The New York Islanders cup era starting six wasn’t only the best lineup the Islanders ever put out. It’s the best starting six in NHL history too.
NBC Sports fired off a tweet yesterday asking if the New York Islanders lineup of Clark Gillies, Brian Trottier, Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Ken Morrow, and Billy Smith is the best lineup they ever put out.
Without question, this is the best lineup the Islanders ever put out. That’s why they won four Stanley Cups in a row and went to a fifth.
Clark Gillies on the left side was an absolute stud. He slowed down after the 1982 season but in the first three years of the Islanders winning Stanley Cups he put up 54, 78, and 77 points. He was also an extremely hard-nosed player.
Brian Trottier, who centered that line, was just silly good. During the Islanders cup years, he had 104, 103, 129, and 89 points. He finished his career with 1,425 points in 1,279 games. That’s unreal.
Perhaps the best of them all was on the right side. Mike Bossy was a scoring machine. During the Isles cup run, he scored 51, 68, 64, and 60 goals to go along with 92, 119, 147, and 118 points. Unfortunately, his career was cut short at the age of 30. He still scored over 500 goals but he might’ve been the best goal scorer of all-time if he stayed healthy.
Potvin and Morrow as the defensive pair is tremendous. Potvin was a point per game defender or better while Morrow was fresh off Olympic gold with Team USA. Morrow never made the hall of fame but he is in the US Hockey Hall of Fame.
And then in net, of course, you have Billy Smith. Smith won the 1982-1983 Jennings Trophy and also took home the 1981-1982 Vezina Trophy as well.
Of the six guys in the lineup five are in the hall of fame. This isn’t just the best lineup in Islanders history, it’s the best in NHL history. Find me an NHL team that had five of its six starters in the Hall of Fame. It’s truly remarkable just how talented this group was.
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