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Ones Who Walk Away: Ex-Islanders, Where are they now?

You have just been leveled by Jack Hillen.
You have just been leveled by Jack Hillen.

The New York Islanders really didn't have a whole lot of roster turnover over the summer, but we dug up enough names from the past to capture how some ex-Isles (and Isles prospects) are faring in 2011-12. It's not a comprehensive list, but it's enough to take you back to those halcyon days when Michael Grabner scored on breakaways and Micheal Haley cured world hunger.

We'll start by trolling our readers on a spiritual leader from 2010-11 who fought a lot (sometimes even for a reason), took a lot of faceoffs, and changed the goal song:

Live Is Life

#28 / Center / Ottawa Senators



Jan 02, 1981
Known Rabbits: Hoppy

Zenon Konopka spent most of February as a healthy scratch. His side businesses and charitable efforts are getting attention though, and when he has been in the lineup he's been as advertised: 59% on faceoffs (359 draws so far), and 18 fighting majors. As anyone who thinks signing Marty Reasoner was wrong will tell me, Cousin Konopka has three goals for the Sens and Cousin Reasoner has none.

In the 52 games Konopka has skated, it's been for about 7:45 per game. Same as it ever was, Konopka knows his role and sticks to it.

Jack Hillen

#38 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators



Jan 24, 1986

Fears: Ovechkin pucks, holding penalties

Hillen was added as mobile depth for Nashville's young defensive corps, so he's actually been a frequent scratch appearing in fewer games than Konopka. When he has skated he's been what they were looking for. A modest 13:45 per game (0:51 on the PK) against the weakest competition, but he's managed well with a positive Corsi in those light assignments.

2011-12 - Jack Hillen 49 2 4 6 6 18 0 0 0 13:45 45 4.4%

Here's the former college free agent signing doing one of his familiar cuts to score a nice goal:

Chef Bruno

#27 / Defenseman / Tampa Bay Lightning



Oct 03, 1984
Motto: Cheffin' ain't easy.

2011-12 - Bruno Gervais 44 4 5 9 -3 8 1 0 0 14:14 52 7.7%

Playing in even fewer games still, Bruno Gervais was deemed not to be of adequate average qualities so Steve Yzerman added several more average defensemen at the NHL trade deadline.

Seriously, with injuries hitting the Lightning Gervais has been a regular lately, playing 14 games in February and riding the Lightning's rebound back into the playoff bubble.

Plus, the Bolts are now the best-fed team in the Southeast.


#2 / Defenseman / Columbus Blue Jackets



Aug 31, 1976

Favorite Band: Smithereens

It's criminal really, Radek Martinek's luck. He had one of his healthier seasons in his final year as an Islander (though the performance was not to his previous standard) but suffered a concussion at the World Championship that was almost a final omen not to re-sign him.

Sure enough, he joined the Blue Jackets just in time for their Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year. Worse, he had another concussion just seven games in and hasn't played since.

What did this man do to deserve such bad breaks?

March Blake Comeau, Master of COZO

#10 / Left Wing / Calgary Flames



Feb 18, 1986

Favorite Song: 'You Spin Me 'Round 'Round'

The man who patented the Comeau Offensive Zone Orbit has settled down some in Calgary, performing in a utility role and adding 4 goals and 7 assists to the zeroes he had for the Islanders before being waived after 16 games.

He has not been the gem the Flames were hoping to find, but he has been useful, ranging from 11 minutes to 19 minutes under Brent Sutter in a variety of role trials. Be interesting how contract talks go though, as qualifying him at $2.5 million is probably too pricey. (But that's before his traditional 15-20% April-March shooting percentage kicks in.)

Not Brian Rolston

#47 / Right Wing / Los Angeles Kings (Manchester Monarchs)



Jul 05, 1980

Scouting Report: A fine goatee and a shiny dome

After some time in sunny SoCal, it's back to the northeast for Trent Hunter. The player who was traded, then waived and bought out last summer was waived last month by the Kings. His defense-conscious game was still there (much like Brian Rolston, ironically), but like Rolston his speed was not.

Back in the AHL again after all these years, Hunter has a goal and an assist in four games with Manchester so far.

Economy of Spelling in the Flesh

#16 / Left Wing / New York Islanders/Swiss/Czech



Sep 29, 1977

Known for: Single syllables

It seems like longer ago because he was waived mid-year last season, but Jon Sim really was an Islander still for 34 games in 2010-11.

Alas, his departure to Switzerland's Fribourg-Gotteron was unproductive in seven games, and this year according to HockeyDB he's been in both Pardubice and Slavia Praha of the Czech league, and now with the Berlin Polar Bears of the German league.

At last check he was standing in crowding some chateau's desk, distracting them and taunting them and occasionally slamming the free mints down his gullet.

ATO #55

#55 / Defense / Islanders

more than 5'5"

more than 55 kg

May 5, 1985

Shane Sims, Matt Campanale and Jamie Doornbosch are out there. Yes they are.

Sims is with the ECHL's Gwinnett Gladiators. and Campanale has bounced around from AHL Binghamton to a couple of ECHL teams, currently the Elmira Jackals. Apparently Doornbosch is schooling himself at St. Mary's.

Brothers from another Mother

#78 / Defenseman/Wing - Philadelphia Flyers/Chicago Blackhawks



Apr 13, 1989

Blake Kessel has been in 45 games with AHL Adirondack. Despite a spate of injuries to the parent Flyers, he hasn't gotten the call yet.

David Toews has played two games with AHL Rockford but is mostly with the ECHL Toledo Walleye.

Speaking of Winnipeg-area kids, Jason Gregoire has been in 29 games with AHL St. John's and has 4 goals and 6 assists.

I know what you're thinking: If these guys weren't allowed to walk, then ... playoffs!