The New York Islanders, a proud franchise of commitment, dedication and success, boast four championship banners in the Nassau Coliseum, the arena they call home. The Islanders became an expansion team in 1972 and have not looked back since.
Since 1972, the Islanders have had greats at every position and can now look back and see they have rostered some of the best players in NHL history.
Who are the best 10 players in their team's history?
May be jumping the gun a bit here, but potential counts for something, right?
John Tavares, the No. 1 overall pick in 2009, has been sensational for the Islanders. He is the current face of the franchise and ranks 44th in goals in just his third season. The Isles know he is the centerpiece of the franchise and when it is all said and done, as long as Tavares stays with the team, he should rank within the top 10 if not the top five scorers in Islander history.
John Tonelli was a winger on the Islanders from 1978 until 1986. He played for all four Stanley Cup champion Islanders teams and even had a 100-point season during his 1984-1985 campaign.
In 594 games played with the Isles, Tonelli scored 544 points, which ranks seventh all time for the Islanders.
As you can see in the video, Pat Lafontaine's proudest moment may have come in the fourth overtime in a game against the Washington Capitals that sent the Islanders to the Stanley Cup Final. Lafontaine became out of the best offensive forces for the New York Islanders in team history. He was better than a point-per-game player with 566 points in 533 career games played for the Islanders.
Brent Sutter, current coach of the Calgary Flames, recently just had a homecoming party to the Coliseum when the Flames visited the Islanders Thursday night. Sutter has had much more of an impact than bringing the Flames into the Coliseum, though.
Sutter was with the team during two of the four Stanley Cup championships and was a natural leader. He became the captain after Denis Potvin. Sutter finished with 610 points in 694 career games with the Islanders.
Clark Gillies, one of six players to have their number retired by the Islanders, ranks fourth in both games played (872) and points scored (663). Gillies was around for all four Islanders Stanley Cup championships and was even the captain when they won their first title.
With six 30-goal seasons and three 70-point seasons, Gillies was one of the most prolific scorers in Islander History.
The Islanders won four straight championships in the '80s, and to win championships you need to have good goaltending. Billy Smith was that guy. He was the goaltender of those championship teams.
As far as Islander goaltenders, nobody is even close to Smith. Smith had 304 wins and a 3.16 GAA in 17 seasons with the Islanders. While those numbers don't seem as impressive in the regular season, Smith stepped up when he needed to. The postseason. During the postseasons when the Islanders landed four straight Stanley Cup championships, Smith was an astounding 57-13 with goals against averages of 2.80, 2.54, 2.52 and 2.68, respectively.
It was Smith's consistent play that gave the Islanders the chance to win those four consecutive championships. In addition, Billy Smith was the first NHL goaltender to be credited with scoring a goal.
Bobby Nystrom, or better known as "Mr. Islander," was actually what New York Islander hockey was all about. He was a hard-working, physical forward. Nystrom didn't fill up a stat sheet. He had 513 points in 900 career games with the Islanders. He was also one of most respected fighters in the league and currently ranks fifth all time in penalty minutes for the franchise.
In addition, Nystrom did plenty of charity work in the Long Island community. With Nystrom's commitment, dedication and workmanship, he became the image that the New York Islanders wanted to be about, therefore earning himself the nickname Mr. Islander.
Bryan Trottier is one of the top scorers in New York Islanders history. He ranks first in games played (1,123), second in goals (500) and first in points (1,353). In 15 seasons with the Islanders, Trottier had four seasons of 40 or more goals and six seasons with 100 or more points.
Trottier will forever be looked at as one of the Islander greats and one of the most prolific scorers in team history.
Bryan Trottier was second in goals. Mike Bossy was first.
Bossy was nothing short of phenomenal with the Islanders. Bossy scored 73 more goals than Trottier in his career. The startling fact about that is that Bossy did it with 371 less games played than Trottier. In Bossy's final year with the Islanders, he scored 38 goals and scored 75 points. Compared to his other years with the Isles, that could be considered a down year.
In every year Bossy scored at least 50 goals and registered at least 90 points. With 100 or more points in seven of his nine years with the Islanders, Bossy can be considered the best forward in New York Islander history.
Denis Potvin is undoubtedly the best defenseman in Islander history and is also the best player.
Potvin delivered crushing hits and ranks second in team history in games played. In addition with 1,052 points in 1,060 games, Potvin was almost a point-per-game player as a defenseman. The only defenseman in NHL history to have a better rate than Potvin is Bobby Orr. When you are mentioned with the likes of Bobby Orr, nothing more needs to be said—you are a special player.