Today NYI Fan Central does it's final review of the 2008 Nystrom award winner, Richard Park.
Entering 2007-08 Richard Park had already won over management with his hard work and effort which earned him a two year contract after trying out with the club the previous season.
Going into camp it seemed he would be on the fourth line but would be spotted on other lines based on how he played, between his excellent work shorthanded and hustle/hard work in all three zones the Islanders felt they had a player who will help them moving forward and signed him to a two-year contract extension as he did carry his weight for a while on offense, scoring some big goals against Dallas and Washington.
Richard Park was everything that was right and wrong about the 2007-08 Islander forwards in that he gave all he had and more, but lived up to his career reputation of not being able to produce enough to justify top six minutes. When the injuries piled up later on he was moved to center and finished up the season with Kyle Okposo and the other young prospects.
Despite all his hard work and effort he went close to thirty games in the second half without a goal. He did everything asked of him and even played the point on the powerplay but to expect offense from Richard Park or that he could make the same leap Jason Blake did as an Islander is asking for too much on a club loaded with forwards who are all asked to produce more offensively than their career resumes indicated.
In the end it seemed to come down to who was working the hardest, so Richard Park was the player given the minutes. Hard work and finishing skills are two different things. He generated chances, helped set up goals, but this is not a player who's going to score twenty goals or produce many goals when you have to have one.
Still, he was this club's hardest working forward on a nightly basis and set a good example for the other players with his work ethic.
Richard Park is signed for the next two season and will continue to set an example of the kind of player the organization wants in terms of hard work. I do not see him getting the same minutes or a top six role because he cannot produce enough points to justify it on a club that needs reliable scoring. His shorthanded play stands out and is a big asset.
Impossible to fault Richard Park for not being a goal-scorer or his career offensive resume. In this case you have to look at the example he set for others with his approach and work on a game by game basis which is why he gets a well-deserved grade of A for his season.