Islanders fans were understandably upset following the injuries to John Tavares and Frans Nielsen. Many people expected the team to call up Ryan Strome and Anders Lee, but when Mike Halmo also joined the group, there was a collective “huh?” from many fans.
So, let’s look and see. Who exactly is Mike Halmo?
Mike Halmo joined the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL in 2008 and didn’t perform much in that season. In 62 games played, he only recorded eight points and tallied five goals. He may have been most well known for this hit in juniors.
This hit got him suspended for 10 games, but caught the eyes of hockey fans all over. However, the part of that season that people didn’t realize was that Halmo was quietly having his best season ever as he notched 85 points with 40 goals in 2011-12 over 66 games played. After that, the Islanders signed him and put him in Bridgeport.
Following the signing, Halmo played five games with the Sound Tigers and scored only one goal. It wasn’t until 2012-13 where he started getting some real playing time with the Sound Tigers.
However, it wasn’t like he was tearing the league apart as he had just 14 points in 46 games played, to go along with 46 penalty minutes. After an offseason of training, Halmo came in this year on the first line with Ryan Strome and really turned some heads with his performance.
He has scored 37 points as of this writing and has a +12 rating. These stats were good enough for him to get the call to the big leagues on an injury ravaged Islander squad.
Halmo’s Cup of Coffee
Halmo only received two games in the NHL this season, but he certainly impressed fans who got to watch him, and he definitely made an impact in his game against the Maple Leafs (as seen below in the video):
Despite not scoring in the game, he showed some great ability going towards the net and moving the puck.
A guy like Halmo should be celebrated for being able to make the NHL on a team that has so many highly touted prospects – especially after coming in undrafted. Sure, he’s not the first undrafted player to get a call to the NHL and he certainly won’t be the last, but the fact that he was able to come up and play on a team where there are several other quality options in the pipeline shows you how far a guy like this has come.
His nose for the net is apparent in the stats he has put up in the juniors as well as in Bridgeport and there was also a lot of evidence of strong offensive instincts in his games played with the Islanders.
Islanders fans have shown favor to players similar to Halmo historically, and have always been extremely fond of hard working players. If I had to guess, I would say that Halmo will become a fixture on that bottom line with Martin and Cizikas in the future and be a part of something fans will love for a very long time.