Hey, New York Islander fans, remember Mariusz Czerkawski? It's only been a few years, so I'm sure many of you know who I'm talking about. The Polish Prince spent six years with the Islanders organization, and played his best hockey there.
Czerkawski was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 1991 Entry Draft. He didn't join the NHL right away. Instead, he joined the Swedish team Djurgarden to improve his game. After three seasons there he made his debut for the Bruins in the 1993-1994 season.
In the 1995-1996 season, Mariusz started at Boston and finished with the Edmonton Oilers. A year later he had his best season to date with 47 points (26g, 21a) in 76 games. This would be Czerkawski's last year as an Oiler.
The following year he was traded to the New York Islanders for Dan Lacouture. His first season was a struggle, with only 25 points (12g, 13a) in 68 games. However, in each of the next four seasons Czerkawski would go on to score more than 20 goals.
In 1999-2000, he had his best season with 70 points (35g, 35a), and was chosen to play in the NHL All-Star Game. It was the first time a Polish player had been chosen to participate in this illustrious contest.
Three years later, Mariusz joined the Montreal Canadiens—a bad choice. He had only 14 points (5g, 9a) in 43 games, so he made the move back to Long Island the season after—a wise choice.
He got back into form with 49 points (25g, 24a) that season—his last as an Islander. Czerkawski played for the Toronto Maple Leafs after the NHL lock-out. The combination of his game not being 100 percent and Pat Quinn constantly benching him saw his reign in Toronto end quickly.
Unsurprisingly, Quinn hasn't coached in the NHL since that year. Czerkawski's last 16 games in 2005-2006 were with the Boston Bruins and he tallied five points (4g, 1a). The native of Radomsko, Poland would play the next two years in the Swiss League.
This past summer saw the retirement of the Polish Prince. He totaled 435 points (215g, 220a) in 745 career NHL games. The career is over, but not forgotten.