New York Islanders’ 50-Goal Scorers

The NHL came to Long Island in 1972, and unlike some teams, it didn’t take long for them to get their franchise’s first 50-goal scorer. In just six seasons, the New York Islanders would have their first player crack the milestone.

Mike Bossy, Pat LaFontaine and Pierre Turgeon

As it turns out, that player would go on to hit the 50-goal plateau nine times – the most of any NHL player, ever. After him, only three other Islanders have hit the mark. While they didn’t hit it nearly as many times, their feats are impressive in their own ways.

The Islanders’ Almost-50-Goal Scorers

Other than the four players that accomplished the milestone, not many Islanders’ players have come close to the mark. In fact, just one other player has – Ziggy Palffy. In the 1996-97 season, Palffy scored 48 goals, which turned out to be his career-high in just his second full season. That campaign was sandwiched between two other 40-goal finishes, with 43 in 1995-96 and 45 in 1997-98.

Mike Bossy

Nine-Time Member of the Islanders’ 50-Goal Club

Scored 53 goals in 73 games during the 1977-78 season.

Scored 69 goals in 80 games during the 1978-79 season.

Scored 51 goals in 75 games during the 1979-80 season.

Scored 64 goals in 80 games during the 1980-81 season.

Scored 50 goals in 80 games during the 1981-82 season.

Scored 60 goals in 79 games during the 1982-83 season.

Scored 51 goals in 67 games during the 1983-84 season.

Scored 58 goals in 76 games during the 1984-85 season.

Scored 61 goals in 80 games during the 1985-86 season.

I know what you’re thinking, that’s a long list and a lot of goals. Mike Bossy came into the league and played just 10 seasons, hitting the impressive 50-goal plateau nine times. In fact, that mark is tied with Wayne Gretzky for the most 50-goal seasons for one player. Bossy remains the franchise leader in goals with 573, as well as the single-season Islanders leader for goals with his 1978-79 performance of 69 goals.

Mike Bossy 50 Goals
Canadian hockey player Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders on the ice, February 1982. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Bossy came to the Islanders in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft, selected 15th overall. He became a sensation right away, potting 53 goals in his rookie year, winning the Calder Trophy for his efforts.

In 1980-81, he became only the second player to ever hit the 50-in-50 (50 goals in 50 games) since the Maurice “Rocket” Richard did it. Entering his 50th game that season, Bossy had 48 goals, he went scoreless for most of the game, until the last five minutes when he scored twice. Richard was on site to congratulate him on matching the thought-to-be-impossible feat.

Related: 50 in 50 for Mike Bossy

He went on to become a huge part of the Islanders dynasty that won four straight Stanley Cups in the 1980s. They remain the only Cups the Isles have won.

The legendary Islander was a part of the Trio Grande, a line consisting of Bossy, Clark Gillies and Bryan Trottier – more on him later. The three formed a line as soon as Bossy hit the league, and became one of the deadliest lines in NHL history.

Not only is Bossy a member of the 50-goal club, on nine separate occasions, but he did it in his first nine seasons. That’s an NHL record that has never been matched and is very likely to never be matched. His goal totals were good enough to lead the league in goals twice, while helping him win a Conn Smythe Trophy and three Lady Byng Memorial Trophies, on top of his Calder.

At just 30 years old, Bossy didn’t play the 1987-88 season due to trying to find medical help for a chronic back injury. A year later he officially retired.

Bryan Trottier

Member of the Islanders’ 50-Goal Club

Scored 50 goals in 80 games during the 1981-82 season.

Bryan Trottier New York Islanders
Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

I told you there’d be more on Trottier, he’s a member of the 50-goal club as well. This Islanders’ legend wasn’t the goal-scorer like Bossy was, but he was everything else for the team through their dynasty years. In fact, Trottier still holds the franchise records for games (1,123), assists (853) and points (1,353).

Within the Trio Grande line, there was the legendary duo of Bossy and Trottier. While Trottier is one of the best players to ever play the game, even making the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players list, a lot of his point totals are linked with Bossy. In the lone season that Trottier scored his 50 goals, Bossy put up a career-high 83 assists and 147 points.

Related: 10 of the Greatest Dynamic Duos in NHL History

The two players were incredible together, but Trottier was a star before Bossy came and remained one after he left through his 15 seasons with the Islanders. Just like Bossy, Trottier won the Calder Trophy and added a Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and a Conn Smythe Trophy right next to his four Stanley Cups with the team.

While he’s a one-time member of the 50-goal club, he came close on a couple of other occasions. In the 1977-78 season, his first with Bossy, he scored 46 goals, followed by 47 the next season and 42 after that. He cracked the 40-goal plateau once more in his career, in 1983-84.

Pat LaFontaine

Member of the Islanders’ 50-Goal Club

Scored 54 goals in 74 games during the 1989-90 season.

It took an Islanders player only four seasons after Bossy’s last 50-goal season for another to hit it. As Bossy was ending his stay on Long Island, Pat LaFontaine was taking over.

Islanders legend Pat LaFontaine (THW Archives)

LaFontaine was the third-overall pick in 1983 for the Islanders and started playing full-time in the NHL for the 1984-85 season. He played three seasons with Bossy and seven seasons with Trottier. His goal totals increased for the first four full seasons when he finally cracked the 40-goal mark, where he would stay for the rest of his time as an Islander.

In 1987-88, LaFontaine reached 47 goals, his highest total yet. He followed that up with his first-ever drop in goals, although he was still close to 50, with 45. Finally, in 1989-90, the centreman hit the 50-goal mark, finishing the season with 54, which would remain his career-high.

His streak of over 40 goals continued though, hitting 41 the following season before he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres where he hit 50 goals once more, int he 1992-93 season. He also recorded 148 points that season, an American-born, NHL record.

Related: Buffalo Sabres’ 50-Goal Scorers

LaFontaine is also on the 100 Greatest Players list, and it is believed that if concussions didn’t end his career, he could have become the all-time points leader among American-born players.

Pierre Turgeon

Member of the Islanders’ 50-Goal Club

Scored 58 goals in 83 games during the 1992-93 season.

The final member of the Islanders 50-goal club, so far, is another Long Island legend in Pierre Turgeon. And while Bossy left when LaFontaine came to town, Turgeon was actually in the trade that sent LaFontaine to the Sabres.

Pierre Turgeon New York Islanders
Pierre Turgeon, New York Islanders, 1992 (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)

Turgeon spent four seasons with the Islanders and brought with him a prolific scoring ability. He actually scored at a higher rate with New York than any of his five other teams. In 255 games, he had 147 goals, 193 assists and 340 points. That’s 0.58 goals per game and 1.33 points per game.

It came to a peak in the 1992-93 season when he had career-highs in every category with 58 goals, 74 assists and 132 points. Shockingly, he still finished with a minus-1 rating.

Turgeon never really came close to 50 goals other than that. In the campaign prior, he had 40, split between the Sabres and the Islanders. The season following his 132 points, he finished with 38 goals, before dropping to 24 between the Islanders and Montreal Canadiens in 1994-95. He was traded to the Canadiens in what turned out to be a very bad trade for New York.

While he didn’t last long as an Islander, Turgeon’s career year ended up being one of the best seasons in Isles’ history. For that, he will forever remain a legend on Long Island.