THE LIST: ALL-UNDERRATED TEAM
Throughout the dark days and the dynasty days, the Islanders have had several players that have never received proper credit for their contributions. Fact is, this could be a list of 50 former and current Islanders. Since we only have room for ten, let the debate begin.
1. Ken Morrow: Morrow was blessed in the early 1980s, and the Islanders were blessed to have him. After he won the 1980 Gold Medal with the U.S. Olympic team, Morrow came to a team about to win four straight Stanley Cups. But truth be told, the Islanders may not have won all those Cups without one of the most dependable defensemen in franchise history.
2. Dave Langevin: Another four-time champion on Long Island, Langevin is another defenseman that played in the shadow of the great Denis Potvin. Langevin never put up big numbers, but when a crease had to be cleared, shot had to be blocked or a smart pass had to be made out of the defensive zone, the Islanders could depend on Langevin to make the play.
3. Anders Kallur: A member of all four Islanders Stanley Cup championship teams, Kallur is one of the best defensive forwards in franchise history. But few recall that he was also fifth on the team in scoring, with 22 goals and 52 points in 1979-80, the year the Islanders won their first title. Kallur was an all-around all-star, even if he never got the credit he deserved.
4. Kenny Jonsson: An Islander for a decade, Jonsson did all the little things well. He was one of the best defensive defensemen the team has ever had, and was solid with the puck as well.
5. Kelly Hrudey: When the Islanders traded away Roland Melanson during the 1984-85 season, it became evident that Hrudey would be saddled with the impossible task of someday replacing Hall of Famer Billy Smith. But Hrudey handled it perfectly, culminating with his historic 73-save performance in the Islanders' quadruple overtime win in the seventh and deciding game of the team's Patrick Division Semi Final series against Washington.
6. Duane Sutter: Very few Islanders had the ability to crash the boards, drop the gloves, irritate opponents and play sound defensive hockey like Sutter. Brent's older brother, Duane never scored as much as Brent, so unlike his younger sibling, Duane never made an All-Star game. But throughout the dynasty, Duane Sutter was considered one of the team's irreplaceable leaders.
7. Steve Thomas: He is the only player in NHL history to have over 900 points without an All-Star game appearance to his credit. How can that be? Thomas scored 28, 37 and 42 goals in his first three full seasons here and was the franchise's most relentless forward since John Tonelli.
8. Jason Blake: Proof of the inexact science of scouting. The undrafted Blake has turned into the Islanders' number one sparkplug. Whether it is a big goal or a big penalty kill, the Islanders know they can depend on Blake.
9. Garry Howatt: Perhaps the most intense Islander ever, Howatt is also one of the best fighters in team history. Nicknamed "Toy Tiger," Howatt was built like a fire hydrant. Though Clark Gillies and Bob Nystrom are remembered as the greatest Islanders tough guys, Howatt was as tough as they come. Proving his hands were not just for fighting, Howatt also averaged 15 goals a year in the 1970s.
10. Bert Marshall: He's the man given most of the credit for helping develop several of the Islanders' young defensemen, most notably Denis Potvin, in the franchise's early years. A member of the Rangers in 1972-73, he was part of the Islanders' monumental upset of the Rangers in the first round and the rest of the magical 1974-75 playoffs. Like all of the members of our All-Underrated list, Marshall's place is cemented in Islanders history.