Mike Mottau's decision to sign with the New York Islanders will increase to eight the number of players who've played for the New York area's three franchises -- the Isles, Rangers and New Jersey Devils.
Mottau, a Hobey Baker winner as the top player in NCAA college hockey in 1999-2000, started his NHL career by spending parts of the next two seasons with the Rangers, who traded him to Calgary in 2002. He played four games with the Flames in 2002-03, then spent four seasons in the minors before winning a job with the Devils in 2007. The 32-year-old had all 7 of his NHL goals and 50 of his 53 points with the Devils during the past three seasons.
Mottau is the third defenseman to play for all three New York-area teams, joining Vladimir Malakhov and Joel Bouchard. Malakhov spent his first two-plus seasons with the Islanders and later won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2000 before playing four seasons with the Rangers and another back in New Jersey. Bouchard barely made the list, playing only one game for New Jersey in 2001-02 before spending pieces of two seasons with the Rangers and part of 2005-06 with the Islanders.
Forwards Pat Conacher and Sergei Nemchinov also played for all three teams. Conacher, a 1979 draft pick by the Rangers, spent parts of two seasons with the Blueshirts before playing pieces of four seasons in New Jersey and 13 games on Long Island in 1995-96. Nemchinov won Stanley Cups with the Rangers in 1994 and Devils in 2000. He spent six seasons with the Rangers, nearly two seasons with the Islanders and two-plus seasons with New Jersey.
Three goaltenders have played for all three NYC-area teams, though John Vanbiesbrouck is generally identified with the Rangers, who drafted him in 1981. Beezer was a Ranger until 1993, when he went to Florida in the expansion draft -- missing out on the team's Stanley Cup run the following spring. He played six seasons with Florida and two with Philadelphia before joining the Islanders in 2000. The Islanders traded him to the Devils at the 2001 trade deadline, and he spent the rest of that season and part of the next one backing up Martin Brodeur.
Mike Dunham, now the Islanders' goaltending coach, finished his career on Long Island in 2006-07 after starting in New Jersey as a backup to Brodeur in 1996-97. He spent two seasons as a Devil and five with Nashville before joining the Rangers for two seasons.
Kevin Weekes completed his career with two seasons in New Jersey, also backing up Brodeur. That came after two seasons with the Rangers, where he was supplanted by Henrik Lundqvist. Weekes also played 36 games for the Islanders in 1999-2000. The Devils were the last of seven teams Weekes played for during his career.
Author: John Kreiser | NHL.com Columnist