Editorials

Islanders: Best and worst draft classes of the 1980s

Alternate Governor Bill Torrey (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Alternate Governor Bill Torrey (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New York Islanders
Hall of Fame member Pat Lafontaine (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

1982 – It’s Pat

Total games played: 1122
Biggest impact: Pat Flatley

Even in the midst of establishing the greatest dynasty the league has ever seen, the Islanders were pulling out hits on the draft floor. With the last pick int he first round of the 1982 draft, the Isles picked Patrick Flatley.  Flatley would play 712 of 780 NHL games with the Isles scoring 120 goals and 448 points.

Second in the 1982 draft impact chart is fourth-round Alan Kerr. The Isles selected Alan Kerr with the 84th overall pick. Kerr players 326 games for the blue and orange.

1985 – Next Wave

Total games played: 1309
Biggest impact: Derek King

The Isles had two picks in the first round in 1985. By sending Roland Melanson to the Minnesota North Stars in November of 1984, they got the Stars first-round pick. They used that pick on Brad Dalgarno who played 321 games scoring 120 points for the Isles.

But with their own pick, 13th overall, the Islanders selected Derek King. King would play 638 games with the Isles scoring 211 goals and 499 points. Amazing.

1983 – Hall of Fame Pick

Total games played: 1283
Biggest impact: Pat LaFontaine

The Islanders had the third overall pick in 1983, even though they finished with 96 points in the regular season. By sending Dave Cameron and Bob Lorimer to Colorado, the Isles got their pick. And boy did they get great value out of it by selecting Pat LaFontaine.

LaFontaine played 530 of his 865 NHL games in an Islanders sweater scoring 287 goals and 566 points. He’d eventually go to the Hockey Hall of Fame with 1,013 points in 865 career games wild.

The Isles would also pull Mikko Makela with the 65th overall pick. After four cups they were still pulling hits. Bill Torrey, man. A hell of a GM.

Even though 1983 had fewer games played than 1985 I couldn’t overlook the fact that Pat LaFontaine was over a point-per-game player on a pick that wasn’t even ours.

1980 – The Other Sutter

Total games played: 1419
Biggest impact: Brent Sutter

I know, saying “the other Sutter” doesn’t clear up much I suppose. There were a ton of Sutter’s in the league and three of them played for the Islanders. I’m talking about Brent Sutter.

Drafted 17th overall in 1980, Sutter joined his older brother Duane with the Islanders in 1981-82 scoring 43 points in 43 games. He’d play694 game for the Isles scoring 610 points, including a 42 goal 102 point season in 1984-85.

The Isles would also pull Greg Gilbert in the fourth round. Gilbert would play 425 games with the Isles scoring 231 points

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