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Fanspeak: Bossy voted greatest Islander in franchise history

Aug 22, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

Florida Panthers v New York Islanders Getty Images

This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

New York Islanders

1. Mike Bossy (958)

2. Denis Potvin (339)

3. Bryan Trottier (314)

4. Billy Smith (129)

5. John Tavares (115)

6. Pat Lafontaine (84)

In a lot of cases, the votes for the greatest player in a team’s history end up being fairly obvious. New York Islanders fans had some fantastic players to choose from based on the dynastic 1980’s group that brought home a staggering four straight Stanley Cups, but in the end, Mike Bossy won by a large margin.

Seriously, though, that era produced some fantastic choices. Denis Potvin won three Norris Trophies and became the first defenseman to cross the 1,000-point plateau. Bryan Trottier won a Hart, Conn Smythe and Art Ross Trophy while distinguishing himself for his all-around play and all-around amazing mustache. Billy Smith was the first goalie to score a goal and also used his stick as a weapon when the mood struck.

Bossy ultimately stood tallest even if he was limited to 752 regular season games. Simply put, he’s possibly the greatest sniper the game has ever seen, managing 573 goals in that span (and 85 in just 129 postseason contests). His .76 goal-per-game average edges Mario Lemieux for the best rate in NHL history and he scored 50+ goals in all but one of his 10 career seasons (he managed 38 despite being limited to 63 games played in 1986-87, his final campaign).

He finished his career with a ridiculous 21.2 shooting percentage, too.

Considering all that, it’s not too surprising that he’s part of the “50 goals in 50 games” club.

A decade from now, John Tavares might creep up on some of the names above him, but it’s difficult to imagine him eclipsing No. 22.

  1. luz56 - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    Looking back at that talent WOW…Bossy was special!

    • kaptaanamerica - Aug 23, 2014 at 4:22 AM

      Bossy was awesome. I hated CBC for showing the loser leafs in B.C. when he was going for fifty in fifty against the Nordiques. I remember the leafs stinking to the rafters as usual and wondering why British Columbia was subjected to that when a perfectly good game was available to be watched from Quebec. I used to watch the Canadiens play on French CBC to avoid the loser leafs.

  2. 950003cups - Aug 23, 2014 at 12:11 AM

    Wow! Didn’t expect Potvin to get blown out by that much. But I agree with it being Bossy. Just didn’t see it by that much of a landslide over Potvin.

  3. bcisleman - Aug 23, 2014 at 12:32 AM

    An argument can be made for Bossy (greatest pure goal scorer of all time) but it was Potvin who turned the team into a contender and Potvin who led the team from being a contender to being a champion.

    • James O'Brien - Aug 23, 2014 at 12:45 AM

      Yeah, I thought it would at least be a closer vote. Quite a resume for both players.

  4. c1md6 - Aug 23, 2014 at 12:36 AM

    1983, last cup you’ll ever see!!!

    • wranglerick - Aug 23, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      You mean 4 in a row right ?

  5. 19inarow - Aug 23, 2014 at 12:41 AM

    Gretzky named Billy Smith as the hardest goalie he ever faced. Smith’s playoff win record was around .65. Dryden’s was around .72. Roy’s and Brodeur’s: around .61. Everyone loves to point out how he used his sick. Billy was money in the playoffs.

    • 19inarow - Aug 23, 2014 at 12:42 AM

      edit: *stick*

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 23, 2014 at 12:51 AM

        Dude, are the self proclaimed “typo police chief”??? Do you perhaps understand that this forum is an inherantly INFORMAL context? Cannot literate readers figure out a typo and get back to reading actual CONTENT?????

      • blomfeld - Aug 23, 2014 at 1:06 AM

        ‘Stand down’ from your anger Solutions !

        anyway friend, if ‘Billy was money in the playoffs’ then suffice it to say that Jonathan Quick is ‘Fort Knox’ times 10 !!! … you’ve just gotta love it man !!! :)

      • 950003cups - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        blomfeld: I like Quick too. But do you understand what 4 consecutive cups means? It means it will never happen again. Of course the cap and new rules have a lot to do with burning goalies, much to the credit of Bettman, but still don’t take it for granted.

  6. blomfeld - Aug 23, 2014 at 12:56 AM

    I CONCUR …

    Even though I missed the entire Islander dynasty of the early 80’s due to my domicile in Sweden at the time, I nonetheless ‘concur’ with the choice of Bossy as greatest Islander ever. You see, in those days NHL hockey news was next ‘near to impossible’ to come by in Sweden where they just had 2 x ‘government run’ TV stations that only ran from 1800-2200 hours on a daily basis (ie: TV-1 and TV-2). Of course I did pick up the ‘occasional’ tidbit from my weekly Newsweek subscription, however that was scant and I was otherwise pretty much in the dark. In fact, I didn’t hear a word about my beloved LA Kings for the entire 4 years that I lived in that country ! Can you believe that crap ? :)

  7. broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 23, 2014 at 1:13 AM

    Surprised Butch Goring didn’t make the list.

    • blomfeld - Aug 23, 2014 at 1:19 AM

      he was ‘good’ people on our glorious LA squads from circa 73-76 … one of the few guys to don a helmet at the time, just like my favorite player ‘ever’ Vladislav Tretiak ! :)

  8. clayman61 - Aug 23, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    I agree, Butch Goring should have at least made the list..

    • 950003cups - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Naaaa. He wasn’t that good.

    • jl9830 - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:47 PM

      No way. Nice player, but the Isles have tons of guys who would’ve made the list over him. John Tonelli, Peter Turgeon, Eddie Westfall….I could go on. I like Goring, but he’s not in the same ballpark as the guys in the top 6 here.

  9. dutchman1350 - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    Bossy is once of the most underrated players in NHL history. 10 seasons played, 9 with 50 goals.

  10. blueballzny - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    So many great Islanders to choose from. Glad to see LaFontaine made the list. Was hoping that my favorite Islander Pierre Turgeon would make the list. I know he might not have the gaudy numbers and Cup wins like other Islander legends, but he was the face of the franchise and led the team back into the playoffs. I wanted to jump through the tv and kill Dale Hunter when he showed what a coward he was and cheapshotted Turgeon in the playoffs. As an Islanders fan who was born in 1980, I missed the great dynasty teams so Turgeon and LaFontaine were my idols growing up. Now young Islander fans have Taveras to idolize.

    • jl9830 - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      I absolutely hate being this person, but if you’re such a big Isles fan, how can’t you spell Tavares correctly? He’s the best player on the team. It’s even in the article. Sorry for being grammar police, but I just can’t see how any Isles fan messes up Tavares. We’re not talking about Mariusz Czerkawski here.

  11. 34defense2014 - Aug 24, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    blomfeld.. So true about Quick! He reminds me of Billy Smith so much! Not in his Netminding play, but coming up with clutch saves when you really needed it! He would give up 3 goals then wouldn’t give up that one goal the opposing team needed to win! Smith and Quick define the meaning of the word CLUTCH!!! Awesome Goalies, both of them!

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