Countdown: 17, Shawn Bates or Jude Drouin?

There were an awful lot of players to wear #17 for the Islanders, 25 in all, most don’t stand out or had a very short tenure (all 58 games of Wendel Clark!). The two names that jump out on the list are each a bit different. One had an impact on the pre-Dynasty Islanders but only for a short time and the other spent the better part of a decade in orange and blue and is responsible for one of the more recent ‘big moments’.

drouinJude Drouin spent four years in an Islander uniform in the 70s, and was an important contributor of the pre-Dynasty Islanders. He was acquired during the 74-75 season from the North Stars, and would score 32 points in 40 games to close the year as an Islander. But his most important contribution would come during the playoffs, where he would lead the team with 18 points in 17 games, besting JP Parise, Ed Westfall and a young Denis Potvin.

That’s the year the Islanders would win their first playoff series, in stunning fashion over the Rangers in a best-of-three. In the decisive Game Three, Drouin fed JP Parise for the overtime goal that eliminated the Rangers in front of their own fans at the Garden and ignited a rivalry.  That year the Islanders would advance to the third round before falling in seven games to the Flyers. The following season they would again reach the third round and Drouin would again be a playoff performer, coming in second on the team in points with 15 in 13 games.

Things would not end on a high note with the Islanders for Drouin. As the Islanders continued to amass future Hall of Famers on the roster, he saw his ice time decline and actually sat out the entire 1978-79 season. In the summer of ’79 he would become a free agent and sign with the Winnipeg Jets, where he would play 85 games before hanging up the skates for good.

In more recent years, Shawn Bates is best remembered for wearing #17. The Islanders signed him in the summer of 2001 as a free agent from the Bruins, in what seemed to be the millionth New England connection the Islanders had during that era. While he never scored more than a couple goals a year in Boston, Bates contributed for the Islanders in an increased role on Long Island, where he would play nearly 19 minutes per game in 2001-02. Bates would hit a career high of 52 points and 17 goals that season, as the Islanders made the playoffs for the first time in almost a decade. And, in the playoffs, he would also do this:

Including the memorable shootout goal, Bates notched six points in seven playoff games against Toronto. He would have a few more productive seasons with the Islanders before tailing off after the 2004 lockout. In the summer of 2008, the Islanders would buy out his contract after he missed all but two games of the season to injury.



17
Tom Miller (1973-1975)
Jude Drouin (1975-1978)
Alex McKendry (1979)
Garth MacGuigan (1980)
Greg Gilbert (1982-1986)
Mark Hamway (1987)
Brad Dalgarno (1988-1989)
Rod Dallman (1990)
Chris Pryor (1990)
Paul Gagne (1990)
Craig Ludwig (1991)
Bill Berg (1992-1993)
Daniel Marois (1993)
Steve Junker (1993-1994)
Yan Kaminsky (1994)
Chris Marinucci (1995)
Wendel Clark (1996)
Darby Hendrickson (1996)
Sergei Nemchinov (1998-1999)
Tony Hrkac (2000)
Ted Drury (2000)
Taylor Pyatt (2001)
Shawn Bates (2002-2008)
Thomas Pock (2009)
Matt Martin (2011-2013)




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