Who hasn't seen the classic stop motion puppet (s/t Nystrom) Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer? If you really haven't, then shame on you and watch it this upcoming Christmas season. To make things short, the Island of Misfit Toys is an Island for toys that don't fit in. There's a Charlie-In-A-Box which is a Jack in the Box with the wrong name, a spotted elephant, a bird toy that swims, a cowboy riding an ostrich among others. Rudolph ends up returning to the Island to pick up the toys with Santa and delivering them to kids on Christmas.
What does all this have to do with the Islanders? In Fanshots Anarcut mentions that PA Parenteau is leading the team in assists right now. That got me thinking about how many of Garth Snows FA signings and waiver wire pickups have been making good contributions to the team. It's pretty obvious that one of the reasons for the Islanders quick turn around has to be Garth's ability to bring in high quality low price players.
The New Toys
Previous NHL teams: Pittsburgh Penguins (Draftee) Los Angeles Kings (UFA)
Reason for moving on: Considered the type of player who could score in the AHL but not the NHL, despite not getting much work outside of the bottom two lines in LA.
Since coming to the Isles: First 30 goal scorer for the Isles in years.
Previous NHL teams: Anaheim Ducks (Draftee) Chicago Blackhawks (Trade) New York Rangers (Trade)
Reason For Moving on: Considered an AHL talent and one way player. The Rangers used him in some games as just a Shootout specialist.
Since coming to the Isles: 6 points in 6 games puts him 2 points behind his career high of 8 in 22 games last year.
Previous NHL teams: Vancouver Canucks (Draftee) Florida Panthers (Trade)
Reason for moving on: Truthfully I'm hard pressed to explain why the Panthers waived him
Since coming to the Isles: Grabner had 11 points in 20 games last year for the Canucks, and hasn't looked out of place in the NHL yet.
Previous NHL teams: Edmonton Oilers
Reason for moving on: Google Rob Schremp and Oilers and you'll find enough venom to fill a 10 gallon bucket.
Since coming to the Isles: He had one of the goals of the year last year, was key in shootout wins and proved why he was a former first rounder.
Previous NHL teams: Chicago Blackhawks (Draftee) Anaheim Ducks (Trade)
Reason for moving on: Was considered expensive and a bit of a loose cannon for the Ducks. Interestingly the Ducks replaced him with former Islander Andy Sutton.
Since coming to the Isles: Made national news for mocking Sean Avery, which is more then enough to put a smile on any Islander fans face.
The Old Toys
Previous NHL teams: Montreal Canadiens
Reason for moving on: The Habs wanted to convert him to a winger and use him as a pointman on the PP.
Since coming to the Isles: He has pretty much proven that he can be a solid #1 pairing dman with the Isles. In his first season he finished +4 on a team that finished -100 in goal differential.
Previous NHL teams: New York Rangers (Draft) Calgary Flames (Trade) Anaheim Ducks (UFA) New Jersey Devils (UFA)
Reason for moving on: The Devils couldn't fit him under the cap
Since coming to the Isles: Along with Mark Eaton has proven to be a vetrean calming influence on the Isles Defense.
Previous NHL teams: Flyers (UFA) Nashville Predators (Trade) Pittsburgh Penguins (UFA)
Reason for moving on: The Pens got younger and better on D
Since coming to the Isles: Along with Mike Mottau, Eaton has been a leader on the D. Which is amazing since last season Mottau looked then Freddy Meyer while playing on a better team.
Previous NHL teams: Calgary Flames (UFA) Buffalo Sabres (UFA) Columbus Bluejackets (Expansion) St Louis Blues (UFA) Minnesota Wild (UFA) Edmonton Oilers (Trade)
Reason for moving on: The Oilers and the rest of the NHL decided not to give the 39 year old a 2 year contract.
Since coming to the Isles: Won the starting job in his first season on Long Island, and is the steadiest player in the crease since before DiP's infamous all star game.
Previous NHL teams: Dallas Stars (Draftee) Nashville Predators (Trade) Los Angeles Kings (Waivers) Pittsburgh Penguins (Waivers) Phoenix Coyotes (UFA) Philly Flyers (UFA) Florida Panthers (Trade) Atlanta Thrashers (UFA)
Reason for moving on: Jon Sim was originally drafted as a scoring forward. In the OHL he had 312 points in 211 games. In the IHL he had 110 Points in 142 games and in the AHL he has 162 points in 164 games. But at 5'10 and listed under 200 pounds he never turned into a scoring forward in the NHL. Instead he turned himself into a grinder and a pest who is one of the best in the league at scoring penalties. He can also grind out some gritty goals over the course of the season.
Since coming to the Isles: Originally part of the bad core and punished with a trip down to Bridgeport in his first season, Sim has become a stable force on the bottom six for the Isles. This season while facing the reality that he might start the season in the AHL, he was impressive enough at camp to win his old job back.
That's 10 Misfits who have found their way to the Island, congrats to Garth Snow and signing these guys.