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May 03, 2016

Ron Handy

The New York Islanders thought Ron Handy was a good mid-round draft selection in 1981. They drafted small forward with a good nose for the net 57th overall.

In just his first year of junior he scored 43 goals and 86 points. Over the course of his junior career Handy improved. He scored 50 goals the next year, and 52 in his final season. That final season he added 96 assists for 148 points.

Meanwhile on Long Island, the Islanders were in the midst of their Stanley Cup dynasty. By the time Handy turned pro, the Isles had already won four consecutive Cups.

The Islanders had to be pleased with Handy's scoring exploits in junior. While they were the undisputed kings of the NHL at the time, the Islanders knew that sooner or later the key players would get older, and they would have to tap into their development system for new players and more scoring if they wanted to continue to be on top. Ron Handy was definitely going to be counted on in the future.

But not in his rookie pro year. Handy was sent to the Indianapolis Checkers of the CHL. He had a good year offensively, scoring 29 goals and 75 points in 66 games. He never did get called up to New York, who ended up just shy of winning their 5th consecutive championship that year.

Handy's production slipped ever so slightly in 1984-85. He scored 29 goals and 64 points in 69 games. Some felt that Handy's development was stalled with the Isles farm system, now located the AHL. The Isles called up Handy to give him a look. Handy however failed to impress, picking up just 2 assists in 10 games.

Handy returned to the AHL the following year, but went back to his first pro town of Indianapolis in 1986-87. The Checkers were now part of the IHL, a loosey-goosey offensive league at the time. Handy posted his best numbers ever, scoring 55 goals and 135 points!

His scoring exploits caught the attention of the St. Louis Blues who signed him in the summer of 1987. However it was a similar story to New York. Handy got a brief look with 4 games in St. Louis, picking up 1 assist.

Handy never played in the NHL again. He returned to the IHL, which complimented his style of hockey nicely. Handy was a top player in the minor leagues for years. He gained a reputation as a top playoff performer, as eight times he scored more points in the post season than he had games played. He is the proud owner of three Playoff MVP awards (1992, 1994, and 1995) and has also picked up three championships (Indianapolis-IHL and two with Wichita-CHL).

Handy played over 1000 professional games, scoring more than 1300 career points. However only 3 of those points came in the NHL.

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