UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- In the week leading up to the start of the NHL season, New York Islanders GM Garth Snow kept busy by keeping an eye on the waiver wire. With a need for depth, he plucked four players from waivers -- Joe Finley, Thomas Hickey, Keith Aucoin, and Brian Strait -- and each has played roles in the team's start.
The 34-year old Aucoin is the elder statesman of that foursome. Having spent the past four seasons in the Washington Capitals organization, and the three prior to that with the Carolina Hurricanes, he doesn't fit the description of a "journeyman," but bouncing back and forth between the AHL and NHL every season could make him feel like one.
Aucoin signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs over the summer after playing 27 regular season games and all 14 playoff games with the Capitals. Spending the lockout playing for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, Aucoin put up 10 goals and 37 points in 34 games before the Islanders acquired him two days in advance of opening night. Those games in the AHL helped give him a bit of a head start; a start that's seen Aucoin average 13:40 of ice time -- a career high -- and tie for the team lead in goals with four.
“It’s big to be able to play all year," Aucoin said after the Islanders' morning skate on Tuesday. "You come into camp and you’re already in shape and you’re in game-ready shape so you don’t have to worry about that, especially the first couple of games."
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