Michael-René Grabner (born 5 October 1987) is an Austrian former professional ice hockey player. Grabner grew up playing for the local team in Villach, EC VSV. He moved to North America at the age of 17 and joined the Spokane Chiefs of the major junior Western Hockey League (WHL) to further his hockey career. After his second season with the Chiefs, he was selected 14th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Michael Grabner
Grabner with the New York Islanders in 2015
Born (1987-10-05) 5 October 1987 (age 36)
Villach, Austria
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 181 lb (82 kg; 12 st 13 lb)
Position Right wing
Shot Left
Played for EC VSV
Vancouver Canucks
New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Rangers
New Jersey Devils
Arizona Coyotes
National team  Austria
NHL draft 14th overall, 2006
Vancouver Canucks
Playing career 2003–2020

Grabner played one more season in the WHL before moving to the American Hockey League (AHL), where he played two seasons in the Canucks' farm system. He was traded during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft to the Florida Panthers, but was claimed by the New York Islanders after Florida placed him on waivers with the intention of assigning him to their AHL affiliate. Grabner spent five seasons with the Islanders before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015. Internationally, Grabner has appeared for Austria in both junior and senior tournaments, and played in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Playing career


Early career


Grabner was born in Villach, and began playing hockey at the age of five.[1] He played in the 2001 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with a youth team from Austria.[2]

Grabner joined his EC VSV's junior team, scoring 10 points over 13 games in 2002–03. The following year, he improved to 32 goals and five assists over 23 games, while also debuting with EC VSV's men's team in the Austrian Hockey League. In the subsequent off-season, he was selected 22nd overall by the Spokane Chiefs in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft.[3] Grabner believed that playing major junior in North America would help his goal of making it to the NHL. He had been exposed to Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz through a connection with his head coach in EC VSV, Greg Holst.[4]

Grabner left Austria to join Spokane for the 2004–05 WHL season, but suffered a broken collarbone in his first exhibition game.[5] He missed approximately a month with the injury and scored his first WHL goal on 29 October 2004, in a 4–2 loss against the Seattle Thunderbirds.[6] He went on to record 13 goals and 24 points in his rookie season.

The following season, he improved to 36 goals and 50 points. Playing in his NHL draft year, he competed in the CHL Top Prospects Game and scored a goal and two assists.[7] Shortly thereafter, he notched his first WHL career hat trick on 4 February 2007, in a 7–5 win against the Tri-City Americans.[8] Grabner's draft stock went up significantly in the second half of the season, as he scored 22 goals in the final 23 games of 2005–06.[9]

He entered the 2006 NHL Entry Draft having been ranked 23rd overall among prospects playing in North America by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. He was chosen 14th overall by the Vancouver Canucks. Grabner was admittedly surprised to be chosen in that position of the draft, as he was projected to be a late first-round to early second-round pick.[9] He had been scouted as highly skilled offensively with his speed and his shot his strengths.[1]

He participated in his first NHL training camp in 2006, before being returned to the Chiefs for the 2006–07 season. Early in his third WHL season, he suffered a hip pointer after receiving a slash.[10] Due to lingering pain from the injury he was in and out of the lineup for several games before being sidelined for a month in November and early-December.[10] In mid-February, he recorded six goals in a span of three games to be named WHL and CHL Player of the Week ( 12–18 February 2007).[11] Grabner with 39 goals and 16 assists in 55 games for a point-per-game pace over the course of the season. However, he was criticized by his coach for his lack of physical play.[12]

Manitoba Moose and Vancouver Canucks

Grabner while a member of the Vancouver Canucks in 2009

After the Chiefs were eliminated from the 2007 WHL playoffs, Grabner joined the Canucks' American Hockey League affiliate, the Manitoba Moose for their final two games of the regular season and the playoffs. Grabner joined the Moose for his first full professional season in 2007–08, recording 44 points in 74 games as a rookie.

The following season, on 26 February 2009, Grabner was recalled by the Canucks to replace Pavol Demitra who suffered a fractured finger the night before. However, later that day, Grabner was reassigned to Manitoba after Demitra was deemed fit to play.[13] He finished his second season with the Moose improving to 30 goals, tied for the team lead with Jason Krog, and 48 points in 66 games, helping the Moose to the league's best regular season record. After eliminating the Toronto Marlies and Grand Rapids Griffins in the first two rounds of the 2009 playoffs, Grabner scored the series-clinching goal in the sixth game of the semifinals, a 3–1 win over the Houston Aeros.[14] Grabner finished with 17 points in 20 games as the Moose finished as Calder Cup runners-up.

Coming off a successful second AHL season, Grabner was expected to challenge for a roster spot at the Canucks' 2009–10 training camp, but was sent back down to the Moose before the start of the regular season.[15] After a quick start with the Moose, however, scoring four goals in five games, he was called up by the Canucks on 14 October 2009, to replace injured star winger Daniel Sedin.[16] Grabner then scored his first NHL goal on 21 October on the powerplay against Antti Niemi in a 3–2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks.[17] Nine games into his initial stint with the Canucks, however, he injured himself during a pre-game warmup on 1 November. Grabner was kicking a soccer ball around with teammates before a game against the Colorado Avalanche when he rolled over his ankle.[18]

Upon recovering, he returned to the Moose on 27 December 2009,[19] until being recalled on 17 March 2010, following an injury to Canucks forward Mikael Samuelsson.[20] On 2 April, Grabner scored his first NHL career hat trick in a 5–4 shootout win against the Anaheim Ducks.[21] Remaining with the club for the 2010 playoffs, Grabner notched his first career NHL post-season goal against Antti Niemi (the same goaltender he scored his first regular season goal against) on 1 May 2010, in the opening game of the second round against the Chicago Blackhawks.[22]

New York Islanders

Grabner skating with the New York Islanders during the 2012–13 season

During the 2010 NHL Entry Draft on 25 June 2010, Grabner was traded, along with Steve Bernier and the Canucks first round choice (the 25th selection, used to select Quinton Howden) to the Florida Panthers for Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich.[23] Grabner attended the Panthers training camp, but failed to make the team. On 3 October 2010, Grabner was placed on waivers by the Panthers, who intended to assign him to their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans. However, he was claimed by the New York Islanders two days later.[24]

Grabner played his first game with the Islanders on 11 October 2010, against the New York Rangers.[25] His first point with the Islanders came on 13 October,[26] and his first goal with the Islanders came against Craig Anderson of the Colorado Avalanche on 16 October.[27] In January 2011 Grabner was selected to participate in the 2011 SuperSkills as one of twelve rookies in the competition, winning the fastest skater competition with times of 14.061 and 14.238.[28][29] In February, Grabner led all rookies in scoring with 10 goals and 16 points. He also had a six-game goal scoring streak, which was the longest rookie streak since the 2006–07 season when Evgeni Malkin also scored in six straight. For his efforts Grabner was named rookie of the month.[30] He finished his rookie year with 34 goals and 52 points, his goal total leading all rookies, as well as the Islanders. Ranking third in rookie points Grabner earned a Calder Memorial Trophy nomination for NHL rookie of the year.[31][32] Following his successful rookie year the Islanders signed Grabner to a five-year, $15 million contract extension on 13 May 2011, backloaded to start at $1M and then increase by another $1M each year.[33]

Grabner with the New York Islanders in October 2013

On 21 October 2013, Grabner was suspended for two games for an illegal check to the head of Carolina Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe.[34] Later that season, on 27 February 2014, Grabner accomplished a rare feat, scoring two short handed goals on the same penalty kill in a 5-4 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs,[35] scoring both goals in a span of 46 seconds; Grabner became the first player to score two shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill since Ryan O'Reilly did it on 2 February 2010. However, O'Reilly scored two on a four-minute penalty kill, while Grabner did it during a standard two minute penalty.[35]

Toronto Maple Leafs


On 17 September 2015, after five seasons with the Islanders, Grabner was traded to Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Taylor Beck, Carter Verhaeghe, Matt Finn, Tom Nilsson, and goaltender Christopher Gibson, and made alternate captain of the Maple Leafs.[36] The trade was primarily to free up roster spots for the Maple Leafs, who were one away from the maximum of 50 organizational contracts.[37]

Throughout the year, Grabner failed to score at his previous pace as with the Islanders, but was a decent addition on the penalty kill and had some hot streaks.[38] Despite the decrease in production, the Maple Leafs had interest in bringing Grabner back. However, according to head coach Mike Babcock, a plethora of young players expected to make the roster the following season prevented the team from signing him; assistant coach D.J. Smith had a particularly strong desire for Grabner to stay in Toronto.[39]

New York Rangers


On 1 July 2016, Grabner signed a two-year, $3.2 million contract with the New York Rangers.[40] Grabner got off to a hot start with the Rangers, scoring his first hat-trick as a Ranger against the Tampa Bay Lightning on 30 October.[41] He finished second on the team in goals with 27, his highest single-season total since his rookie season in 2010–11.

New Jersey Devils


With the Rangers committed to a full rebuild, Grabner was traded on 22 February 2018 to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Yegor Rykov and a second-round draft pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. This marked the first ever trade between the two teams.[42] Grabner is the 11th player in NHL history to complete the "Hudson River Triple" (being a member of the Rangers, Islanders, and Devils), joining the likes of Sergei Nemchinov, Kevin Weekes, P. A. Parenteau among others.[43] Grabner was unable to replicate his offensive numbers with the Devils down the stretch of the regular season, contributing with just 2 goals and 5 points in 21 games.

Arizona Coyotes


As a free agent from the Devils in the off-season, Grabner agreed to a three-year, $10.05 million contract with the Arizona Coyotes on 1 July 2018.[44] After playing in 25 games for the Coyotes, garnering 11 points, Grabner was listed as being out indefinitely due to an eye injury as a result of a stick clipping his eye. He finished first in the NHL in the shorthanded goals category by the end of the season; of Grabner's nine total goals, six were scored shorthanded, despite playing in only 41 games (half the season) due to the eye injury.[45] After two seasons with the Coyotes, on 3 October 2020, Grabner was placed on waivers by the Coyotes and bought out from the final year of his contract.[46]

International play


Grabner made his international debut with Austria in Division I play of the 2004 IIHF World U18 Championships in Minsk, Belarus. Underaged for the tournament at sixteen-years-old,[3] he scored three goals and an assist in five games.[47] The following year, he competed for Austria in Division I of the 2005 World Junior Championships, held in Great Britain.[48] He recorded three points in four games as Austria finished third in Group A. Several months later, he was named to his second under-18 team for the 2005 IIHF World U18 Championships, where Austria again competed in Division I play. Grabner tied for second in team-scoring with four goals and an assists over five games.[49] Austria finished in fifth place out of six teams in Group A, coming within a loss of being relegated to Division II for the next year.[50] He joined Austria in their qualifying tournament for the 2010 Winter Olympics in early 2009 and led the four team tournament in scoring with five goals; Austria finished second to Germany and failed to qualify for the Olympics.[51]

It was during the 2012 World Championships that Grabner first played for the Austrian national team. Austria participated in Division IA, the second tier of the World Championships, and earned a promotion to the elite level for 2013.[52]

He also represented Austria in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, where he scored five goals and made one assist. He scored a hat-trick against Finland. He finished tied for first in goal-scoring and tied for fifth in points. He led Austria in scoring.[citation needed]

Personal life


On 31 March 2011, Grabner's wife Heather, whom he met while playing in Spokane, gave birth to a baby boy.[53]

Career statistics


Regular season and playoffs

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2002–03 VSV EC AUT U20 13 6 4 10 4
2003–04 VSV EC AUT U20 23 32 5 37 58
2003–04 VSV EC EBEL 14 2 1 3 0 4 1 0 1 0
2004–05 Spokane Chiefs WHL 58 13 11 24 18
2005–06 Spokane Chiefs WHL 67 36 14 50 28
2006–07 Spokane Chiefs WHL 55 39 16 55 34 6 0 1 1 2
2006–07 Manitoba Moose AHL 2 1 1 2 0 6 0 0 0 0
2007–08 Manitoba Moose AHL 74 22 22 44 8 6 3 0 3 2
2008–09 Manitoba Moose AHL 66 30 18 48 20 20 10 7 17 2
2009–10 Manitoba Moose AHL 38 15 11 26 6
2009–10 Vancouver Canucks NHL 20 5 6 11 8 9 1 0 1 0
2010–11 New York Islanders NHL 76 34 18 52 10
2011–12 New York Islanders NHL 78 20 12 32 12
2012–13 VSV EC EBEL 17 10 9 19 2
2012–13 New York Islanders NHL 45 16 5 21 12 6 1 3 4 0
2013–14 New York Islanders NHL 64 12 14 26 12
2014–15 New York Islanders NHL 34 8 5 13 4 2 0 1 1 2
2015–16 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 80 9 9 18 12
2016–17 New York Rangers NHL 76 27 13 40 10 12 4 2 6 0
2017–18 New York Rangers NHL 59 25 6 31 12
2017–18 New Jersey Devils NHL 21 2 3 5 4 2 0 0 0 0
2018–19 Arizona Coyotes NHL 41 9 7 16 8
2019–20 Arizona Coyotes NHL 46 8 3 11 6 9 3 0 3 6
NHL totals 640 175 101 276 110 40 9 6 15 8


Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
2004 Austria WJC18 Div I 5 3 1 4 4
2005 Austria WJC-I 4 1 2 3 2
2005 Austria WJC18 Div I 4 4 1 5 29
2009 Austria OLYQ 3 5 0 5 0
2012 Austria WC-IA 5 0 4 4 0
2014 Austria OLY 4 5 1 6 0
2016 Austria OLYQ 3 1 0 1 0
Junior totals 13 8 4 12 35
Senior totals 15 11 5 16 0


Awards and honours

Award Year
CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game 2006
Rookie of the Month (February) 2011
NHL All-Rookie Team 2011


  1. ^ a b Kinghorn, Kevin (26 September 2006). "Grabner On Top". Canucks.com. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2009.
  2. ^ "Pee-Wee players who have reached NHL or WHA" (PDF). Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Chiefs select Austrian in Import Draft". OurSports Central. 30 June 2004. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Climb every mountain". National Hockey League. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Chiefs with back-to-back home games". OurSports Central. 21 October 2004. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Thunderbirds rally in third for 4-2 victory". OurSports Central. 30 October 2004. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  7. ^ "Spokane Chiefs weekly release". OurSports Central. 20 February 2006. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  8. ^ "Chiefs rally last, top Americans Grabner's hat trick helps Spokane turn back Tri-City". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. 5 February 2006.
  9. ^ a b MacInnis, Matt (26 June 2006). "Q&A with Michael Grabner". HockeysFuture.com. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  10. ^ a b Bunch, Jeff (10 January 2007). "Grabner's moment". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  11. ^ CHL (23 February 2007). "Michael Grabner Named CHL Player of the Week". Hockey's Future. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  12. ^ "Prospect Michael Grabner Profile". HockeysFuture.com. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  13. ^ Devji, Farhan (7 March 2009). "Ever so close". canucks.com. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  14. ^ "Manitoba, Hershey to play for AHL's Calder Cup". CBC. 25 May 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
  15. ^ "Canucks send Schneider, Grabner to AHL". The Sports Network. 28 September 2009. Archived from the original on 9 December 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
  16. ^ "Canucks recall Grabner from AHL". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  17. ^ CBC Sports (21 October 2009). "Canucks rally over Blackhawks". CBC.ca. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  18. ^ White, John (2 November 2009). "Soccer warm-up leads to ankle injury for Grabner". winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
  19. ^ Mahiban, Dhiren (22 January 2010). "Timing is everything". National Hockey League. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
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  21. ^ Kreiser, John (2 April 2010). "Canucks beat Ducks in shootout to clinch playoff berth". NHL.com. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  22. ^ Lozo, Dave (1 May 2010). "Canucks get jump on Hawks with 5-1 win in opener". NHL.com. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  23. ^ NHL.com (25 June 2010). "Florida Deals D Ballard To Vancouver". FloridaPanthers.com. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  24. ^ LeBourdais, Dyan (6 October 2010). "Grabner Happy to get Another Chance". NewYorkIslanders.com. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  25. ^ Hornick, Eric (12 October 2010). "The Skinny — Game 2". NewYorkIslanders.com. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  26. ^ Hornick, Eric (14 October 2010). "The Skinny — Game 3". NewYorkIslanders.com. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  27. ^ Compton, Brian (17 October 2010). "Islanders roll over Avs 5-2". NHL.com. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  28. ^ LeBourdias, Dyan (11 January 2011). "Michael Grabner Named Rookie All-Star". NewYorkIslanders.com. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  29. ^ Morreale, Mike G. (29 January 2011). "Grabner bests Hall in rookie speed-skating duel". NHL.com. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  30. ^ "Isles' Grabner named February 'Rookie of the Month'". National Hockey League. 2 March 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  31. ^ "2010–11 Rookie goal leaders". NHL.com. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  32. ^ "Couture, Grabner, Skinner vie for NHL rookie honor". NHL.com. Associated Press. 19 April 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  33. ^ "Islanders Sign Grabner to Five-Year Extension". TSN. Associated Press. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  34. ^ "Isles' Michael Grabner Suspended 2 Games For Illegal Check To Head". WCBS News New York. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  35. ^ a b "Islanders F Michael Grabner scores two shorthanded goals on same penalty". theScore Inc. 27 February 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
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  37. ^ "The Michael Grabner Trade: A look at asset and roster management". Maple Leafs Hot Stove. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  38. ^ "Grabner scores pair as Rangers drop Leafs". TSN. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  39. ^ "Quick Shifts: Why did the Maple Leafs let Michael Grabner go?". Sportsnet. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  40. ^ "Rangers agree to terms with Michael Grabner". New York Rangers. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  41. ^ "Michael Grabner pots hat trick; Rangers overwhelm Lightning". Sportsnet. Associated Press. 30 October 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
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  44. ^ "Coyotes sign Grabner to three-year contract". Arizona Coyotes. 1 July 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  45. ^ "Grabner out indefinitely for Coyotes with eye injury". NHL.com. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  46. ^ "Coyotes place F Grabner on buyout waivers". The Sports Network. 3 October 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  47. ^ "Player Statistics For Team" (PDF). International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  48. ^ "Grabner Joins Austrian National Team". OurSports Central. 9 December 2004. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  49. ^ "Player Statistics By Team". International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  50. ^ "2005 IIHF World U18 Championships Div I Group A". International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  51. ^ Jory, Derek (18 February 2009). "An attention Grabner". Canucks.com. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  52. ^ Merk, Martin (20 April 2012). "It's great to be back". IIHF.com. Archived from the original on 21 January 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  53. ^ "Delivering A Baby? Take It From Grabner -- Kill Time On Twitter". HeadToTheNet. Archived from the original on 25 October 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  54. ^ "Michael Grabner". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by Vancouver Canucks first round draft pick
Succeeded by