Celebrating 50 years of NY Islanders Hockey With the All-Decade Team: 1982-1991

Three Islanders
Three Islanders / B Bennett/GettyImages
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LW- John Tonelli

John Tonelli, Jiri Crha
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Graig Abel/GettyImages

The name John Tonelli may not ring as loud as the likes of Denis Potvin or Bryan Trottier when it comes to the stars of the 1980s, but it is just as important to the success of the franchise as any other.

Tonelli always seemed to be around the puck when the team needed a big goal in the playoffs. In the 1980 Stanley Cup Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers, Tonelli had the primary assist on the overtime goal scored by Bobby Nystrom to clinch the franchise's first championship.

During the 1982 playoffs, as the Islanders were on the brink of elimination, trailing by two goals in the final minutes of play, Tonelli assisted on a Mike McEwen goal to bring the Isles within one. He then scored the game-tying goal with 2:21 to play and would add on the game-winner in overtime to continue the Islanders dynasty.

In eight seasons on Long Island, Tonelli finished with 50 points in every season but one. In 1984-85, he even eclipsed the 100-point mark, scoring 42 goals and adding 58 assists for an even 100.

In 2020, during the Islanders' final season at Nassau Coliseum, Tonelli's number 27 was raised to the rafters to join the other members of the dynasty era. Tonelli told current captain Anders Lee, to continue wearing the number 27 for the remainder of his career with the Islanders.