Rare Islanders Air: Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey approach 400 games club

"I can't believe we've stuck around this long." "Speak for yourself." - Bruce Bennett

Not many forwards have heard their names called on draft day by the New York Islanders and later found themselves playing a 400th game in an Isles jersey. By season's end, the short list may grow by two.

If all goes according to plan for the Islanders, Josh Bailey will play his 400th regular season game in an Isles uniform before the 2013-14 season ends next month. And if Kyle Okposo continues to gut it out for the final 10 games this season, he too will hit the 400 games played mark.

Doing so will make Bailey and Okposo only the 16th and 17th forwards to ever be drafted by the Islanders and play 400 games with the club. Frans Nielsen accomplished the feat earlier this season.

The Islanders have drafted 456 players in their history, and of them, only 15 forwards have since played 400 games with the team that drafted them. That fact alone puts Bailey and Okposo in some exclusive company.

Here are those 15 forwards (along with Bailey and Okposo), with a few notes on how they performed during their Islanders career and draft position:

Player

Year

Drafted

Drafted

Overall

Games Played

w/ Islanders

PPG

Age At First

Game Played

Straight to NHL

From Juniors/NCAA?

Bryan Trottier 1974 22nd 1123 1.20 19 Yes
Bobby Nystrom 1972 33rd 900 .57 20 No
Clark Gillies 1974 4th 872 .76 20 Yes
Mike Bossy 1977 15th 752 1.50 21 Yes
Pat Flatley 1982 21st 712 .69 20 Yes
Brent Sutter 1980 17th 694 .88 19 Yes
Derek King 1985 13th 638 .78 19 Yes
Billy Harris 1972 1st 623 .71 21 Yes
Garry Howatt 1972 144th 596 .38 20 No
John Tonelli 1977 33rd 594 .92 21 No
Duane Sutter 1979 17th 547 .53 19 Yes
Lorne Henning 1972 17th 543 .34 20 No
Pat Lafontaine 1983 3rd 530 1.07 18 Yes
Frans Nielsen 2002 87th 437 .56 22 No
Greg Gilbert 1980 80th 425 .54 20 No
Josh Bailey 2008 9th 396 .42 19 Yes
Kyle Okposo 2006 7th 390 .65 19 No

The list includes four Hockey Hall of Fame inductees as well as a handful more Islanders Hall of Famers. The group also includes just three players drafted after 1985, and that's only if Bailey and Okposo find their way into it by season's end.

It's interesting to note that all but one of these players joined the Islanders before their 22nd birthday, with the lone geezer being Frans Nielsen (22). So in other words, ALL THESE GUYS WERE RUSHED!

There may be conclusions to be made from looking at this list, or as to why the list is so few in number. But at least today, I am not here to make conclusions. I'm here to congratulate Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo for making it to a milestone that very few drafted Islanders forwards have reached.

Enjoy it, boys. Because making it to 500 is an even tougher task.

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