The 3 most important draft picks in NY Islanders history

Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Islanders
Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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More often than not, the NHL Draft is a crap shoot. Though, throughout the 1970s and early 80s, it didn't seem that way for New York Islanders GM Bill Torrey. Teams draft young prospects in the hope that they can develop into players that can make an impact in the NHL. On rare occasions, teams draft players that change the course of franchise history.

For every Bryan Trottier, there is a Dave Chyzowski. For every Mike Bossy, there is a player like Robert Nilsson. The point is that some players meet or exceed high expectations; other times, quite the opposite happens.

2018 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2018 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Since their inception in 1972, the NY Islanders have been fortunate to draft franchise-changing players, such as Pat LaFontaine, John Tonelli, and Clark Gillies. This generation of Islanders has seen home-grown talent, including Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Mathew Barzal bring the team a step away from the Stanley Cup Final in consecutive seasons.

More recent draft picks like Matt Maggio, William Dufour, and Calle Odellius are now in the pipeline with hopes they can make major contributions for years to come. In anticipation of the Islanders making their first pick of the 2023 NHL Draft in the second round, let's take a look at the three most important players drafted by the New York Islanders in franchise history.

3. Denis Potvin

NHL Stanley Cup Finals - Minnesota North Stars v New York Islanders
NHL Stanley Cup Finals - Minnesota North Stars v New York Islanders / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

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.

2. Mike Bossy

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders
Boston Bruins v New York Islanders / Al Bello/GettyImages

Mike Bossy was a true Islander Legend.

In every aspect of the word, Bossy is indeed a true Islander legend. Bossy was drafted 15th overall in the 1977 NHL Draft. He would waste little time in establishing himself to the Islanders' faithful. In his rookie season, Bossy would finish with 53 goals and 38 assists, tallying 91 points in total. This was more than good enough to land him the Calder Memorial Trophy.

Bossy also set the rookie record for goals in a single season with 53. He would follow up his rookie season with an even more stellar season in 1978-79. He would finish with 126 points overall off of 69 goals and 57 assists. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in the 1982 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also won the Lady Byng Trophy three times in his career, which was given to someone who produced high-quality play as well as had tremendous sportsmanship.

Another thing that stood out was his consistency. Bossy holds the NHL record for most consecutive 50+ goal seasons with nine, most 60+ goal seasons with five (tied with Wayne Gretzky), the highest goals-per-game average with .762, most power-play goals in one playoff season with nine (tied with Cam Neely), and most consecutive hat-tricks with three (tied with Joe Malone).

Bossy also reached the all-star game in 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986 and played a pivotal role in the Islanders dynasty era, winning four Stanley Cups with the team and the Conn Smythe in 1982. Bossy ended his career at the age of 30 due to back issues. If he remained healthy, there's no telling where his final numbers would have ended up. He tallied 573 goals, and 553 assists, scoring 1126 points in total. In his 129 playoff appearances, he tallied 85 goals and 75 assists for 160 points.

1. Bryan Trottier

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders
Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The centerpiece of the Islanders dynasty.

Bryan Trottier exemplified what it meant to be a New York Islander throughout his Hall-of-Fame career. Trottier was drafted in the second round at 22nd overall in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft. In his rookie season, Trottier played in 80 games, picking up 32 goals, and 63 assists, tallying 95 points in the process. This was incredible for a rookie, and even set the record for points, at the time, in a rookie season with 95. He would take home the Calder Memorial Trophy with ease.

Trottier's best offensive season came in 1978-79, where he finished with 134 points from 47 goals and 87 assists in just 76 games played. This would earn him the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy. He became the first player from a post-original six expansion team to win the Art Ross Trophy, as well.

Trottier won four Stanley Cups with the Islanders and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1980. Trottier would often be referred to as the glue to the Islanders, centering a line with Clark Gillies and Mike Bossy that was known as "The Trio Grande." Trottier left Long Island with exactly 500 goals and remains franchise's all-time leader in games played (1,123), assists (853), points (1,353)