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Islanders Award Winners: Bryan Trottier, Hart & Art Ross Trophies, 1979

The soft-spoken center enjoys the best individual season in team history and claims his place among the NHL’s elite.

Trottier Collage 2

Bryan Trottier had burst on to the NHL in a big way, winning the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 1976. He continued to get better and better, and claimed the Art Ross and Hart Trophies as the league’s leading scorer and Most Valuable Player, respectively, just three years later.

Within that one season - still the best individual campaign in Islanders history - Trottier experienced incredible highs and lows. He set team records with a five-goal, eight-point performance in one game, and put together a scoring streak that spanned nearly a quarter of the season. He also witnessed stinging losses in the Challenge Cup series against the USSR and the New York Rangers in the playoffs.

Through it all, Trottier remained a humble and quiet workman, even when he was piling up points game after game. So join us, as we take a trip back in time to a season like none other in Islanders history.

This is the first of a few episodes of Islanders Award Winners that will focus on the 78-79 season. That’s kind of inevitable when a team takes home the Hart, Art Ross, Norris (for the second straight year) and Jack Adams Trophies at the end of it. I’ll do my best to make each episode stand on its own, but some cross-over is to be expected.

This was also the first episode of the show I wrote and recorded. So the pace and quality might be a little different than later episodes. Please bear with me. I’m making this up as a I go along. Enjoy!

Here are some extra pictures and headlines from the time:

Newsday, October 8, 1978. Story by Pat Calabria.
Newsday, December 24, 1978. Story by Pat Calabria.
Newsday, February 5, 1979. Story by Rich Gelfond.
Newsday, May 7, 1979. Story by Jim Smith.
Newsday, June 13, 1979. Story by Pat Calabria.

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: The Islanders return to the playoffs, led by a determined new captain who would bring home the team’s first ever Selke Trophy.