Where are they now? 2003-04 NY Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/08/2007 07:24:00 AM |
Sorry gang, no team picture available.

Fun topic before an October day game on Monday. Did management make the right decisions to let many of these players on the 2003-04 roster after the lockout?

One answer can be after the lockout Milbury qualified some players he never should kept while others signed elsewhere. Michael Peca was traded for Mike York.

One thing for sure is many of these players careers fell off the map completely after leaving the Islanders. In many cases Islanders made the right call in letting these players go because they have not been impact players where they have gone in most places, many for big dollars that hurt their current clubs.

So where are they now?

2003-04:
Mike Milbury: Is now working on television. After his post-lockout decisions resigned during a terrible 05-06 season. Worked last year in the business part of the organization.

Steve Stirling: Got this club to a playoff spot with a lot of injuries that year (and more points than Ted Nolan got last season) was fired after the lockout after the team struggled badly. Today is coaching the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL who visit the Sound Tigers Friday.

Adrian Aucoin: Got huge contract from the Blackhawks who never saw how his yearly groin injuries were getting worse with age and hurting his mobility. Missed the better part of two terrible seasons with Chicago as captain before the Hawks unloaded him to Calgary who did not want another former Islander, Roman Hamrlik.

Sven Butenschon: After playing in Germany during the lockout returned to the NHL after the lockout, played ten games for Vancouver but mostly played in the AHL before returning to Manheim where he still plays today.

Eric Cairns: After his giveaways in game one of the Tampa series never played another shift for the club. Signed with Florida, went to Pittsburgh but injuries took their toll and was not offered a contract. Is back with the Islanders as part of the alumni and was announced at the home opener.

Roman Hamrlik: Got a big contract with Calgary after the lockout and had his ups and downs before the Flames walked away this summer. Montreal signed him to a five year contract for over twenty million which looks like a bad response to losing Sheldon Souray.

Kenny Jonsson: Never played another NHL game after the Tampa series. Signed a contract with a job after his playing career with his home town team Rogel in Sweden where he still plays but has had at least one more concussion.

Alexander Karpovtsev: Cue the jokes and Pat Foley's comments. After he played his three games with the Islanders and went home, Florida signed him after the lockout where he played a grand total of six games. Since then he still plays in the Russian leagues and in 07-08 is still active with Sibir Novosibirsk.

Radek Martinek: Was signed by Milbury to a two year contract, improved his game dramatically on defense and despite major injuries is a critical part of the Islanders blue line. Was resigned to a three year extension by Garth Snow this week is the only remaining player from the 03-04 defenders.

Janne Niinimaa: I guess Steve Stirling was not the only problem because after being unloaded to Dallas he never found his game there before being dumped on Montreal who rarely used him last season. The injury problems that began back in Edmonton kept diminishing his game. Today he's listed as being on HC Davos but is not listed as having played.

Shawn Bates: Unfortunately unlike Adrian Aucoin, the Islanders did not let Bates go when it was clear to anyone watching he has the same chronic groin problems. Islanders resigned him and had limited impacts on the losing team in 05-06 or the playoff team of 06-07. His injury from last year is still lingering but he is still with the club and still skating at practice as he sits on injured reserve. Have to think Richard Park's two year extension could spell the eventual end of Bates Islander career if he can play.

Oleg Kvasha: After being unloaded by the Islanders in a steal for a third rounder was not retained by Phoenix. He plays now with Vityaz Podolsk in the Russian Hockey league.

Justin Papineau: After never making it with the Blues, Islanders or Devils organizations he signed in Europe for 07-08 with EHC Basel.

Michael Peca: After being traded for Mike York and a draft pick, had a very tough year in Edmonton where he was critical of management, could not stay healthy early and was relegated to fourth line duty. The Olympic break got him healthy for the stretch and come playoff time he was outstanding and almost led the Oilers to a cup but was critical of management afterward again and signed in Toronto where another knee injury shut him down for the season. Signed an incentive contract with Columbus and already was placed on injured reserve.

Cliff Ronning: After his forty games with the Islanders became a victim of the lockout and is retired.

Dave Scatchard: Scatchard wanted big money after the lockout and got it from Boston who paid him four years and around seventeen million. A few short months out of nowhere they dumped his contract on the Phoenix Coyoyes where he never had an impact on a bad team before a concussion last season led to a buyout this summer. No team has signed him and no updates on his health but have to wonder where the Islanders would have been if they paid him as many fan wanted after the lockout?

Alexei Yashin: Management's somewhat unfair scapegoat for years of mediocre support from supporting cast (as evidenced by mediocre/poor results from so many of these players after leaving) led to fan/media opinion finally convincing management to buy him out and take a long cap hit against the payroll. Blake himself said the fans expected miracles from him. His fifty eight point season and ten points the final ten games were one of the biggest reasons the club made the playoffs, but his playoff struggles continued and that was the final straw even though Satan, Kozlov and Zednik had poor playoffs also. In the end why not save ten million long-term and start over while winning fan support for the move? Yashin's unfair reputation kept teams from signing him at what his agent felt was fair so he signed with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl where some reports are he is injured again.

Arron Asham: After years of inconsistent performance under several coaches despite outstanding acceleration and a great shot, Islanders decided not to bring him back.
Asham was not in high demand and had to settle for a pay cut to sign with the Devils, kept reading about hand or wrist injuries limiting him last year.

Jason Blake: Blake to this point is the one franchise talent from the 03-04 roster that left at his peek because they felt he was not worth that kind of money for that long based on one season. In 03-04 and until they day he left gave all he had every game for the club and was it's most visible forward. Could make a good argument both ways about signing Blake but his age and how he scored here suggest he may never be as good anywhere else as he was here because of how the Islanders were constructed. For a few years he should be good with the Leafs but my guess is Toronto find's out he was never a first line talent but on the Islanders had to be.

Mariusz Czerkawski: After Stirling got another twenty five goal season out of him in 03-04 returned to the NHL after the lockout where he played parts of one season with Toronto/Boston before going back to Europe where he today plays for SC
Rapperswil-Jona. Outside of Blake the one player management got the most out of for the least money before moving on.

Eric Godard: Godard lost a fight after the lockout with the Islanders and was injured for a while but on the ice at the time was virtually useless on a very bad team that could not score before going to Calgary where he played only nineteen games for them last season as he was in the AHL. He's reportedly on the Flames current roster.

Trent Hunter: Still a productive impact player with the Islanders to this day, but has never showed the scoring skills he did in 03-04 before a knee injury.

Mark Parrish: Was traded to the Kings in the Jeff Tambellini deal, signed a huge contract with Minnesota where he had one of his worst seasons and found himself on left wing and on the fourth line. Had another invisible playoff for the Wild last season despite his comments he never felt he had a chance to win with the Islanders at playoff time before the postseason last spring. Bounced around the Wild's lines a lot to this point.

Steve Webb: Maybe it's unfair to call him part of the 03-04 Islanders because he was reacquired in a minor league trade at the time? He played one playoff game and five overall games, took a penalty and that was the it for Webb who's career ended with the lockout. Today he's part of the Islanders community relations department and was introduced opening night.

Mattias Weinhandl: Islanders gave him every chance in 03-04 to produce. After leading the SEL in scoring during the lockout never impressed Steve Stirling to where he got significant minutes again and if I recall was waived and the Wild picked him up where he did not impress them over parts of two seasons despite good AHL numbers in Houston. Went back to Europe and today plays for Linköpings HC.

Garth Snow: After losing his spot to DiPietro in the second half of 03-04 never saw serious minutes again and was injured on a very bad Islander club in 05-06 but somehow was given a three year extension before...........why bother, we know.

Today he is the general manager of the New York Islanders and retired as a player, but his contract does count against the cap.

Rick DiPietro: Franchise goalie who built on his outstanding second half in 03-04 and playoff where he became the full time starter. Had no chance in 05-06 on a terrible team and struggled early and had some injuries but was outstanding in the second half. Faced the most avg shots per game last season and recorded a 9.19 save percentage and led the club to a ninety two point season.

Franchise NHL goalie who is signed through 2021.

4 comments:

  1. Interesting recap. Looks like the team made some pretty decent decisions overall. Mike continually gets skewered by the fanbsae, but not all of his decisions were terrible ones.

    Goddard is on Calgary's roster. I saw him scrap the other night on HNIC.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi JKP,

    You go back and look at how so many of our top players on those teams outright failed or never became impact players elsewhere it's hard to question Milbury for not signing many of them, but it does not let him off the hook entirely. Bates is one it looks like we will regret.

    What is clear is they picked the right time to let most of them go.

    If they kept the core of that team and resigned a Scatchard, Parrish or Aucoin, Peca long term after the lockout it would have been a disaster.

    What's interesting to me is these were the same players who deflected a lot of blame at Yashin whether it was justified or not but away from Yashin they did no better on teams where a solid first line was in place and all they had to do was produce in their role.

    The failure of Weinhandl also stands out to me.

    Milbury absolutely got the most out of Czerkawski and in the end the club got a steal of a contract on Blake for what he made.

    I enjoyed doing the recap on the 03-04 team. I remember the players crediting DiPietro as one of the few who took the loss to Tampa hard.

    So many others career's ended with that series either because of the lockout, age or no interest.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'll take the Bates signing over potentially locking up that aging and broken core you mentioned above. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Jkp,

    Agreed on taking Bates over that core of expensive injured players but it was clear to me that he was going to keep getting hurt and a three year deal was a risk. Also he's not an impact player where he's going to score enough.

    Moving forward we got Hilbert, Park, Bates, all locked up for the next two years and it seems like the same kind of player who could not produce enough.

    What's done is done, Bates is here and if he can get healthy enough to play we'll see.

    ReplyDelete

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