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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D- Denis Potvin

Denis Potvin
NHL Stanley Cup Finals - Minnesota North Stars v New York Islanders / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

It can be argued that since his debut in 1973, no defenseman has had as much overall success as Denis Potvin. The first overall pick in 1973, Potvin would make an immediate impact with the Islanders. Finishing his rookie season with 54 points (17 goals, 37 assists), Potvin was the victor of that season's Calder Trophy.

In 1976, Potvin broke one of hockey's most impressive streaks when he won the Norris Trophy for the league's best defenseman. Previously, Bobby Orr had won the award eight consecutive seasons until passing the proverbial torch to the Ottawa, ON, native. He went on to win an additional two Norris Trophies in 1978 and 1979.

In the franchise's 50 seasons of hockey, Potvin remains the only player to be handed the Stanley Cup by the league's commissioner. He captained all four of the organization's Stanley Cup victories. As he played alongside some of the all-time greats, Potvin was never named the Conn Smythe winner.

When Potvin called it a career in 1988, he was first in all-time goals, assists, and points among defensemen. He now stands at number seven in defenseman points.

Like Nystrom, Potvin spent his entire career on Long Island and had his number retired in 1992. he is a member of the Hockey Hall-of-Fame, inducted in 1991.