6 New York Islanders Retired Numbers
The New York Islanders won the last of their four consecutive Stanley Cups in 1983. Since that point, the team has been mired in mediocrity at best. The Islanders have retired the numbers of six players and those numbers hang from the rafters of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. All six of those players were part of those four consecutive Stanley Cup winning Islanders teams.
Number 5 is retired by the New York Islanders in honour of defenseman Denis Potvin. Potvin played his entire fifteen year NHL career in an Islanders jersey, from 1973-74 to 1987-88. Denis was a first overall pick of the Islanders at the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft and made an immediate impact by winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 1973-74. Potvin was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.
Clark Gillies is the man behind the number 9 that hangs from the Nassau Coliseum. Gillies was a fourth overall pick of the Islanders at the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft. Gillies played twelve solid seasons with the Islanders from 1974-75 to 1985-86 and finished his NHL career with two seasons as a Buffalo Sabre. Clark made his way into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.
Bryan Trottier was the backbone of the Islanders dynasty and the team retired number 19 in honour of him. Trottier played fifteen years with the Islanders from 1975-76 to 1989-90. Bryan played an additional three years with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the end of his NHL career and added two more Stanley Cups to the four he won with the Islanders. The Bryan Trottier rookie card is the most valuable card in the 1976-77 O-Pee-Chee hockey card series.Trottier won the Calder, Art Ross, Hart and Conn Smythe Trophies over his career and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.
Mike Bossy played just ten years in the NHL, all with the New York Islanders, but he excelled every step of the way. His number 22 has been raised to the rafters. Bossy was a fifty plus goal scorer in the first nine seasons and scored 60 or more in five seasons. The Mike Bossy rookie card is the most valuable of the 1978-79 O-Pee-Chee series. Mike entered the Hall of Fame along with Islanders teammate Denis Potvin in 1991.
The retired number 23 belongs to the gritty Bob Nystrom. Nystrom played for the Islanders from 1972-73 to 1985-86. The Islanders were Nystrom’s only NHL club. Although not a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Bob is in the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame and has been honoured National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. The Islanders have a team award in Nystrom’s name that is handed out each season to the player that best exemplifies leadership, hustle and dedication. The Bob Nystrom award has been handed out since 1991.
Number 31 belongs to Billy Smith, the man who backstopped the Islanders to their four consecutive Stanley Cups. Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1970, Smith played just five games with the Kings in 1971-72 before becoming an Islander the following season. Smith played in the NHL until 1988-89 and retired as an Islander. Billy Smith entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993.