Islanders Report Card: Keith Aucoin, successful rent-a-waiver?

Get his photo while he's here... - Marianne Helm

Keith Aucoin did not expect to be a New York Islander. But a happy surprise gave him the longest NHL stint of his career at age 34.

So you're Keith Aucoin. You light up the AHL. You played 38 games with the Hurricanes in 2007-08, then spent the next four seasons virtually buried in the Capitals organization until Dale Hunter (of all people) gave you another shot.

Buoyed by the opportunity -- and with Hunter quitting as quickly as he arrived -- you sign with Toronto because they are so shallow at center that Tyler Bozak thinks he can get an eight-year contract.

Then the lockout happens and you hit waivers, where you're claimed by the only team that comes close to matching the Maple Leafs' playoff drought.

Aucoin ended up having a good season at age 34. His 41 games were a career high despite it being a lockout year. His 12 points are one short of a career high despite him playing on checking lines and getting little power play time.

There was a mid-season stretch of scratches in early March as the Isles worked David Ullstrom back into the lineup, among others. But Aucoin functioned pretty well in a bottom six role, flashed the skill that has made him a prolific AHL scorer, and combined for some big goals. Of course, the more physical Colin McDonald is the bottom sixer who got the contract extension.

Aucoin, in contrast, appears headed to free agency.

A look at some of his numbers:

5-on-5
EV TOI/Gm Rank OZ % Rank
12:29
8th (F)
48.0 9th-F
Totals Shooting
Goals-Assists-Pts PIM Shots Sh%
6-6-12 4 50 12%
Power Play Penalty Kill
PP TOI/Gm TOI Rank Pts. PK TOI/Gm Rank
0:52
7th (F)
1 0:02 n/a
Penalty Plus/Minus Is it Luck?
Taken Drawn On-Ice Sht% On-Ice Sv% PDO
0.3 0.9 7.39 .914 988

Data above taken from NHL.com and Behind The Net. Linked categories will take you to relevant pages where you can find the rest of the data in context.

Given his role, Aucoin doesn't stand out much and probably didn't catch fans' attention the way he does in the AHL. But little things about his play hint at a longtime veteran with talent and hockey intelligence.

He doesn't take penalties but draws his share. He doesn't get much offensive zone ice time but generates his share of shots. And he can take faceoffs, taking 344 (though his 48.6% was behind John Tavares, Casey Cizikas and Marty Reasoner).

Basically, Aucoin has the look of a player who can keep your bottom six pointing the right way, even if the 5'10 forward doesn't possess the physical game people typically expect from a player on the third or fourth line.

It's understandable that the Isles or another team would look for someone sexier, someone younger with theoretically untapped potential. But Aucoin can serve a role that helps a team. If another GM realizes that, he should add to his still-paltry 143 NHL games played.

For our annual report card exercise we ask two questions of our readers about pending free agents: How well did he meet your expectations in 2013, and under what (if any) conditions would you bring him back?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Lighthouse Hockey

You must be a member of Lighthouse Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Lighthouse Hockey. You should read them.

Join Lighthouse Hockey

You must be a member of Lighthouse Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Lighthouse Hockey. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker