Esso Hockey since 1936
Legends Of Hockey
Esso Hockey since 1936
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Biography

Bryan Trottier was a modern-day player with old-fashioned attributes. At a time when specialists were beginning to take over from the all-round player, Trottier was a throwback. He was a defensively sound centerman with the vision and instincts of a pure scorer. Over an 18-year National Hockey League career, he led his teams to the Stanley Cup six times, including four consecutive titles with the New York Islanders in the early 1980s. And his achievements went beyond team success. He was the winner of the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, the Art Ross Trophy as top scorer and the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player. Trottier, at his retirement, was the league's sixth-highest all-time scorer.

In 1974, however, the NHL was reacting to the threat of the World Hockey Association. The elder league held a semi-secret draft with an emphasis on underaged players - teenagers who were 17 and 18 years old. Trottier was chosen 22nd overall in the second round, and he was the ninth underaged player taken that year. He was a promising forward, but hardly anyone pegged him as a dominating player. The New York Islanders, the team that selected him, even suggested he spend another year in junior, making him the only secret underaged player to wait to turn pro following that draft.

The Islanders offered to pay Trottier all the salary and bonuses he would have earned in the pro league - a strange arrangement for a young team in a rebuilding stage, but surely a vote of confidence that he appreciated and remembered. Still, that strategy would pay dividends for Trottier and the Islanders, not to mention Lethbridge, the WCJHL team he starred for in 1974-75. Trottier led that league with 98 assists and 144 points, earning most valuable player honours and confirming the wisdom of the decision to keep him in junior that extra year.

When the 1975-76 season began, Trottier was in the NHL, centering a line between Clark Gillies and Billy Harris. In his second game, he had a hat trick and five points. After 11 games, he had 20 points and word began to spread, especially after his rugged defensive work shut down opposing stars. Trottier finished the year with league records for a rookie in assists and points, breaking Marcel Dionne's totals, and was an easy choice for the Calder Trophy as the top newcomer.

The rebuilding years for the Islanders were over in 1977-78, when Trottier and the team began to dominate the league. Trottier played most of the time with Mike Bossy on the right wing, a pure shooter who converted many of Trottier's pinpoint passes, and Gillies on the left wing, a grinder who provided the brawn and much of the corner work necessary for success. The line was the most dominant in the league since Phil Esposito had teamed with Ken Hodge and Wayne Cashman for the Bruins earlier in the decade - a troika that was successful for many of the same reasons as the Islanders' top guns.

Trottier was second to Guy Lafleur in the scoring race in 1978 and led the NHL with 77 assists. The next year he was unstoppable, using his playmaking skills to collect 87 assists and his tenaciousness around the net to record 47 goals. He was the league's top scorer and took home the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player. In 1980 the Islanders won the Stanley Cup and Trottier was the star of the show, leading all playoff scorers with 29 points and earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most outstanding post-season performer. With Wayne Gretzky's era still on the horizon, Trottier, the quiet guy from the Prairies, was considered the best center in pro hockey.

Trottier played for Team Canada in the 1981 Canada Cup and led his Islanders to three more Stanley Cup wins to begin the new decade. He scored 50 goals in 1981-82 and was again the top playoff scorer that season. In 1984, with another Canada Cup on the schedule, Trottier stunned the hockey world by declaring that he would play for the United States instead of Canada. Trottier was booed relentlessly yet Canadian fans cheered another recent citizen, Peter Stastny, the Czechoslovakian-born star who had quickly been made a Canadian prior to the tournament.

Trottier spent six more seasons in New York following the Canada Cup and saw his numbers steadily fall. He was still a dedicated and effective defensive player, however, and in 1990 the Pittsburgh Penguins signed the veteran to bolster their playoff chances. Trottier was an important part of the Penguin team that won two straight titles after he joined the squad. Stars such as Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr attributed much of the team's success to the aging star's leadership, his drive and desire. Trottier retired following the Penguins' second Cup victory and spent one year in the Islanders' front office.

But he was soon bored with his desk job and returned to the league as a player in 1993-94 at the age of 37. He played 41 games with the Penguins while acting as an assistant coach, a job he continued after finally hanging up his skates at the end of that season. Trottier remained with the Pens until 1997, at which time he took the coaching reigns of the Portland Pirates of the AHL. He returned to the NHL within a year, this time as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche. Bryan helped the Avs claim their second Stanley Cup championship in 2001, adding yet another ring to his already impressive haul. Trottier would also serve as the head coach of the New York Rangers and assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres.

Bryan Trottier was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.

Career Statistics
REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1971-72 Humboldt Broncos SJHL
1972-73 Swift Current Broncos WCJHL 67 16 29 45 10
1973-74 Swift Current Broncos WCJHL 68 41 71 112 76 13 7 8 15 8
1974-75 Lethbridge Broncos WCJHL 67 46 98 144 103 6 2 5 7 14
1974-75 Canada WJC-A 7 5 2 7
1975-76 New York Islanders NHL 80 32 63 95 21 +28 13 1 7 8 8
1976-77 New York Islanders NHL 76 30 42 72 34 +28 12 2 8 10 2
1977-78 New York Islanders NHL 77 46 77 123 46 +52 7 0 3 3 4
1978-79 New York Islanders NHL 76 47 87 134 50 +76 10 2 4 6 13
1978-79 NHL All-Stars Ch-Cup 3 1 1 2 2
1979-80 New York Islanders NHL 78 42 62 104 68 +31 21 12 17 29 16
1980-81 New York Islanders NHL 73 31 72 103 74 +49 18 11 18 29 34
1981-82 Canada Can-Cup 7 3 8 11 6
1981-82 New York Islanders NHL 80 50 79 129 88 +70 19 6 23 29 40
1982-83 New York Islanders NHL 80 34 55 89 68 +37 17 8 12 20 18
1983-84 New York Islanders NHL 68 40 71 111 59 +70 21 8 6 14 49
1984-85 United States Can-Cup 6 2 3 5 8
1984-85 New York Islanders NHL 68 28 31 59 47 +5 10 4 2 6 8
1985-86 New York Islanders NHL 78 37 59 96 72 +29 3 1 1 2 2
1986-87 New York Islanders NHL 80 23 64 87 50 +3 14 8 5 13 12
1987-88 New York Islanders NHL 77 30 52 82 48 +10 6 0 0 0 10
1988-89 New York Islanders NHL 73 17 28 45 44 -7
1989-90 New York Islanders NHL 59 13 11 24 29 -11 4 1 0 1 4
1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 52 9 19 28 24 +5 23 3 4 7 49
1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 63 11 18 29 54 -11 21 4 3 7 8
1992-93 New York Islanders NHLMGNT
1993-94 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 41 4 11 15 36 -12 2 0 0 0 0
1994-1997 Pittsburgh Penguins NHLMGNT
1997-1998 Portland Pirates AHL
1998-2000 Colorado Avalanche NHLMGNT
NHL Totals 1279 524 901 1425 912 221 71 113 184 277
Esso hockey medals of achievement