Many of the top players in the league usually hear their names called at some point during the NHL Entry Draft. However, players like Martin St. Louis and Sergei Bobrovsky have shown that a player can still make it even if they do not hear their name called. Here is a list of the top-ten undrafted players ever to play for the New York Islanders:
Despite it being toward the end of Dwayne Roloson’s career, the longtime goaltender played two seasons with the Islanders before being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. New York missed the playoffs both those years, but Roloson played well along with Martin Biron filling in for Rick DiPietro. Roloson won 23 games in his first season, including one against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he made 58 saves. That set a club record for most stops in a game before Josh Bailey scored the game-winning goal in overtime.
The Islanders eventually shipped Roloson off to the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he caught fire in 2011. He recorded a shutout in 4 of his first 11 games and helped defeat the Penguins in Game 7 of the opening round of the playoffs with a shutout. That was his final year in the playoffs as he retired after the 2012 season 227-257-42-40 record.
While his son, Miles Wood, has made an impact in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, his father, Randy, was a terrific player with the Islanders. Wood played in six games in the 1986-87 season and scored his first NHL goal that year.
Randy then went on to score 22 goals the following season and had back-to-back 20-plus goal seasons beginning in 1989. Similar to his son, Wood would drop the gloves and had two seasons with over 70 penalty minutes. Randy went on to play only eight games in 1992 on Long Island before he was involved in a seven-player trade that involved the Islanders acquiring Pierre Turgeon.
As the Islanders entered the 1990s after their incredible decade in the 80s, New York had one last incredible run with Glenn Healy in net. The undrafted goaltender started the second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1993 and helped the Islanders upset the defending Stanley Cup champions. In Game 7, Healy stopped 42 of 45 shots before David Volek scored the legendary goal in overtime.
This came after a regular season when Healy won a career-high 22 games and had a goal against average of 3.30 in 47 games. Before he was lost in the expansion draft and then traded to the New York Rangers, where he would win a Stanley Cup, Healy won 66 games and ranks eighth in Islanders history in that category.
Despite his brother and captain of the Islanders, Denis Potvin, getting most of the attention, Jean Potvin was key to the beginning of the Islanders dynasty. Jean asked to be traded to the Islanders from the Philadelphia Flyers in their inaugural season in 1972-73. The team managed only to win 12 games, but that quickly started to change with Jean being a big piece on the blue line.
He ended up playing in 402 NHL games and scored 46 goals career goals. Jean is the lone defenseman in Islanders history to score a hat-trick in a period. Denis added two goals that night as well, and the duo became the first set of brothers to score at least five goals in a game since 1947.
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Jean was also no stranger to fighting. He had as many as 100 penalty minutes in a season with the Islanders. Despite being overshadowed by his brother, who was a first overall pick and a Hockey Hall of Famer, Jean was one of those players that will always be remembered in New York, especially for his play on the man advantage with his brother.
Glenn “Chico” Resch
While the Islanders have used a tandem in net the past few seasons, New York had a great duo with Billy Smith and Glenn “Chico” Resch. Somehow, the future two-time Stanley Cup winner went undrafted and began his Islanders career playing in two games in 1973-74.
His playing time began to increase the following couple of seasons but he never started more than 46 games in a season. However, in 1977-78, Resch won a career-high 28 games a few seasons after he led the Islanders to a playoff series win in 1975 after they trailed the series against the Penguins 3-0. The Islanders allowed 14 goals in the first three games before legendary head coach Al Arbour turned to Resch. He then allowed four goals in the next four games, including a 1-0 shutout in game 7.
After Smith had reestablished himself a few seasons later, general manager Bill Torrey traded Resch to the Colorado Avalanche along with Steve Tambellini for Mike McEwen and Jari Kaarela. Resch then got into broadcasting and worked alongside the great Doc Emrick with the New Jersey Devils.
Similar to Wood, J.P. Parise is the father to current NHL All-Star Zach Parise. J.P. came to the Islanders during the 1974-75 season and scored the team’s first-ever playoff overtime goal. It was a series-clinching goal over the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Preliminary Round in 1975 just 11 seconds in.
During the regular season, J.P. reached the 20-goal mark twice in his four years with the Islanders. In two of those seasons, he didn’t miss a game, and he finished his NHL career with 890 games.
Anders Kallur only played in the NHL from 1979 to 1985 but was one of the most underrated players in team history. The Swedish born winger scored a career-high 36 goals in 1980-81, en route to New York’s second straight Stanley Cup.
He followed that up with 18 goals the next season and scored the biggest goal of his career in 1984 in Game 2 of the Division Finals against the Wahington Capitals. Kallur finished his Islanders career with 101 regular-season goals and added another 12 in 78 playoff games. He also became the first Swede to win the Stanley Cup along with his teammate Stefan Persson and is currently a scout for the Rangers.
Despite going undrafted in the 1999 draft, Jason Blake is just one of 12 players in Islanders’ history to ever score 40 goals in a season. That mark came during the 2006-07 season when he tallied 40 goals and posted a total of 69 points.
It was Blake’s fourth full season with New York as he came over in a trade from the Los Angeles Kings, and he blossomed into one of the team’s best goal scorers. Despite being 5-foot-10, Blake used his speed to score most of his goals and had a terrific wrist shot.
During the 2006-07 season, Blake made his lone All-Star Game appearance and represented Team USA in the Winter Olympics with teammate Mark Parrish, playing six games in Turin, Italy. Blake also added three career playoff goals for the Islanders and had a fight in the team’s memorable playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
However, Blake was not signed after becoming a free agent in 2007. The veteran went on to sign a contract with the Maple Leafs and finished his career off with the Anaheim Ducks. In total, Blake scored 213 goals and had 486 points, which ranks 65th all-time for Americans.
Ed Westfall began his NHL career before the first-ever NHL Draft, and turned in a fantastic career. The Islanders chose him in the 1972 Expansion Draft after 11 seasons in the NHL, and Westfall became the original captain of the Islanders. He played with them up until 1978-79, retiring just one year before the team’s dynasty began.
Known more for his defensive style of play as a forward, Westfall managed to score a career-high 25 goals in the 1975-76 season. He also was dominant in the Islanders’ first two playoff appearances, registering 20 points in 25 games. He finished his Islander career with 105 goals and 286 points.
In 1977, the veteran was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy for his perseverance and hard work and later gave up his team captaincy to Clark Gillies the same year. After 1,226 career games, Westfall called it a career and became a broadcaster with the Islanders along with Jiggs McDonald. Then in 2011, he was inducted into the Islanders Hall of Fame.
From going undrafted to becoming a 40-goal scorer, Steve Thomas played 20 seasons in the NHL and was one of the best scorers in the league during that period. He played seven years before being traded to the Islanders along with Adam Creighton for Brent Sutter and Brad Lauer in 1991.
In his first three seasons in New York, he scored 107 goals. Thomas also added nine goals in the 1992-93 playoffs as he took control of the offense after Pierre Tugeron’s injury in the first round. Thomas also played in the World Hockey Championship for Team Canada for four years in the 1990s and also scored more than 25 goals for four different teams.
Thomas went on to retire in 2004 with 421 goals, and was 67 points shy of 1,000 in his career. He later got into coaching and was named an assistant coach of the St. Louis Blues in 2016 under Ken Hitchcock.
Some of the best teams in the NHL are the ones that always nail their draft picks, but many also find players on waivers and after drafts. The Islanders have had many of those players win them a Stanley Cup and help New York get out of their rebuild in recent years as they look for a fifth championship.