Michael Grabner continues to impress with the Islanders
NHLHS New York Islanders Correspondent Christian Arnold discusses the succes Michael Grabner has found on Long Island and what he thinks about being mentioned for Rookie of the Year.
When Michael Grabner, or “Flash” as some of teammates have nicknamed him, was claimed off Waivers by the New York Islanders there was no way for any to foresee what was ahead for the 23-year-old Austrian rookie. But since coming to Long Island Grabner has established himself as a serious contender for Rookie of the Year honors and has been a major part of the Islanders recent success.
Grabner was a gift from the hockey gods, being waived by the Florida Panthers before the season started and allowing the Islanders to pick him up. A fact that is not lost on Islanders forward Matt Moulson.
“I’m glad Florida sent him down and we picked him up, Moulson said after Friday morning’s practice. “He’s a tremendous player and he’s obviously the fastest guy in the league right now.”
While not much was know about Grabner, it has become abundantly clear that his speed is one of, if not, his best assets. Grabner won fastest skater at the NHL All Star game in January and it’s that speed that Frans Nielson believes gives defenses the hardest time.
“Obviously, that’s what stands out, Nielson started off saying when Grabner’s speed was brought up. “He really uses that and you can see every teams defense has trouble with him when they try to skate with him. They can’t handle him.”
It’s that has helped Grabner break out with the Islanders. This season he has 25 goals for 36 points in 55 games. Not to mention he has six goals in his last five games and is recently coming off a six game scoring streak.
“Every single game it seems like he’s going to get three breakaways a game and five, six good chances,” Moulson said about Grabner. “When he’s putting pucks in the net it seems like the other guys feed off it.”
Grabner’s success on Long Island has not been lost on the rest of the NHL. Since the All Star break chatter about him as a Calder Trophy candidate and after his recent play he has permanently positioned himself in the Calder conversation.
However while everyone else is talking Calder, Grabner is just trying to play his game.
“I’m not trying to think about it too much. I’m just trying to go out there and help the team win, Grabner said after the Islanders 3-0 win over the Kings. “I don’t want to get away from my game. I just going to try and go out there and do the same thing every night.”
In the end Grabner has become this year’s break out Islander and is on pace for a 30 goal season. If anything more should come of it that’s all Gravy, but he doesn’t seemed to worried.
“There are a lot of good young players in the league so whatever happens in the end happens.”
NHLHS New York Islanders Correspondent