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NEW PODCAST! Islanders Award Winners: Denis Potvin, Calder Trophy, 1974

In this premiere episode of a new series of audio documentaries, we examine the first Islander to win a major NHL award and one of the most important players in the franchise’s history.

Welcome to Lighthouse Hockey’s newest podcast, Islanders Award Winners. Each month, we’ll take a look at a different Islander who won a major NHL award and examine the various twists and turns of his road to that season’s trophy. Yes, there will be a lot of Dynasty era players, but there will also others who were decorated for their performances outside of the team’s glory years.

Appropriately, we’ll start at the beginning, with Denis Potvin’s Calder Trophy win in the team’s second season. Potvin was the first of a string of Islanders to be named Rookie of the Year, and he gave the team its first real superstar. He’d win another big time award just two years later... but you’ll have to wait until later in the season to hear about that one.

As Islanders fans, if we think of it at all, we might remember 1973-74 as the team’s second year of existence or the year they hired Al Arbour or the year Potvin won the Calder. But there were some compelling ups, downs and incidents within that year, including Potvin’s tardiness transgression, the roster’s transformation under Arbour and the Rangers getting salty about that season’s All Star Game selections.

I hope everyone enjoys this first episode and the rest of the series.

Here are some extra pictures and headlines from the time:

New York Times, June 7, 1973. Story by Gerald Eskanazi
Newsday, May 16, 1973. Story by John Jeansonne.
Newsday, November 23, 1973. Story by Tim Moriarty
Newsday, January 6, 1974. Story by Tim Moriarty.

Research and other assistance was provided by Kevin Schultz. Kevin runs the site, its Twitter account @LIHockeyHistory and the new store, where you can buy t-shirts, hoodies and mugs featuring the logos over over 100 classic hockey teams from all across North America. Check out the site, read the blog and team histories and buy some merch!

This episode of Islanders Award Winners was written using archival material from Newsday, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and the books New York Islanders: Countdown to A Dynasty by Barry Wilner, Pride and Passion: 25 Years of the New York Islanders by Stan Fischler and Chris Botta and Dynasty: The Oral History of the New York Islanders 1972-1984 by Greg Prato.

The following video clips were also used in the podcast:

On the next episode of Islanders Award Winners: Bryan Trottier enjoys the most decorated individual season in Islanders history.