The 1974 NHL Amateur Draft changed the future of the NY Islanders

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
2015 NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

There's having a successful draft and then there's what Bill Torrey pulled off on May 28, 1974.

The NY Islanders had just completed their second season in the NHL and while 1973 No. 1 overall selection and Calder Trophy-winning defenseman Denis Potvin was a cornerstone there were more foundational pieces for the "The Architect" to collect to build a Stanley Cup contender.

The Islanders held the fourth overall pick in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft, which was held via conference call from Montreal. Torrey selected a rugged power forward from the Regina Pats (WCHL) named Clark Gillies. He would emerge as one of the league's premiere power forwards, playing in 872 games on Long Island, scoring 304 goals and adding 359 assists.

Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies
Hockey For Heroes 3 On 3 Hockey Tournament / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The team's next pick was at No. 22, and Torrey chose a two-way center with unmatched hockey sense from the Swift Current Broncos (WCHL) named Bryan Trottier. The 'center of attention' scored 500 goals with the Islanders and remains the franchise leader in games played (1,123) and points (1,353).

Gillies and Trottier are two of the three Hall-of-Famers drafted in 1974 with defenseman Mark Howe being the other. Howe was taken by the Boston Bruins but elected to play in the WHL and ended up never playing for Boston.

Torrey was far from done on draft day adding players that would contribute to the Islanders dynasty. In round 7, Dave Langevin was selected with the 112th overall pick. He played over 400 games with the Islanders and was named an All-Star in 1983. Later, in the 14th round, Torrey found a gem when he selected defenseman Stefan Persson who went on to play his entire nine season career with the Islanders, winning four Stanley Cups.

Other items of note from the 1974 Draft include Bob Bourne being selected 38th overall by the Kansas City Scouts and the Islanders picking Neil Smith (204th), the former New York Rangers GM who also served in that role for a very brief time for the Islanders in 2006.

There's building a team through the draft and what Bill Torrey did in 1974. There were some pieces already in place, including Billy Smith, Bobby Nystrom, and Potvin, and more to come with Mike Bossy drafted in 1977, but the 1974 NHL Amateur remains the event that accelerated the Islanders' road to a playoff team and Stanley Cup champion.