike so many enforcers, he doesn't wander around out there and remind you of an oil tanker trying to pull a 180.