My Islanders Account

NEWS

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

Time to make a statement

Entering the final year of his entry-level deal, Sound Tigers forward Justin DiBenedetto knows this is his most important pro season to date

Saturday, 07.16.2011 / 4:53 PM ET / News
By Jamie Palatini
X
Share with your Friends


Time to make a statement
Coming into the 2010-11 season, Justin DiBenedetto was looking to make a statement.

The Maple, ON native had back-to-back 93-point seasons with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League to end his junior career, but only totaled 14 points (six goals, eight points) in his first AHL season with the Sound Tigers.

Last season, DiBenedetto broke out in a big way, recording offensive career-highs in goals (19), assists (11) and points (30) as well as earning his first career NHL call-up.

“The first half of the year, I had an injury that set me back,” DiBenedetto said. “But I worked hard on and off the ice. When I came back, I made the most of the opportunity.”

Justin DiBenedetto taking at knee on Nassau Coliseum ice, listening to the coaches at Islanders Mini-Camp on Wednesday, July 13, 2011.
DiBenedetto had just three goals his first 19 games with the Sound Tigers, missing half of the team’s games due to injury. However, he returned to net 16 goals in his final 32 games in Bridgeport, earned a spot on the top line and became a go-to guy offensively.

It all paid off in late February, when DiBenedetto got the call to pack his bags and head to Long Island. Although some players could be intimidated by hitting the big stage, DiBenedetto found comfort in some familiar faces.

“When I got that call, it was the best call of my life,” DiBenedetto said. “You grow up dreaming of that moment. When I got here, at least a quarter of the team had played with me on the Sound Tigers, so it was great…a real easy transition for me.”

Before he got that call, he played his best hockey of his pro career with a team that was decimated due to injuries and call-ups. Despite that tough stretch with the Sound Tigers, DiBenedetto took positives away from that experience.

“You just have to stick with your teammates through adversity,” DiBenedetto said. “We had a stretch of 21 or 22 losses in 24 games, and it was real tough. But you learn from that and I felt the experience made me a better player.”

DiBenedetto recorded an assist in his eight-game stint with the Islanders in March before finishing the season with the Sound Tigers. When he returned to the Sound Tigers, he was one of the oldest players on the ice despite being in just his second professional season.

“By the end of the season, a lot of the older guys had either been called up or were injured,” DiBenedetto explained. “I felt like I took a leadership role and it was good to feel what that was like.”

Now in the final season of his three-year entry-level deal, DiBenedetto knows that this is his most important pro season to date.

“I’m looking at this year as a big opportunity for me,” DiBenedetto explained. “It’s the final year of my entry-level deal and I want to make a statement. Last year, I got called up and was just happy to be there. This year, I want to come to camp, contribute and make the team.”

The 6’0, 188-pound forward is known for his quick shot, speed and ability to agitate the opponents. He recognizes the importance of improving all facets of his game if he’s going to take that next step.

“I think you just need to work on everything during the offseason,” DiBenedetto said. “Whether it’s my speed, my shot, my strength…at the next level, you’ve got to be good at everything.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 50 20 23 -2 43
K. Okposo 51 15 28 -9 43
F. Nielsen 53 15 19 -1 34
B. Nelson 53 20 11 -1 31
M. Grabovski 53 9 16 3 25
A. Lee 53 9 15 0 24
J. Bailey 52 9 15 4 24
N. Leddy 53 3 21 -7 24
R. Strome 42 6 15 -4 21
C. Cizikas 53 5 12 5 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 13 11 4 .918 2.27
T. Greiss 15 6 2 .929 2.24
Transportation
Pro Shops
Islanders TV
Iceworks
NewYorkIslanders.com is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and NewYorkIslanders.com are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy |  AdChoices |  Terms of Use |  Contact  Us |  Employment |  Webmaster |  NHL.com Terms of Use