It was only three years ago but Alan Quine’s double-overtime winner in game five against the Florida Panthers feels like an eternity ago as Quine’s future with the New York Islanders looks dim.
Whether they will admit it or not, the New York Islanders best option for their final two games of the 2015-16 regular-season was to lose them both, and they did almost everything to help that cause.
Winning would’ve resulted in a first-round matchup against the eventual Stanley Cup Champions in the Pittsburgh Penguins, but losing, as they did, set up a meeting with the Florida Panthers. In those final two games, they learned that Sound Tigers call-up Alan Quine was not only NHL ready but that he could be a key contributor to their playoff run.
In his NHL debut, Quine showed off his speed, creativity, and defensive-awareness. In the third period, while on the penalty-kill, he picked up his first NHL goal as he crashed the net and a centering feed from Bracken Kearns went off him and in.
His strong play in those two games gave him a roster spot for the playoffs and Quine did not back down to the challenge. In game one, Quine came flying into the offensive zone, put the puck through his legs to get around Jakub Kindl, and then got a shot on goal that generated a rebound for Ryan Strome. Strome’s goal held up to be the game one winner for the Islanders.
In game five Quine was promoted the team’s top-line with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo but it was while on the second power-play unit in double-overtime where Quine delivered one of the most memorable moments in Islanders history. Marek Zidlicky faked a slap shot and then fed it over to Quine at the right face-off circle who one-timed home the winner to give the Islanders a 3-2 series lead.
That summer, Quine’s post-season play and heroics, as well as his impressive numbers in Bridgeport, helped earn him his first one-way deal on a two-year contract extension with the Islanders.
In his first full NHL season, Quine was a reliable bottom-nine/depth forward with five goals and 18 points in 61 games. Whether it was a spin-o-rama pass to Jason Chimera or a relentless effort to get the puck across to Calvin de Haan for a goal, Quine showed flashes of brilliance and the skill required to play in today’s NHL. However, it wasn’t on display consistently enough.
Quine got injured right before training camp with an upper-body injury that needed an estimated 4-6 weeks to heel. On October 26th, the team sent him to Bridgeport on a conditioning assignment.
Quine scored once in four games with the Sound Tigers and returned to the NHL to make his season debut on November 10 against the Dallas Stars.
The next night the 25-year-old recorded his first point of the season, setting up Josh Ho-Sang for his first goal of the year as he got around Vladimir Sobotka behind the St. Louis Blue’s goal and found Ho-Sang creeping in.
From that point on, Quine was often a healthy scratch and his season came to an end after an undisclosed injury that might have occurred in his last game of the season, a February 5 contest against the Nashville Predators.
Quine’s season totals add up to be three assists in 21 games and his situation looks awfully similar to Shane Prince’s.
Like Quine, Prince was a late addition to the Islanders 2015-16 roster and his late regular-season/post-season play earned him a two-year, one-way deal. Both started the year hurt and with the exception of two games played by Prince to finish off the season, both finished it injured too. Both are 25-year-old pending restricted free agents in need of a new deal. The question is, will either of them get one?