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Michael Grabner’s Time with Islanders Remains Highlight of His Career

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Michael Grabner

Michael Grabner has not put on an NHL uniform since the 2019-20 season. He has not donned the New York Islanders blue, orange and white since 2015. 

Still, even six years later, Grabner is still fond of his time on the island.

“I loved playing at the Coliseum,” Grabner said in an interview with “Bleavin Rangers” hosted by Jonny Lazarus“The fans are unreal like they’re the best fans in the league. Hardcore fans of the Islanders, very loyal obviously.”

While Grabner started in the NHL as a member of the Vancouver Canucks in 2009-10, his first season with the Islanders a year later kickstarted his NHL career. A waiver-wire selection later that offseason, Grabner burst onto the NHL scene in 2010-2011 with 34 goals and 18 assists in 76 games.

In 297 games on the Island, the Austrian native scored 90 goals and picked up 54 assists. He took part in eight total postseason games, picking up five points.

Even though the Islanders finished in last place in that Atlantic Division that season, Grabner inked a five-year extension worth $3 million annually.

Even with the infrequent success by the Islanders over Grabner’s tenure, the bond that he built with that incarnation of the team has remained in place ever since.

“I still follow them, and I still talk to some of the guys working there,” Grabner said. “Again, it’s just something you always have a connection to.” 

Former Islanders forward Matt Moulson spoke on the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast similarly about how tight of a group those Islander teams were. 

 “That team to this day is still tight, and I believe it’s because of the group we had coming up during then,” Moulson said. “We were just so tight, and they kept it that way.”

Grabner was eventually traded to Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the start of the 2015-16 season.

Following his time with the Islanders, Grabner played for the Rangers, the New Jersey Devils, before finishing his career as a member of the Arizona Coyotes.

Following his time with the Islanders, Grabner played for the Rangers, the New Jersey Devils, before finishing his career as a member of the Arizona Coyotes.

Grabner played in the NHL for 11 seasons but what he misses most is the team bonding. 

One of the activities Grabner liked to take part in was playing cards during travel. He briefly mentioned playing with former Islanders captain John Tavares, whose career on the island overlapped with his.

“The beginning of my career, it was all poker. Poker was always boring, though, if you don’t get hands…I play Tavares, like, he only plays aces and stuff.” He followed that sentence with a “just kidding” as he insinuated that Tavares would fold unless he was dealt a good hand.”

 

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