Keith Aucoin Is Making An Early Impression On The Island

It's early. The season is only four games old for the New York Islanders, who have come out of the gate with a 2-2-0 record. And although he has four assists on the year, it hasn't been John Tavares who has been scoring the majority of the goals (Photo Credit: MR_53/Flickr).

Keith Aucoin, who is tied for first on the team in goals with Michael Grabner, is slowly emerging as this year's key pick up by GM Garth Snow.

Grabner is expected to be on the score sheet after scoring 20-plus goals over his first two years with the Islanders. But Aucoin has only played 106 NHL games and only had the first two-goal game of his career last night against the Boston Bruins.

It seems that Snow is able to find a diamond in the rough player almost every year. It started with Matt Moulson earning a spot on the Isles roster after leading the team in goals during the preseason a few years ago. There was also goaltender Dwayne Roloson and forward P.A. Parenteau, who were excellent contributors to this team when they wore the orange and blue jersey.

Aucoin might not turn out to be the same type of asset that these players were, and after all, it has only been four games. But this AHL journeyman at the age of 34 is certainly making the most of his new opportunity.

Josh Bailey will probably be returning to the line-up in the next week or so, and the team has stated in the past that they plan to play him at the wing after he proved how well he can perform in that position. His return would mean someone else would be scratched on offense. Casey Cizikas, David Ullstrom and Colin McDonald are the likely candidates that coach Jack Capuano will have to decide on.

Or Capuano might consider making a decision on Marty Reasoner, who has not performed very well for the Isles in the fourth line center role. He can kill penalties and win face-offs very well, but so can Aucoin. And unlike Reasoner, Aucoin has been able to find the back of the net more often with the Isles in a much shorter amount of time.

Depth has been a problem for this team in the past. More often than not the Isles would struggle to win games unless Tavares, Moulson and Parenteau were scoring for the Isles last year. But this year, forwards Moulson, Grabner, Brad Boyes, Kyle Okposo, Matt Martin and Ullstrom have been this team's goal scorers thus far.

And of course Keith Aucoin, who early on has helped lead the way.

-Rob McGowan
F

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