What Happened to the 92-93 Islanders?

Truthfully it doesn't feel like the Islanders' magical 92-93 playoff run was nearly 20 years ago. It was the first season I started watching the Islanders and probably the most fun I had watching them 'till this last season. It was somewhat amazing how quickly the team was dismantled following this run.

In 93-94 the Isles just barely made the playoffs, beating out the first year expansion Florida Panthers by a point for the right to be destroyed by the Rangers. In the strike-shortened season the Islanders finished ahead of only the Ottawa Senators. To highlight how quickly and badly the team had fallen, they managed only 7 more wins in 95-96 than they did during the strike shortened year.

The two biggest moves didn't even involve anyone on the ice: Bill Torrey was the obvious architect of the '93 team despite being forced out just the year before. Add Al Arbour's retirement following the 93-94 season and the Islanders lost two Hall of Famers. It isn't surprising that Torrey turned the Panthers into a Cup finalist in only three years, as he grabbed some character players the Islanders couldn't protect. You really can't say anything about Arbour that hasn't been said before. After he left, the Islanders Head Coaching position became a constant rotating door, with no one lasting more then two years until Scott Gordon.

But when it comes to the on ice players, it's amazing how quickly players from the Islanders playoff run were scattered throughout the league. For this list I'm mainly sticking to players who produced for the Islanders' 93 run and played a good amount of the playoff games.

Glenn Healy: The hero of the run, he quickly became a dagger in the heart of Islander fans as he became the long-term backup to Mike Richter for the Rangers. An infamously repeated story says after the Lightning claimed him in the expansion draft they were prepared to trade him back to the Islanders, but GM Maloney kept Lightning GM Esposito on hold for so long he became enraged and dealt him to the Rangers.

Ray Ferraro: If anyone took the ball and ran with it in the '93 playoffs it was the big ball of hate. Following a season of 46 GP and 27 Points, Ferraro put up 20 points in 18 playoff games. including the assist on the series-winning David Volek goal in Game 7. He left as a free agent in '95, signing with the New York Rangers.

Steve Thomas: He found himself traded on the eve of the '95 season in a three-way deal that sent Wendel Clark to the Islanders. During his four seasons on the Island he had three 70+ point seasons, with the exception being the strike shortened year. During the '93 playoff run he put up 17 points in 18 games.

Derek King: A former first round pick, King had a solid career as an Islander. King put up 14 points in 18 playoff games in '93, but went on a bit of a career slump in '95 and 95-96. In his contract year of 96-97 he put up 50 points and was dealt for a 7th round pick.

Pierre Turgeon: Since we all know this one, the short explanation is he was dealt in April of '95 for an eternally disgruntled Kirk Muller.

Benoit Hogue: In 3 full seasons with the Isles Benoit put up 75, 75 and 69 points. He struggled during the strike shortened season and was traded in April of '95 for prospect Eric Fichaud. Although he had some good seasons following the trade, he never did return to his Islanders form.

Vladimir Malakhov: The former 10th-round pick was traded away in the Turgeon deal. Although his two best seasons were with the Islanders, he was still a solid defenseman for the Canadians and Rangers in his later years.

Patrick Flatley: The long serving Islanders captain was bought out of his contract following the 95-96 season. His veteran leadership was sorely missed on a young Islanders team. To make matters worse, he signed with the Rangers for his final NHL season. Flatley played 245 games as Islander captain; since he left only Micheal Peca has come close playing 222 games as captain.

Tom Fitzgerald: This ended up being Fitzgerald's one full season on the Island. He was claimed in the expansion draft by the Panthers. Ironically Fitzgerald was traded to the Avalanche a few years later for Mark Parrish. It's the Islanders circle of life.

Uwe Krupp: The lovable defenseman was traded during the '94 draft in order for Maloney to move up and draft Brett Lindros (we also got Ron Sutter, who lasted 27 games). Although a bit older, he put together some solid seasons for the Avs and scored the Cup-winning goal in overtime in 95-96.

Darius Kasparaitis: One of the guys without whom the Islanders probably lose Game 7 against the Pens, Kaspar's huge hits are legendary. In November of '96 he was traded to those same Penguins for Bryan Smolinski. Yet another player who finished his years playing for the Rangers.

David Volek: The hero of Game 7, a herniated disc the following year forced him to retire. He was another Round Ten diamond in the rough on the team.

Travis Green: Green went from being either the third or fourth line center up to playing major minutes on the second line during the series. He did alright and had the best years of his career on the Island. Ended up being traded for scraps in Feb, of '98.

Rich Pilon: If you ever watch the video of Dale Hunter's cheap shot, Pilon is the human cannonball that comes flying into the screen after the hit. Although he lasted with the Islanders till '99 he was always injured and if memory serves me right he was waived to make room for Eric Cairns. The Rangers claimed him off of waivers.

Mick Vukota: The Islanders career leader in Penalty Minutes, he found his one-dimensional play less popular following the change in GM. He played 96-97 on the Isles but only for 17 games. He played with the Lightning and the Habs for a season before playing in the IHL and then retiring.

Mark Fitzpatrick: A solid backup, he actually split starts during the season with Healy. The Islanders tried to replace Healy and sent Fitzpatrick to the Nordiques for Hextall. He was then picked in the expansion draft by the Panthers.

There's two interesting trends here. First that the Rangers appeared to at one point or another signed almost every player who was part of the '93 Playoff run. Secondly, by the time the Islanders were going into the 95-96 season almost every important piece from the 1993 playoff run was gone. It's no surprise then that the 95-96 team was one of the all-time worst Islanders teams. They gave up the 3rd most goals against in team history, had the third worst point total and the third highest amount of losses.

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