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Grading the Islanders: Freddy Meyer IV, question mark

Freddy Meyer IV will turn 29 in January and has played 202 NHL games, 84 of them in the last two seasons. Late bloomer? (It's a modest "bloom," but...). Undersized and injury-prone? Just an undrafted U.S. Development Team and BU product who keeps keeping on with dogged determination? All of the above?

Admittedly, the scope is limited, but It's tough to know what to make or what to expect of The Fourth, as his career has not followed a straight line. You can see why Philadelphia had him pegged as an offensive defenseman. You can see why he was waived twice in one season. When he delivers a surprisingly big hit with his small frame, you know why teams are intrigued. When he goes through a dry spell or gets hurt, you know why teams see him as a movable depth piece.

After the jump, more fodder and stats for you to consider when issuing your grade. In comments, consider Meyer and where he fits on the blueline. (I know we've gone over the blueline a lot recently, but now's a good time for you lurkers to say your piece, too.) If healthy, does he go right back to a pairing with Brendan Witt?

Freddy Meyer

#44 / Defenseman / New York Islanders



Jan 04, 1981

Call it 4 (1GP in 03-04)

1 more year at $587,500

Swear we won't waive you this time. Honest.

2008-09 Freddy Meyer 27 4 5 9 -19 14 0 71 57 20:59 3:31 36

Random Fact: If you're into the new math, Meyer had the second-worst 5-on-5 rating on the team, behind only Brendan Witt, his most frequent partner. BUT: His quality of competition at 5-on-5 was second-highest (behind Witt again), and his quality of teammates was above only Witt and Martinek. Did he and Witt bring each other down? Chicken or egg? Or communal suckitude? Or small sample of 27 games, most of which came when the Islanders were at their collective worst?

"This is our concern, Dude" Fact: He went to Germany for the latest, most advanced form of hernia surgery going into last season. But then Jan. 5 was his last game, thanks to a groin injury. Are his injuries over? Are any Islanders' injuries over?

The Story: It's been a crazy ride for Meyer since coming over from Philly in the Zhitnik dump in December 2006. (And please don't pretend that Snow could have gotten Brayden Coburn at that time, well before Don Waddell's desperate playoff push.) He was liked, then squeezed out and claimed by Phoenix on waivers thanks to Bryan Berard's presence, then claimed back a month later in time to rear his newborn on Long Island.

Finally settled and given a two-year, near-minimum contract, the injuries promptly set in.

The Good: Last season at least, he was a strong penalty killer, with bonus occasional offensive punch.

The Bad: There is a place in an NHL lineup for Freddy Meyer, but can Freddy Meyer stay health enough to keep that place?

The Song: 'Let's Help Each Other'

We're sorry that we waived you
We really hope you understand
But this blueline, see, it's crazy
Health and talent undermanned

If you would kindly nurse your groin back
The way you did that other thing
We'll put you back in the lineup
For the mobility you bring

We don't pay much but we play you
Even put "IV" behind your name
It ain't much but it's something
A chance to play the big-league game

The Grade: Meh. It was just 27 games, but it was nearly 21 minutes per. It was also during the Islanders' worst half of the season. Part of the problem or part of the solution? Or part of the solution in a lesser role, if they would only replace other parts of the problem? You tell me.