Grabner Needs To Fly Like A G6

Michael Grabner (THEFANBLOG/Flickr)Ken Dick of Okposo Net and I like to joke around that "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 has always been misquoted when played on the radio. The real song should go, "Moves Like Grabner," (you can start trending it now on Twitter), especially after seeing how fast the Calder Trophy candidate was last year, utilizing his speed to score 34 goals in his first full rookie season. 

But things have been a little different for Grabs this year. He only has 11 goals and seven assists for 18 points through 39 games played, putting him on pace for 22 goals, 14 assists and 36 points - a total difference of 12 goals and 17 points when compared to last year. 

We're still talking about the same guy who won the fastest skater competition at last year's NHL All-Star game; the same guy who had such an impressive rookie season that the Islanders locked him up to a long-term five year contract. So what can be the reason for Grabner's recent struggles that have plagued him basically up until last night? 

 

 
Many felt that Grabner could have easily reached 40 goals last season had he connected on at least half of the breakaways that were unsuccessful. I was one of them, and he probably would be closer to 20 goals than 10 had he done the same this year as well. But he managed to find the back of the net last night in the Isles 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings after breaking through for his second breakaway of the game. 
 
One thing that has been noticeable about Grabner this year is that he has struggled to find open space in his second full season. Has he gotten slower? Hardly. Would I suggest that all the other 29 teams in the league were ready for him this season? Partially, but I think that almost wouldn't be giving Grabner enough credit. Everyone saw he was the fastest skater in the league last year - you mean to tell me that it took a whole year for teams to realize, 'hey, this guy is fast, maybe we shouldn't let him get past our defense'? I doubt it.
 
Grabner got hot last season and was able to maximize his potential quickly and over a very long streak. I think that Grabner's groin has been bothering him since the last time he sat after agitating it earlier in the season. Combine that with the traditional sophomore slumps that most young players find in their careers along with the notorious fact that Grabner is a slow starter. The season is 40 games old for the Islanders; maybe his fans and teammates can expect him to finally turn on the jets in the second half of the season...and suddenly find himself flying like a G6.
 
Maybe then we will start seeing some "Moves Like Grabner" that are similar to what we saw last night.
 
-Rob McGowan