Farewell to the Nassau Coliseum: Day 74

Islanders Insight's picture

Islanders

Rejoice, Islanders fans, hockey returns tomorrow midst a blizzard that will most likely be of epic proportion. As epic as a third period in October against the Rangers? Probably not.

You will hear these same sentiments in tomorrow’s installment of the countdown, but if you have to leave the house, for whatever reason, please use extreme caution and stay safe out there. You never know what Sean Avery like monsters are hiding among the snow drifts.

With 74 days remaining in our countdown to the final regular season home game at the Nassau Coliseum, we take a look back at one of the most influential drafts in team history. One that helped shape the dynasty.

It was the 1974 off-season and The Islanders were entering their third season of existence, coming off a duo of years that any expansion team is likely to experience. A lot of time at the bottom, some uncertainty, but a few bright spots.

1973-74 saw the team go 19-41-18 (56 points), eighth in the Eastern Division under new coach, Al Arbour (he sticks around for a while). A 20-year old defenseman, Denis Potvin, leads the team with 54 points while Billy Harris and Ralph Stewart tie for a team-best 23 goals.

A pair of expansion teams, the Washington Capitals and Kansas City Scouts held the first two picks in the 1974 draft and the California Golden Seals, who had 51 points in 1973-74, picked third, followed by the Islanders.

The Capitals selected defenseman Greg Joly from the Regina Pats of the WCHL. The Scouts took right-winger Wilf Paiement and the Golden Seals selected defenseman Rick Hampton, both from the St. Catherine’s Black Hawks of the OHJML.

Of those three picks, only Paiement would appear in an All-Star game.

The Islanders took a teammate of Joly’s in the WCHL. A young, physical forward from Moose Jaw: Clark Gillies.

He turned out to be the only Hall of Famer taken in the first round.

Gillies scored 22 goals and record 25 assists in his rookie season.

Their second pick in the second round was just as good, if not better. Falling all the way to 22nd overall, Bryan Trottier fell into the Islanders’ laps out of the Swift Current Broncos in the WCHL.

Trottier hit the ground running in his first campaign, scoring 32 goals and 63 assists.

While their third round pick did not exactly work out in Brad Anderson, the Scouts took a center from the Saskatoon Blades by the name of Bob Bourne. He was traded in September of 1974 to the Islanders for Bart Crashley and Larry Hornung.

Round seven produced another Islanders All-Star and Cup winner. Dave Langevin went 112th out of the University of Minnesota Duluth. Also drafted in that round was former Islander and current Ranger commentator, Joe Micheletti who went to the Montreal Canadiens out of the University of Minnesota.

With the 214th pick (round 14), the Islanders stole another serviceable defenseman. This time, from Sweden sat Stefan Persson. He was one of only five Swedes picked in the entire draft.

The 1974-75 season, the first following that draft saw the Islanders improve by 14 wins, going 35-25-22, making the playoffs, upsetting the Rangers and getting to within a series of the Stanley Cup Finals.

In this draft alone, two Hall of Famers, three All-Stars and in total, five winners of four consecutive Stanley Cups were selected.

Not bad, Mr. Torrey. Not bad at all.

The post Farewell to the Nassau Coliseum: Day 74 appeared first on Islanders Insight.