(I've seen something like this somewhere else, but I don't think I've seen one for the Islanders, here or otherwise. Apologies if this has been done already.)
Using a combination of Hockey Reference and the 2007-08 Islander Media Guide (can anyone find a newer one), I've compiled a list of my favorite players for each jersey number ever donned by an Islander. Not necessarily who I think was the best to ever wear the number, though that is often the case, but who I have the best memories of. Since I'm just closing in on 35, I really only start remembering guys in the early 80s (which is a pretty good time to start). I also have included players I don't love when they were the only choice. They win by default. Sometimes I couldn't pick a "winner" among the losers at some numbers. I'll leave those for you to sort out.
Because both lists are incomplete I've probably missed some. And since all of this is subjective, I'd love to hear your opinions. For example, you might think of Rich Pilon as #2 while i think 47. Or you might have had an unhealthy affection for Dick Tarnstrom.
So check out my picks after the jump.
1-Woulda, coulda, shoulda been Roberto Luongo, but I'll go with the best of all the backups to wear it over the years, Chico.
2-I was too young to remember Gerry Hart, though I heard he was a heck of a player. Gord Dineen was good, but always hurt, so I'll go with one of the few current bright spots in Streit.
3-Although like Dineen, he seemed to be bit by the injury bug pretty often, as a kid I loved watching the smooth skating of Tomas Jonsson. His end to end rushes could be special.
4-A boatload of journeymen defensemen here, but I usually think of big Uwe and the last time the Islanders made a playoff run.
5-The easiest of all, not just because he's a HOFer, but Denis was my absolute favorite to watch for his all-around dominance.
6-Even though it was fun to go to games and call Wayne McBean McIdiot, six will always be Kenny Morrow to me.
7-I'm hoping this doesn't become a list of just glory years players, but Stefan Persson was too talented to pass up here.
8-Again, too young to remember much of Howatt, so I'll go with the similarly agitating Steve Webb.
9-Clark Bar. Absurd they let Chyzowski ever wear it.
10-Pretty slim pickings, but I always respected the effort and leadership of Richard Park. I think he was missed sorely during that 14 game slide.
11-In some ways hard to pass on the solid but inconsistent Randy Wood, but Darius Kasparitis was far too fun to watch on a nightly basis.
12-A tough one between the barking of Mad Dog and the mighty fists of Mick Vukota. I'll give the nod to Vukota for the Rangers playoff slaughter. Hopefully someday we'll just think of Josh.
13-A short list to choose from. I loved Claude Lapointe's game, so an easy one for me.
14-I imagine some younger fans might go for the moustached one, and Tommy Fitzgerald was great, but anyone who saw Bobby Bourne skate has no problem with fourteen.
15-No memories of Billy Harris, so I have to go with Brad Dalgarno who was a good leader on that 93 team.
17-Generally pretty ugly. Greg Gilbert was usually hurt. Bates had his good moments, but also plenty of bad ones. I'm currently very fond of Matt Martin's game, enough so to give him the nod.
18-I'll go with Eddie, though I only remember him as an announcer. Playerwise, Marty McInnis always put in a good effort.
19-Another gimme with Trotts.
20-Since he gave the Isles their best moment in the last 20 years, Chicken Parm Ray Ferraro.
21-The Polish Prince had a good run, and KO has promise, but the always steady Brent Sutter set a high bar for 21.
22-Only one Boss.
23-He was DEFINITELY onside!
25-Perhaps this will belong to El Nino, but for now it's the other half of the Isles best moment of the last 20 years, the often frustrating David Volek.
26-No one worked harder than Flats.
27-Even though Kinger had a 40 goal year, the first JT had a money moustache.
28-Hard to get excited by anyone here, which is odd for such a well-used number. A lot of ok, but generally uninspiring players. I actually had forgotten Darren Van Impe had a brief stint on the Island (apparently we also originally drafted him). I did generally appreciate Tom Kurver's steady play, so I'll go with him.
29-Kenny Jonsson, you were taken too soon.
30-Kelly Hrudey and his cheesy headbands.
31-Kind of awesome Smitty will be the only one to have worn it.
32-Stevie T was impossible not to love.
33-Cairns was one mean dude, but in a lot of ways Benoit Hogue really put that 93 team over the top.
34-Another uninspiring list, but I always had an inordinate affection for energetic Rob DiMaio.
36-Did you know Brad Dalgarno wore four different numbers with the Islanders? Me neither. Even though it hasn't been 20 games yet, this one belongs to Hamonic.
37-Although he was part of the worst trade ever, could always count on Parry to snipe from the wing.
38-Dave Scatchard was a nice role player. Unfortunately it was on a team of role players.
39-DP? I guess? Hubie McDonough did have that big goal against the Rags in the playoffs.
40-Didn't even know three of the five guys here. Guess we'll go with the fast feet and slow hands of Grabner.
41-Starting to regret this post. Raymond Giroux or Derek Bekar? I'll let you guys pick one!
42-Shawn Byram or Dylan Reese? See 41.
43-I'll go with the 2009 version of A-Mac.
44-I really wanted Janne Niinimaa to be good. And maybe keeping him would have kept Todd Bertuzzi out of the courtroom. Oh well. I guess I'll roll with The Fourth since he actually exceeded the low, low expectations I had for him.
45-Arron Asham, another great role player on a team full of them.
46-Matt Martin again?
47-Maybe someday it will be A-Mac's, but for now it's the uber-tough Rich Pilon.
50-Unfortunately Scott Scissons has made this list. It is now ruined.
51-Anders Myrvold. Just kidding Dom. Thank God for the Danish Backhand of Judgement.
52-I feel like I should start leaving some of these out. Hooray for Nathan Lawson!
53-Apparently Chara wore this for a bit, so there you go.
54-I'm close to giving up. Rob Collins and Kurtis McLean.
55-Thank you Jason Blake!
56-The potential of Dustin Kohn.
57-Get going again Blake Comeau and make this yours!
58-Bill Berg wore three numbers for the Isles and was pretty solid. Shouldn't be hard for JJ to take this one.
59-Glad I could work Tommy Fitz in after all!
60-Ray Schultz or Frederic Cloutier? Double ugh.
61-No crappy players to choose from-hooray!
62-I won't hold all of Olli Jokinen's non-Islander success against him.
63-See 41 for Cole Jarrett or Josef Vasicek.
64-Only choice Sven Butenschon.
67-See 41. Mike Kennedy or Sean Bentivoglio.
71-Apparently Dennis Vaske wore this for a time.
72-I hate Ron Hextall so I'm going Mathieu Schneider.
75-Hurts so bad, but only Bret Lindros wore it.
77-Pierre. Damn you Washington-Capital-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!
79-Worst one yet, Carol Alt's cuckold.
80-Kevin Weekes alone.
81-Could it be ... Satan?
89-Mike Comrie. How 'bout that?
91-Loved Butchie, but I now worship at the altar of Jesus Tavares.