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The Ones Who Walk Away From Nassau: Ex-Islanders Update

Some bits before the rundown: The Islanders are doing another Q&A with Garth Snow, who will answer questions live at 1 p.m. on Tuesday TODAY (sorry for the typo, live link here). ... Rob McGowan at The Hockey Writers has a one-on-one with Matt Moulson about the contract extension, including a fun chirp at his buddy and linemate John Tavares. Meanwhile, before the weekend in FanShots lostsin44 shared a cool write-up on Nino Niederreiter's adjustment to North America.

Now, the topic at hand: We haven't done one of these in a while, so here's a brief check-in with some of the recent Islanders who have flown away. This is focused mostly on last season's Islanders, but a few oddities from further back are worth noting, such as: Chris Simon is the KHL's most accurate shooter ... and Marc-Andre Bergeron made his Lightning debut yesterday with two assists, including on the 4-on-3 OT winner. Guy Boucher's praise of MAB's "sense of drama" made me guffaw.

Anyway, the superficial lesson you'll see after the jump: The Islanders castaway forwards from last year are all 30-point pace guys.

Richard Park

#18 / Geneve Servette



May 27, 1976

NHL Seasons: 12 (inc. 3 partial)

2008-09 Grade: 7.3 (2009-10 Grade here)

Richard Park's Geneva team coached by Chris McSorley has made the playoffs -- and here's a picture (and Google Translate article) of a quite ecstatic Park after scoring a winning goal against rival Fribourg. (Sounds like there are suggestions of financial troubles with the team though, which would be a shame.)

Maybe some of our Swiss friends at LHH can weigh in on how Park is doing, but I've always said that if your choice in your mid-30s is between a two-way deal (the rumored Isles offer) from a bottom five NHL team or a multi-year deal to play hockey for money in Switzerland, it's an easy choice.

Park's stats with Geneva Servette: 42 GP, 14-17-31, 14 PIM.

But you know who leads the team in scoring? Jeff freaking Toms. And Dan Fritsche and Brian Pothier are tied with Park at 31 points.


Sean Bergenheim

2010-11 (TBL) - Sean Bergenheim 52 8 11 19 -3 40 1 14:02 1:06 1:14 114 7.0

Among LHH regular commenters, our resident Dan Aykroyd (for this skit only) loves him; our resident Jane Curtain hates him. He is Sean Bergenheim, and he is doing the kind of job he's done most of his NHL career. Lightning fans sure appreciate him, and I suspect it's in part related to the clean slate of not having higher expectations dashed while watching him grow, and hold out. He's had the occasional shift with some of the Lightning stars, too, which never hurts.

For context, here's a look at how we evaluated and debated him in our report card last summer (before we knew the Islanders wouldn't qualify him). His current stats track closely to, if not a little short of, his last two seasons on Long Island.

I still view him as a solid mid-range NHLer, but if there were issues with the coach or GM over his role and playing time, I'm not losing sleep over his departure. I am a fan of depth -- better to keep your RFA assets and make something of them; but Bergenheim was reportedly dangled on the trade market without fetching bids. Harrumph. In any case, the Isles have bigger issues.


Nate Thompson

2010-11 - Nate Thompson 54 7 10 17 -8 19 0 1 14:57 2:41 83 8.4

Last year's mid-season waiver claim, Thompson just signed a two-year extension with the Lightning. So this Scott Gordon favorite and frequent Isles fan whipping boy is living well under Guy Boucher. Thompson is by far Boucher's most-used forward on the PK -- and he actually only trails two Lightning defensemen in PK TOI per game.


Tim Jackman

2010-11 - Tim Jackman 54 7 10 17 1 72 0 8:53 0:21 0:10 82 8.5

Tim Jackman has 17 points despite skating only 8:53 per game. Eight-fifty-three! It's pretty much all even-strength time, as part of Calgary's fourth line that we saw last month is pretty effective as far as fourth lines go. As mentioned back during that Flames-Isles meeting, Jackman is loved by coach Brent Sutter and teammates alike.

It may not ever get better than this for the hard-nosed, no-nonsense Jackman, but for those who watched the man and appreciated his effort and the adaption through which he won a job with the Isles, that's plenty deserved. The ever-younger NHL is not forgiving to infantrymen who toil at the fringes of NHL lineups, but here's hoping this season translates into more NHL contracts for Jackman.


Jeff Tambellini

2010-11 - Jeff Tambellini 38 9 8 17 11 18 1 13:04 1:41 73 82 11.0

Alright, unlike the other forwards, Tambellini's 17 points have come in fewer than the 50 or so games most regulars have tallied so far. Still, it's funky to see Bergenheim, Jackman, Thompson and Tambellini all have nearly identical offensive totals.

Tambellini, of course, has benefited from some top-six time in various periods with either the Sedins or Ryan Kessler. His role hasn't been stable -- he was even sent back to the AHL briefly early in the year -- but he's converted enough of those early opportunities to get some nice press.

Ah, but then there's this: He's a healthy scratch again, having logged just one assist in 15 games and making way for Cody Hodgson, the Canucks' pick from the Josh Bailey draft. Continuing a trend from his latter Islanders years, Tamby is still hitting. But when the numbers don't come, he gets put into that tweener limbo again.

He's basically putting up Rob Schremp production right now (37GP, 9-12-21) on a much stronger team, which depending on your own bias says something about him, or Schremp, or both.


Andy Sutton

GP G A P +/- PIM TOI PKtoi Blocks Hits SOG PCT
2010-11 - Andy Sutton 31 0 3 3 -5 55 15:19 2:39 73 53 24 0

Here's how awkward Sutton's season has been: He's not even near the Ducks' leaders in hits per game. He's still blocking shots though, and after an opening-night injury and poor early play landed him as fourth-line winger for a few games (including during the Isles-Ducks meeting), his play has settled down.

Still, the Ducks signed him for two years and perhaps they'll get a better season out of him next year -- a condition that is sadly familiar and, I suspect, a reason the Isles didn't bring him back. We talk about "injury-prone" being an unfair label for any player, but there is something to being burned by it repeatedly that makes you gun-shy. Personally, I've always seen Sutton as a very nice player to have when everything is going right (health, form, role), but the caveat is that everything rarely goes right for consecutive seasons. I wouldn't be surprised if last season was Sutton's peak performance, which is why I wasn't betting on an encore.

Still: Watch him prove this non-expert wrong next season.


Brendan Witt

As an Islanders fan I loved Brendan Witt for all of his "warrior"-ing and SUV-defying beastliness. Which made it all the harder for me to spend much of the early life of this website recording his decline. Giving him the fan's benefit of the doubt, I spent much of that time wondering if his quite evident inability to keep up were due to him playing through injury so many times.

He doesn't appear to be playing hockey this year. You tell me whether that's because of another person, or because of natural causes that eventually hit every NHL player.


Martin Biron

2010 - Martin Biron 16 869 8 5 .926 30 2.07 391 361 .923 0

Martin Biron plays for The Other Side now, so he is dead to me.

No, seriously: Biron has rebounded nicely and provided the Rangers the backup stability they sought, which he was never able to put together in an awkward three-goalie year with the Isles. That's no small accomplishment when playing under John Tortorella, who isn't shy about blaming even his franchise goalie for bad times.

Biron's even-strength save percentage of .926 is just three tics below Henrik Lundqvist's (.929), but here's an oddity of small samples: While Lundqvist's PK save percentage is .874, Biron's is .926 in 16 games. That is the kind of number that can change dramatically with one poor night by your PK unit. But it's interesting anyway. Biron's PK Sv% last season was .833 in 29 games, worse than both Dwayne Roloson's and Rick DiPietro's.

Again, I caution that a goalie's special teams save percentages have been found not to be predictably sustainable over time, so don't read too much into them. However, they are reflections of what has actually happened. And in this case, what has actually happened is what this post is all about.