It's almost with hesitation that I bring up Jon Sim, he of the most letter-efficient name this side of Asia. Sim's not a remarkable NHLer -- not a very good one, in fact -- which means he's an automatic target for general fan rage on fourth-liners.
Whether it's Nate Thompson or Sim or any other "checking" bottom-six guy, I don't get too riled up about them until they're clearly blocking someone who's clearly better. And usually that's tough to gauge, since the minutes being used are not exactly the prime minutes you'd give to an upside prospect who fans typically want to see. For example, Sim usually got between 8 and 11 minutes last year, though he somehow was the Islanders' sixth-highest goal scorer.
This season the Islanders may finally have multiple candidates who fit that description (Martin, Joensuu, others), which lets the two-way nature of the deal they re-signed Sim to mitigate the surprise he's still around at all: If his veteran calm and agitator abilities are still needed, Scott Gordon's not afraid to deploy him. If his time has come, the organization has shown it's not afraid to make the hard decisions with him. As a veteran coming off a three-year, $3 million NHL deal down to a two-way contract, we know he'll be hungry.
Regardless, he's next on the alphabet, so his report card for 2009-10 comes now.
#16 / Left Wing / New York Islanders
Sep 29, 1977
Re-signed to 1-year, 2-way ($650k NHL, $105k AHL)
Preseason View: "Will they bring him back from Bridgeport banishment?"
As for what Sim does provide in the third/fourth-line role, much of that was covered in the post about his signing: He can check, draw more than his share of penalties from the opposition, and be an effective pest who can distract the league's shameless leeches from achieving their nefarious goals of making a given night about something other than hockey.
What he can't do is drive the play -- BenHasna showed him to be the least effective regular Isles forward by Corsi -- nor handle tough competition, so he shoudn't be seen as a checking line candidate in the sense of handling the opponent's best. Nope, this one is strictly energy/agitator.
|2009-10 - Jon Sim
That said, this post isn't about what he might provide if called upon next season. Rather, this is about how he performed in 2009-10, and how that measured up to the expectations you had for him entering the season. Personally, I thought even hitting 13 goals was a bonus. Meanwhile, BenHasna remarked how amazing it was that he managed only 3 assists before March 13.
Eleven seasons, eight teams
Now matching his longest tenure with any team:
If there were a Hall of Pests, would Sim enter
Wearing an Isles hat, or a Stars one?
Just two games in oh-seven-oh-eight
Forty-nine the next before Bridgeport banishment
Resurrection, last year a career-high seventy-seven.
For this year, we expect nothing
Except a continued trend: The unexpected.
If he mitigates Avery just once, maybe twice
His two-way paycheck will be earned.
Here's where you grade Sim's 2009-10 based on your preseason expectations -- so if you thought he was awful and he delivered exactly what you expected, your grade should actually be a 5, and not the 1 that you're dying to give him.