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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D- Tomas Jonsson

Tomas Jonsson
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Graig Abel/GettyImages

As the Islanders plowed through the competition for much of the early 1980s, it was not possible without constantly bolstering their roster. With the club's consistent winning ways, a target was tattooed on the NY logo that dons the famous Islanders sweater.

At the 1979 NHL draft, Bill Torrey and Isles management selected defenseman Tomas Jonsson out of Sweden. Jonsson stood at only 5'10", a rarity for a defender in the days of open ice hits and a reluctance to blow the whistle for a ticky-tack penalty.

Having already played professionally in Sweden with MoDo AIK, Jonsson made his North American debut during the 1981-82 season. As a 21-year-old, Jonsson left his mark on the blueline as he joined the likes of Potvin, Morrow, and fellow Swede, Stefan Persson. Jonsson became a luxury in an already affluent defensive corp and was part of the cup-winning teams in 1982 and 1983.

""We had a solid defense having added Mike McEwen to go with Gordie Lane and the guys who'd helped us win Cups. But I felt that we should infuse new faces in the lineup when guys were ready. By the fall of '81, Jonsson was ready.""

Bill Torrey

Jonsson was a participant in the playoffs in each of the seven full seasons he spent on Long Island. His most successful season came in the 1984-85 season, tallying 16 goals and 34 assists.

Midway through the 1988-89 season, Jonsson was traded to the rival Edmonton Oilers, who were just finishing up with a dynasty of their own. After playing only 20 games in Edmonton, Jonsson called it a career in the NHL and elected to return to Sweden

Though his NHL career was over at age 28, Jonsson continued his playing career in Sweden, lacing up for another 10 seasons.

Like Morrow, Jonsson did not put up the eye-popping numbers like Potvin or even Persson, but was just as valuable to the franchise's success as anyone else.