Countdown: 30 Days Until Opening Night

With thirty days left on our countdown, we get to another one of the “traditional” goalie numbers. A number of different players have worn 30, from Gerry Desjardins who was part of the inaugural Islander team to the more recent veteran Dwayne Roloson.

A number of other netminders have worn the number, including the current General Manager, and some 1990s era backups. For my money, Kelly Hrudey is the best Islander to have worn the number.

hrudeyDrafted in the second round in 1980, Hrudey was the successor to Billy Smith and was initially brought up to the Island for the 1983-84 season. In the following years, he would split time with Smith, each netminder playing around 40 games per season. He was never really given the opportunity to make the starting job his own — and it’s hard to imagine the Islanders kicking the future Hall of Famer Smith out the door in any way — but Hrudey still put up good numbers each year.

In three of his first four full seasons on the Island, Hrudey finished in the top 10 in the NHL in save percentage, with a high water mark of second in the league in 1985-86. He also would finish 4th in GAA that same year.

In 1988-89, his fifth full season on Long Island, he played the majority of the Islanders games and ended up leading the league in minutes played. But as the team struggled, it decided to part ways with Hrudey for prospects and two other young netminders.

Despite their last-place standing, the Islanders still had something to lose – one of the league’s better goalies. And yesterday, they made what probably was the boldest trade in their history.

They dealt Kelly Hrudey to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Wayne McBean, goaltender Mark Fitzpatrick and an unspecified future draft choice. McBean, 20, was the fourth player taken in the 1987 draft. Fitzpatrick, considered the best goaltending prospect that same year, went 27th.

“We had to do something that could have a payoff of great significance,” said Bill Torrey, the Islanders’ general manager. “In no way or form is this a reflection of disappointment in Kelly.”

The Islanders believe Jeff Hackett, who had taken over the backup job from 38-year-old Billy Smith, is a major-league goalie. Now they think they’ve added an outstanding prospect who can grow with them back into contention.

Neither Hackett nor Fitzpatrick would pan out for the Islanders, leading to Glenn Healy’s time as the starter in the early 90s. Hrudey would go on to play in the Finals for the Kings in 1993, losing to Patrick Roy and the Canadiens.



30
Gerry Desjardins (1973-1974)
Goran Hogosta (1978)
Richard Brodeur (1980)
Roland Melanson (1981)
Kelly Hrudey (1984-1989)
Mark Fitzpatrick (1990-1993)
Tommy Soderstrom (1995-1997)
Wade Flaherty (1998-2001)
Chris Terreri (2001)
Garth Snow (2002-2006)
Dwayne Roloson (2010-2011)




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