The Franchise Four. The Mount Rushmore. Four players who tell the story of an organization. In this series I’ll be taking a look at the history of all 30 NHL squads. For criteria, I’m choosing one forward, defenceman, goaltender and a wild card from any position.
Since entering the NHL in 1972, the New York Islanders have won four Stanley Cup titles in 42 seasons.
During said time frame, the Islanders have iced the likes of Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Billy Smith, Clark Gillies, Bob Nystrom, Pat LaFontaine, Ken Morrow, Brent Sutter, Bob Bourne, Derek King, John Tonelli, Pat Flatley, John Tavares, Ziggy Palffy, Glenn “Chico” Resch, Pierre Turgeon, Stefan Persson and Kelly Hrudey.
So, which players make their “Franchise Four?”
4. The Goalie – Billy Smith
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Smith helped backstop the Islanders to four Stanley Cup titles. Smith’s postseason exploits include, leading the league in goals against average twice and shutouts three times. Smith won the 1982-83 Conn Smythe Trophy, posting a 2.68 goals against average and two shutouts. Smith was also an All-Star in 1978, won the Vezina Trophy in 1981-82 and won the William M. Jennings Trophy in 1982-83. In Isles franchise history, Smith ranks first in games (675) and wins (304) and second in shutouts with 22.
3. The Wild Card – Bryan Trottier
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Trottier burst onto the scene with the Isles, recording 32-goals, 63-assists and 95-points, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1975-76. Posting a league best 87 helpers and 134 points, Trottier won the Hart Memorial Trophy in 1978-79 and the Art Ross Trophy. The ensuing season, Trottier bested all postseason scorers with 12 tallies and 29 points and won the Conn Smythe Trophy. Trottier also led the Isles in playoff assists in 1980-81 and assists and points in 1981-82. During the regular season, Trottier registered one 50-goal season, five seasons of 40-markers or more and eleven seasons of 30-tallies or more. Trottier also won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1988-89. In Islanders club history, Trottier ranks first in games (1,123), second in goals (500), first in assists (853), points (1,353), plus/minus (470) and second in even strength goals (325), power play goals (158) and game-winning goals (68). With the Islanders, Trottier was a seven-time All-Star and helped New York win four consecutive Stanley Cup titles.
2. The Defenseman – Denis Potvin
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Like Trottier, Potvin made an early splash on the Island, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1973-74, with 54 points across 77 contests. Patrolling the blue line, Potvin was a three-time James Norris Memorial Trophy winner. A nine-time All-Star and Captain of a four-time Stanley Cup winning squad, Potvin registered 108 points across 185 postseason games and 1,052 points in 1,060 regular season contests. In Islanders club history, Potvin ranks second in games (1,060), third in goals (310), second in assists (742), third in points (1,052), second in plus/minus (460) and fourth in penalty minutes (1,356). While he was a physical force on defense, upon his retirement, Potvin led all NHL blueliners in goals and points.
1. The Forward – Mike Bossy
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The immensely clutch Bossy helped lead the Isles to four consecutive Stanley Cup titles. A seven-time All-Star, Bossy, like the aforementioned Potvin and Trottier, won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1977-78, leading the league with 25 power play goals. The ensuing season, Bossy topped all scorers with 69 markers, 42 even strength and 27 with the extra attacker. In 1980-81, Bossy became the second player in NHL history to reach 50-goals in 50 games, totaling a league best 68, including 28 on the power play and ten game-winning tallies. Bossy was also a three-time Lady Byng Memorial Trophy recipient. Across ten seasons, Bossy registered five seasons of 60 plus goals and nine seasons of 50 plus tallies. A Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 1981-82, Bossy led all postseason goal scorers for three consecutive seasons, from 1980-83, netting 17 each year. Along with 160 points across 129 playoff contests, Bossy notched 17 game-winning goals. In Islanders franchise history, Bossy ranks first in goals (573), even strength goals (384), power play goals (181), game winning goals (82), third in assists (553) and second in points (1,126).
Michael Gwizdala covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Michael is also an Associate Producer at WNYT NewsChannel 13. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.