The New York Islanders were quiet this past off-season, some would say too quiet, and only
brought in a single new NHL veteran to the team made a single splash in the July free agency frenzy– Marty Reasoner.
Reasoner signed a two-year contract with the Islanders that was reported to total $2.7 million. At 34-years-old, no one expected Reasoner to come in and put up 30 goals, but with 12 years of experience under his belt, Reasoner was expected to contribute in some form or another.
Coming off a season with the Florida Panthers where he scored 14 goals and added 18 assists, expectations were Reasoner would at least contribute at a level close to that. Instead, through the 24 games he has played in, Reasoner has not hit the back of the net, and only has four assists. Even worse, despite having the third lowest average ice time per game of the regulars (only Jay Pandolfo and Matt Martin are lower), Reasoner has the worst plus/minus on the team, at -15.
Now of course this lack of production is not entirely Reasoner’s fault, his lack of ice time has definitely hurt his scoring numbers, there is a problem here.
I believe when the Islanders signed Reasoner, they were hoping he would turn out to be the team’s next Mike Sillinger, a dependable face-off guy who could chip in a goal every few games or so. Although Reasoner has been good on face-offs, he has not come close to matching Sillinger’s 59 and 26 point seasons with the Isles.
Of course everyone who has watched hockey knows that statistics can be deceiving, and on a team that is one of the worst in the league at scoring goals and has a single regular player with a positive plus/minus, the stats I have used could be discounted. However, at no time this season have I found myself saying, ‘that Reasoner signing was worth it,’ or even ‘wow great play by Marty.’ This is because Reasoner has been pretty close to a bust for the Islanders.
Fortunately unlike many other Islanders moves in the past, Reasoner’s lack of production is not coming at a big price or a roster spot filled for the next 15 years. But one would hope that Reasoner starts to play like the player he has shown in the past he can be. The Islanders could sure use the scoring.
Edit: An earlier version posted said Reasoner was the only veteran the Islanders acquired in the off-season. Reasoner was the only signing by the Islanders when free agency opened, but they traded for Brian Rolston later in July, and signed Steve Staios and Jay Pandolfo a week or so before the season began.
Chris has written for various blogs about various teams, including the New York Jets and New York Islanders. He is currently a junior at the University of Maryland, where he is studying the dying field of print journalism.