3. Denis Potvin
Denis Potvin is one of the greatest defenseman in NHL history.
Potvin was drafted first overall in the 1973 NHL Draft by the Islanders and quickly made his mark on Long Island. Potvin made an immediate impact on a team that finished last in the NHL the previous season, scoring 17 goals, and 37 assists, tallying a total of 54 points. Potvin would go on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top rookie.
After the 1975-76 season, Potvin won the James Norris Memorial Trophy awarded to the NHL's top defenseman. This marked the first time someone not named Bobby Orr won the trophy in eight seasons. Potvin's 31 goals and 98 points in total that season also had him a finalist for the Hart Trophy, finishing second to the Flyers' Bobbly Clarke.
When Orr retired, Potvin took his spot as the league's best defenseman, and in 1978-79, he had his best offensive season, scoring 101 points (31G, 70A). That year, he would win the Norris Trophy for the third time. After the season, Potvin was named captain after Gillies stepped down. In his entire run as captain, the Islanders never failed to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs and took home four consecutive Stanley Cups. Potvin finished his professional career with 1,060 games played, 310 goals, and 742 assists, tallying 1,052 points, all records for a defenseman when he retired.