Where Are They Now? Rick DiPietro

This week we check in on what former Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro is doing with his hockey career after the Islanders bought out his 15 year contract this summer.

A short recap of his time on Long Island, DiPietro was drafted first overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft and made his Islanders debut during the 2000-2001 season going 3-15 in net. DiPietro at the time was only the 4th American born hockey player to be taken first overall in the draft. One highlight of the early days of his career was representing team USA in the 2006 Winter Olympics a team that was coached by former Islanders head coach Peter Laviolette. He was the starter for 4 of the 6 games and had a record of 1-3 with a 2.28 goals against average.

On September 12, 2006, DiPietro signed a 15-year, $67.5 million contract with the franchise shortly after Garth Snow became General Manager. Shortly after signing the contract, injuries became part of his career and DiPietro missed a lot of time from the 2006-2007 season through last year with various injuries and it resulted to poor play on the ice. Last year in the few chances DiPietro got to play as Evgeni Nabokov’s backup were struggles and was shortly placed on waivers and sent to Bridgeport and finished last season in the AHL. Luckily for the Islanders, the new CBA allowed a buyout option and in July, GM Garth Snow made the decision to part ways with Rick DiPietro. His record with the Islanders over an 11 year span was 130-136-36 in 318 games played. In the playoffs he was only 2-7 in 10 career starts. (Photo Credit: Dinur/Flickr)

The new CBA signed in January was an opportunity for both sides to start fresh. Unfortunately for Rick DiPietro it wasn’t as quickly as he might have thought as he didn’t have an opportunity to earn a training camp invite and begin a new chapter in the NHL. An opportunity recently came for DiPietro to return to the NHL but once again it was going through the minor leagues and the AHL to begin his post Islanders career.

On October 26th it was reported that DiPietro had signed a professional tryout contract with the Charlotte Checkers, the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes. It was an opportunity through injuries as Cam Ward the Hurricanes top goalie is currently injured and out at least 4 weeks. A new start for DiPietro has begun and the road back to the NHL is still in question but this was a chance he couldn’t pass up.  Last night he made his debut for the Checkers, a 5-2 loss to Grand Rapids. This was DiPietro’s first game action since April when he played for the Sound Tigers.

My Take

The new CBA signed in January was a great opportunity to part ways with Rick DiPietro who clearly wasn’t living up to the contract he signed in 2006. The Islanders organization did everything they could to make it work with DiPietro but it wasn’t enough and it was clearly the best move on both sides. This move also ended the reminding of the Mike Milbury regime and can focus on the future and what’s important now and that is the current team on the ice each night for the Islanders.

-John Santamaria

Follow me @JSantamariaNY and follow us @TCLIsles