New York Islanders Curtail Decades Of Heartbreak & Misery
Apr 24, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) reacts after the Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers in double overtime in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. The Islanders defeated the Panthers 2-1 to win the series four games to two. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Reviewing the season of New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas not only brings up his past, put his future with the organization.

He may not be the flashiest player in the league and fans of teams across the country may not even know who the guy is, but to New York Islander fans, Casey Cizikas is one of the most popular Islanders on the ice with his gritty play.

Along with John Tavares and Josh Bailey, Casey Cizikas is one of the longest tenured Islanders on the team who has been part of the Islanders during the rebuilding process.

Over the years, Cizikas has become a fan favorite to many. It is rare to see that with a fourth line guy, but the spark plug brings a certain type of energy to the ice and locker room that is valuable to any team. Whether they are winning or losing, it’s always fun to watch Cizikas along with his buddy Cal Clutterbuck, bully opposing players on the ice.

His numbers on the stat sheet do not jump at you. He scored 8 goals with 17 assists, for a total of 25 points, four shy of his career high.

However, Cizikas missed 23 games due to an upper-body injury he suffered towards the end of February. Without that missed time, you would assume he would have set career highs. He did set a career high in plus/minus with a plus-nine rating.

But where Cizikas came up most valuable was his spot on the penalty kill. He was their most valuable forward on the man down causing havoc all over the ice for opposing teams. He helped lead the Islanders to the 11 best penalty kill in the NHL last season, killing 81.9 percent of penalties.

Last season the Islanders gave Cizikas a five-year $16.75 million contract. As much as I love Cizikas, I thought that was a little too much for a fourth liner. Overall, he had a solid season in the 59 games he played, but I’m sure Cizikas wants to come out strong next year and prove his doubter’s wrongs as he enters the best years of his career.

Could Cizikas Be A Golden Knight?

Some have thrown Cizikas’s name around as being the Islanders casualty for the Las Vegas expansion draft on June 21. If it did happen I would not be surprised. A 26-year-old winger who just got paid and is poised to have the best years of his career as he enters his seventh year in the NHL. A gritty, hardworking, spark plug who will bring energy to a new franchise would be a great guy to build around.

But I’m not sold on this. I still believe that it will be either Calvin de Haan or Thomas Hickey. Now if the Islanders trade de Haan before the draft, that’s a different story. But being the gambling man I am, I’d put most of my chips that Zeeker is playing in Brooklyn next season.

I'm a recent graduate out of the University at Albany with a degree in Journalism. Lives in Farmingdale on Long Island. Passionate Mets, Giants, Islanders, and Notre Dame football fan. You can follow my Twitter at @Bsaur27.