The Butch Goring trade that Bill Torrey pulled off in 1980 will probably always be the best in New York Islanders’ history. However, New York made a pair of moves in 1975 within two days of each other that completely changed the Islanders’ season in 1975.
As the season was going on, Torrey learned that the Minnesota North Stars were looking to move two crafty forwards. Following a disappointing 5-3 loss at home to the New York Rangers on Jan. 4, Torrey made his first big move the following day, acquiring J.P. Parise from Minnesota for Ernie Hicke and Doug Rombough.
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Two days later, the Islanders’ general manager struck again, acquiring Jude Drouin for Craig Cameron on Jan. 7. At the time, the Islanders were holding a record of 15-15-9. They went on to win that night at home 5-3 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and finished the season 18-10-7 to earn their first-ever trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
J.P. and I were pretty good hockey players and we thought Bill (Torrey) really got the better of that deal. We were delighted to come to the Island because we saw so much potential in the young team.Jude Drouin, NHL.com
In the playoffs, the Islanders began their quest against none other than their crosstown rivals in the Rangers. The two teams split the first two games, and it was the pair of acquisitions that gave the Islanders their first playoff series win in franchise history. Drouin set up Parise all alone in front to give the team an overtime win 11 seconds into the extra session.
The two would switch spots later in Game 4 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Semifinal, as Parise this time set up Drouin for the team’s first win in their series against the Montreal Canadiens. This all came after the Islanders erased a 3-0 deficit and became only the second team ever in NHL history to come back and win the final four games.
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Parise went on to have his best postseason in his career by scoring eight goals and picking up eight assists. For Drouin, he had 6 goals and 12 assists as the two combined for 33 points in 17 playoff games in 1975.
Parise and Drouin Statistics
While it was toward the end of Parise’s career, he still had a couple of solid seasons left following their playoff run. He helped the Islanders get back to the Semifinal the following year by scoring 22 goals in the regular season and another four in the postseason.
His next season, he scored 25 goals, which was the second most he ever scored in a season and was eventually traded in 1977-78 with Jean Potvin for Wayne Merrick, Darcy Reiger and the Cleveland Barons fourth-round pick in the 1978 draft.
For Drouin, he would also play for the Islanders up through the 1977-78 season as his production dropped. He only scored 5 goals in 56 games that season but had back-to-back 20-goal seasons in his first two in New York.
While neither player was able to win a Stanley Cup with the Islanders, they each played a pivotal role in some of the playoff series leading up to their four-straight Stanley Cups. Parise eventually had his youngest son, Zach, make it to the NHL and got to see him lead the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2012.
Unfortunately, he went on to lose his life in 2015 after a battle with lung cancer at 93. Drouin is currently 71 years old and has been to a handful of Islander alumni events over the years.