In the history of the New York Islanders, there have been few greater goal scorers than Pierre Turgeon. He wasn't drafted by the team and was traded in only his fourth season on Long Island, but for those that watched, his skill and talent were undeniable. He played the game with a rare combination of grace, flare, and class, that was a pleasure to watch on the ice.
On Wednesday, Turgeon was named to the 2023 class of the Hockey Hall of Fame after a prolific NHL career. The first overall pick of the 1987 draft scored 515 goals and 812 assists in 1,294 career games, spanning 18 seasons and six teams. He may have played more games with the St. Louis Blues (327) and Buffalo Sabres (322), but he was at his best during his four seasons with the Islanders, scoring 147 goals in just 255 games, the most he tallied with any team.
Early in the 1991-92 season, Turgeon was acquired from the Sabres along with with Benoît Hogue,Uwe Krupp and Dave McLlwain for a package centering around disgruntled franchise player Pat LaFontaine. His finest season came in 1992-93, when he scored 58 goals, sixth best in the league, for an Islanders team that would reach the Wales Conference Finals.
During the team's first round match-up with the Washington Capitals, Turgeon was decked by Dale Hunter after scoring a goal to put away the series. He missed the first six games of the next series against the Pittsburgh Penguins but returned for Game 7, but was hardly himself. The Isles lost in five games to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Montreal Canadiens in the next round.
Turgeon put up 94 points (38G, 56A) in 68 games during the 1993-94 season and had registered 27 points (13G, 14A) in 34 games the following year when GM Don Maloney traded one his best and most popular players and defenseman Vladimir Malakhov to Montreal for Kirk Muller, Mathieu Schneider, and Craig Darby. Even before Muller expressed his desire to be traded from the Isles, it was regarded as one of the worst trades in franchise history. Turgeon was named Montreal captain in December of the following season.
Turgeon was a two-time All-Star with the Islanders (1993, 1994) and was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy in 1993. He remains the last Islander to scorer 50+ goals in a season.
Turgeon goes into the Hall of Fame with a class headlined by New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist along with fellow goalies Tom Barrasso and Mike Vernon. Four-time Olympic goal medalist Caroline Ouellette and builders Kent Hitchcock and Pierre Lacroix also will be inducted at the ceremony in Toronto on Nov. 13.