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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ziggy hangs them up

He hasn't been an Islander this century, but one of the most popular Isles of the late 1990s has announced his retirement at age 41.

Ziggy Pallfy last played in the NHL in 2005-06 with Pittsburgh but he has his place in Isles lore for being the best player on some bad Islander teams in the early years of the Milbury era.

Palffy, who actually played his first five games for Al Arbour in 1993-94, scored two goals in the opener of the abbreviated 1995 season, and despite some troubles his rookie year, never really stopped scoring.

Palffy's NHL totals were 329-384-713 in 684 games, but he also compiled tremendous totals in Europe, including 26-47-73 in 39 games this past season.  Palffy played in three Olympics for Slovakia, and was even the country's flagbearer in 2010 in Vancouver.

Perhaps one of Mike Milbury's best moves as an Islander GM was one that he didn't make.  With ownership pressuring Milbury to cut payroll at any cost, the Rangers wanted to acquire Palffy.   

Instead, Palffy was dealt to Los Angeles on June 20, 1999.  The Isles ended up with two players who are still in the NHL (Olli Jokinen and Taylor Pyatt, who they drafted six days later) in the deal but neither did much in an Isles uniform.

Palffy had scored 168 goals by the time the Isles traded him away (just over half of his NHL total); he was 12th in Isles history in goals when he was traded, and perhaps amazingly he is still 12th today.   John Tavares and Matt Moulson are the active leaders with 112 goals for the Isles.

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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