NHL, Sports

So Long, Ricky: The Rick DiPietro Saga Has Mercifully Come To An End

rick-dipietro

 

 

 

News broke tonight that the Islanders would be placing Rick DiPietro on waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract. The Islanders will have to pay him $1.5 million over the next 16 (!) years. The 31-year-old goaltender will become an unrestricted free agent on July 5th.

It ends a 13 year relationship between DP and the New York Islanders, where DiPietro’s career became the stuff of legends, just not in a good way.

In 2000, he became the first goaltender ever to be drafted first overall by the absolutely batshit insane Mike Milbury New York Islanders even though the Islanders had another young stud goaltender named Roberto Luongo.

It is hard to feel bad for someone who signs a 15-year contract that pays $4.5 million dollars per year, but DiPietro’s hockey career became a tragedy shortly after he signed his ludicrous contract.

He got his first taste of NHL life in 2000, but didn’t really come into his own until 2003, when the Isles traded away stop-gap goalie Chris Osgood to the Blues. After Osgood’s departure it became clear it was DP time.

Known for his cocky flair and penchant for handling the puck, DiPietro gave long-suffering Islander fans a reason to come to Nassau Coliseum. Then he gave them reason to stay away.

After two promising seasons Islander owner Charles Wang rewarded the Massachusetts native with the landmark deal. DiPietro came out in 2006 with something to prove and helped the Isles clinch a playoff berth. In February of that year though, DiPietro collided with Canadiens’ forward Steve Begin and left the game concussed. It started a horribly surreal string of injuries that ended up turning DP into one of the biggest busts in NHL history.

Islander fans have always had a weird relationship with Ricky. He was an exciting young goalie when he was coming through the ranks, and all signs pointed to him being a successful netminder for the Isles.

After the crazy contract and the injuries, fans began to sour on Rick and held him responsible for the team’s lack of success. DiPietro rehabbed endlessly to try to get his contract back on track but when he played, he didn’t play well — and at times cost his team a chance to win.

Since 2008, DP has played just 50 games for the Islanders and won only 14 times. He didn’t record a win during his latest comeback with the team, going 0-3 with a 4.01 Goals Against Average and a .855 Save Percentage.

It is too bad that DiPietro’s career became such a joke because the man had such high hopes for himself and wanted to bring the Stanley Cup back to Long Island. Nobody ever questioned his desire or will to win, it just became too much to overcome.

 

This likely ends the career of Rick DiPietro — not with a bang, but a whimper.