There have been many great New York Islanders in the long historic time period of this franchise. Mike Bossy, John Tonelli, Pat Lafontaine, Billy Smith, Bobby Nystrom, Denis Potvin, Clark Gillies, along with the presence of Ken Morrow who also happened to win a gold medal apart of 1980 “Miracle” team that defeated Finland to win it all and upset former Soviet Union.
Even the current All-Star John Tavares certainly ranks on the list of greatest Islanders, however Bryan Trottier is arguably the best of all time amongst fan discussion, however this discussion can fluctuate easily. You can look at statistics and watch videos, but what makes these players great is the impact on the ice and how they can carry a team off it.
During the four-year historic cup runs many players have won the Stanley Cups by just being role players but many of these greats had huge impacts for instance the greatness of Mike Bossy. His record breaking 50 for 50 (50 goals in 50 games) achievement speaks for itself. His legendary goal in the 1982 Semi-Final where Bossy goes parallel to the ice, hooks the puck and manages to pull of one of the most skilled goals in the history of the game.
Many people however would agree that defenseman Denis Potvin, the captain of the 4x Stanley Cup victories should be considered the greatest Islander, but being surrounded by too many fantastic pieces around him make this a hard question to answer. Potvin is Top 3 on the all-time leader list, in games played, goals, assists and lastly total points so this very strongly backs up his the argument that Potvin is the greatest Islander of all-time. Goal scoring is the biggest part of this game, the current goal scoring leader is not Potvin, it is Bossy. Scoring goals is the only way to win in this league and Bossy has an outstanding (573) goals which clearly shows that if not the best he is one of the greatest.
The one name not mentioned enough in the conversation is Bryan Trottier, “Trots” is the all time leader in points which is a combination of both goals (500) and assists (853), in a forward there is not much more you can ask for than that. Trottier like many other Islanders holds a historic record. He is the only player to ever have 6 points in a single period with 4 goals and 2 assists, also he is in select company with 8 others in having multiple 5- goal games.
Certainly these records are incredible and require talent only Trottier had. Another mention should go to Clark Gillies who is fourth on the Islanders with goals, assists, games played and total points. It is not number one all time but the greatness of the achievements by Clark Gillies will always be remembered on the Island. In conclusion there are many great Islanders and they all certainly are ranked as top 20 in all-time in the league, but at the end of the day the nod should go to Trottier, this man has got it done for the Islanders countless times and will leave legacy that no one can ever match.
As the 2015-2016 season begins in Brooklyn the banners of the great players and the plaques will move as well carrying the legacy to a new city with the same aspirations since the end of the 82-83 season, which is to bring the cup home. When it does happen it will not be on the ice of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum it will be in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn . The Islanders, however will always be Long Islands team as the historic legacy of the island and players who help build an extraordinary fan base will always be remembered.