Celebrating 50 years of NY Islanders Hockey With the All-Decade Team: 1972-1981

1980 NHL Stanley Cup Finals - Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders
1980 NHL Stanley Cup Finals - Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders / Focus On Sport/GettyImages
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LW- Clark Gillies

Clark Gillies
New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

The original enforcer for the Islanders, Clark Gillies, can be considered the watchdog that allowed the skillful Islanders to play freely without having any liberties taken. Aside from being the muscle of the group, Gillies was just as talented with the puck as he was with his fists.

The fourth overall pick in 1974 topped the 30-goal mark five times during his 12 seasons at Nassau Coliseum, with his best coming in the 1978-79 season, scoring 35 goals and adding 56 assists.

As one of the members of the "Trio Grande," Gillies spent his best years playing alongside Trottier and Bossy. "Jethro" as he was known, cleared the way for the two dynamic scorers, using his fists of fury to take care of anybody who dared to step in their paths.

The Moose Jaw, SK native finished his Islanders career with 304 goals and 359 assists. He would be left unprotected following the 1985-86 season and was claimed by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL Waiver Draft. After a season and a half in Western New York, Gillies called it a career. His number nine was retired by the Islanders in 1996 and inducted to the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 2002.

On January 21, 2022, Gillies passed away following his battle with cancer. He was 67 years old.