Are Michael Grabner’s Islander Days Numbered?

Michael Grabner arrived with the Islanders in time for the 2010/2011 NHL season after the team claimed him on waivers from the Florida Panthers.  Grabner burst on the scene in that season scoring 34 goals as a rookie and being nominated for the rookie of the year award.

That great rookie season also earned Grabner a 5 year contract extension.  However, with his production having almost steadily declined since then and injuries becoming an issue, is Grabners time on Long Island slowly coming to an end?

Unmet Expectations

As a rookie, Grabner surprised almost every fan putting up over 30 goals and becoming a fan favorite because of his speed and ability to create plays.  Naturally, this great rookie season put pretty big expectations on Grabner that he has never been able to live up to.  Matter of fact, since having 34 goals as a rookie, Grabner has yet to put up 34 points in a season.  This dip in production has caused some fans to sour on Grabner while others to drastically lower their expectations for him.  Grabner has shown a great ability to create plays but he has really struggled at finishing them off.  With the Islanders increased depth at forward, Grabner could end up finding himself in another city next season.

Injury Concern

After being pretty healthy early in his career, the last two seasons have been tough for Grabner.  After missing 18 games due to injury last season, this season has been much worse with Grabner only having played in 31 games to this point.  In that brief time his production hasn’t been any better than it had been in the previous few seasons either.  Hopefully, this doesn’t become a trend for Grabner as speed is such a vital element to his game and injuries could hamper that which could have an impact on the length of his career.

Healthy Scratch

Over the last few weeks, Grabner has been a healthy scratch for the Islanders after their acquisition of Tyler Kennedy at the trade deadline.  Having this happen to a player isn’t usually a good sign for his future with the organization, I feel like at least.  With the Islanders increased depth at forward and emergence of guys like Anders Lee and Ryan Strome, Grabners importance has gone down drastically since his rookie season and in most people’s minds made him available if other teams called with interest in him.  With Grabner having been moved out of the lineup, could another move be on the horizon?

Will He Be an Islander Next Season?

I love the speed that Grabner brings to the table, it creates a lot of excitement but it is a shame he was never able to grow the other elements of his game.  It would not shock me if Grabner ended up on another team next season.  With the Islanders increased depth as I mentioned above his role has really shrunk.  Additionally, with the Islanders now starting to spend money where they didn’t in prior years, the 3 million owed to Grabner could be better spent elsewhere.  While I do feel like that, I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if he is with the Islanders next year either because I feel like his value is low right now and Snow hasn’t been one who has been willing to sell low on players during his tenure here, except for the Blake Comeau case.