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Denis Potvin

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Title: Denis Potvin  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: List of NHL statistical leaders, 1980 Stanley Cup Finals, List of New York Islanders players, NHL on Fox, 1973 NHL Amateur Draft
Collection: 1953 Births, Calder Trophy Winners, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Inductees, Canadian Ice Hockey Defencemen, Florida Panthers Broadcasters, Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees, Ice Hockey People from Ontario, Ice Hockey People from Quebec, James Norris Memorial Trophy Winners, Living People, National Hockey League All-Stars, National Hockey League Broadcasters, National Hockey League First Overall Draft Picks, National Hockey League First Round Draft Picks, National Hockey League Players with Retired Numbers, New York Islanders Broadcasters, New York Islanders Draft Picks, New York Islanders Players, Ottawa 67's Players, Ottawa Senators Broadcasters, Sportspeople from Gatineau, Sportspeople from Ottawa, Stanley Cup Champions
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Denis Potvin

Denis Potvin
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1991
Potvin skating with the New York Islanders
Born (1953-10-29) October 29, 1953
Vanier, ON, CAN
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
Position Defense
Shot Left
Played for New York Islanders (NHL)
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 1st overall, 1973
New York Islanders
Playing career 1973–1988

Denis Charles Potvin (born October 29, 1953) is a retired professional ice hockey defenseman and team captain for the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League. He is a four-time Stanley Cup winner as a member of the early 1980s New York Islanders. He is also a three-time James Norris Memorial Trophy winner as the NHL's top defenseman. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991, and served as a commentator for Ottawa Senators' television broadcasts on Sportsnet. He is currently the color commentator for the Florida Panthers. Potvin was born in Vanier, Ontario, but grew up in Hull, Quebec.


  • Biography 1
    • Playing career 1.1
    • Broadcasting 1.2
  • Other 2
  • Career statistics 3
    • Regular season and playoffs 3.1
    • International 3.2
  • Career achievements and facts 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Playing career

After a stellar junior hockey career with the Ottawa 67s, Potvin was drafted first overall in the 1973 National Hockey League Amateur Draft by the struggling expansion Islanders, a team which had recorded the worst record in modern National Hockey League (NHL) history the previous season. Right after Bill Torrey drafted Potvin, Montreal Canadiens General Manager Sam Pollock approached Torrey, hoping to trade for Potvin. Pollock's strategy was to offer a "quick-fix" package of mature players to exchange for the top draft pick. Torrey ultimately turned down the offer since he felt that Potvin would be a long-term asset to his team.

Upon joining the Islanders, Potvin wanted to wear number 7 on his uniform but was forced to take number 5, as forward Germain Gagnon was wearing number 7.[1] Potvin entered the NHL with high expectations; he was regarded by some as the savior of the Islanders' franchise, and by others as potentially the next Bobby Orr. While he did not dominate the game in the same way as Orr, Potvin became an immediate star, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1973–74 and the James Norris Memorial Trophy as league's top defenseman in 1975–76, 1977–78, and 1978–79. Upon Orr's decline and retirement in the late 1970s, Potvin became widely acknowledged, along with Larry Robinson, as the premier defensemen in the game.

Potvin was known for being intelligent, articulate, and outspoken off the ice. Throughout the 1970s, his Islander teammates often were turned off as these traits made Potvin come across as arrogant.[2] He offended many hockey fans by stating publicly that he had played better in the 1976 Canada Cup than Bobby Orr, and that the latter's selection as tournament MVP was for sentimental reasons.[3] However, as Potvin matured, he became seen as a great leader as he learned to use these same qualities to positively affect his teammates.

His best season offensively was 1979, during which he became the second defenseman (Orr being the first) to score 30 goals and 100 points in a single season. Potvin was awarded his third Norris trophy for the regular season, which the Islanders finished first overall in the NHL. However, despite being heavily favored to win their semi-final series against the New York Rangers, the talented but young Islanders' team ultimately lost in six games.[4] Clark Gillies stepped down as captain during the off-season, and Potvin became the team's third captain, a position he held until relinquishing it in 1987. In 1979–80, Potvin's first year as captain, the Islanders won their first of four Stanley Cups. Potvin was a key part of the Islanders during the team's early 1980s glory years: in addition to the four consecutive Stanley Cup championships and five straight finals appearances, in the eight seasons he served as captain the Islanders never failed to reach the playoffs.

Potvin retired as the National Hockey League's leader in goals and points by a defenseman. His career totals were later surpassed by Raymond Bourque, Paul Coffey and others and as of 2014 he sits fifth in career goals and seventh in career points amongst defencemen.

Potvin was a more traditional defender than Orr and an extremely physical player. He averaged just under a point per game over his career (0.992), while Orr averaged 1.39 points per game. Late in his career, Potvin suffered a series of injuries that impeded his performance, leading to his retirement following the 1988 season. Potvin claimed to have received an offer from Mike Keenan to come out of retirement and play for arch-rival New York Rangers in 1993.[5]Mike Keenan has yet to substantiate these claims. Potvin has admitted that although he believed it was a joke, he did contemplate a comeback. After a brief skate he decided his body could no longer handle the rigors of the game.


Potvin was a color commentator for Florida Panthers television broadcasts on FS Florida from the team's inception in 1993 through the 2008–09 NHL season. At various times, he was paired with Jeff Rimer, Dave Strader and Steve Goldstein. On May 6, 2009, the Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that the Panthers would not renew his contract in order to save money. He was replaced by former Panthers' player Bill Lindsay.

In September 2010, Potvin was hired as the Ottawa Senators’ television colour analyst, working with Dean Brown on Rogers Sportsnet.[6] In August, 2014 he was rehired as color commentator by the Florida Panthers, working with Steve Goldstein on Fox Sports Florida.


Potvin's brother, Jean Potvin, was also an NHL defenseman and the brothers were teammates for a number of years with the Islanders. He is a cousin of former NHL player Marc Potvin.

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1968–69 Ottawa 67's OHA-Jr. 46 12 25 37 83
1969–70 Ottawa 67's OHA-Jr. 46 13 18 31 97 5 2 1 3 9
1970–71 Ottawa 67's OHA-Jr. 57 20 58 78 200 11 4 6 10 26
1971–72 Ottawa 67's OHA-Jr. 48 15 45 60 188
1972–73 Ottawa 67's OHA-Jr. 61 35 88 123 232 9 6 10 16 22
1973–74 New York Islanders NHL 77 17 37 54 175
1974–75 New York Islanders NHL 79 21 55 76 105 17 5 9 14 30
1975–76 New York Islanders NHL 78 31 67 98 100 13 5 14 19 32
1976–77 New York Islanders NHL 80 25 55 80 103 12 6 4 10 20
1977–78 New York Islanders NHL 80 30 64 94 81 7 2 2 4 6
1978–79 New York Islanders NHL 73 31 70 101 58 10 4 7 11 8
1979–80 New York Islanders NHL 31 8 33 41 44 21 6 13 19 24
1980–81 New York Islanders NHL 74 20 56 76 104 18 8 17 25 16
1981–82 New York Islanders NHL 60 24 37 61 83 19 5 16 21 30
1982–83 New York Islanders NHL 69 12 54 66 60 20 8 12 20 22
1983–84 New York Islanders NHL 78 22 63 85 87 20 1 5 6 28
1984–85 New York Islanders NHL 77 17 51 68 96 10 3 2 5 10
1985–86 New York Islanders NHL 74 21 38 59 78 3 0 1 1 0
1986–87 New York Islanders NHL 58 12 30 42 70 10 2 2 4 21
1987–88 New York Islanders NHL 72 19 32 51 112 5 1 4 5 6
NHL totals 1060 310 742 1052 1356 185 56 108 164 253


Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1976 Canada CC 7 1 8 9 16
1979 NHL All-Stars Exhib. 2 0 0 0 0
1981 Canada CC 7 2 5 7 12
1986 Canada WC 7 1 4 5 6
Senior totals 23 4 17 23 44

Career achievements and facts

See also


  1. ^ Melnyk won't break bank to make playoffs
  2. ^ Crowning Glory. Sportschannel. 1992. 
  3. ^ "The Hockey News: Top 50 NHL Players of All-Time - The Definitive List". 1997. 
  4. ^  
  5. ^ "Ottawa Senators Game Broadcast". Sportsnet East. April 16, 2013. 
  6. ^ "CANOE - SLAM! Sports - Hockey NHL - Ottawa- Potvin joins Sens broadcast team". 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Legends of Hockey, or The Internet Hockey Database
Preceded by
Billy Harris
NHL first overall draft pick
Succeeded by
Greg Joly
Preceded by
Billy Harris
New York Islanders first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Clark Gillies
Preceded by
Clark Gillies
New York Islanders captain
Succeeded by
Brent Sutter
Preceded by
Bobby Orr
Winner of the Norris Trophy
Succeeded by
Larry Robinson
Preceded by
Larry Robinson
Winner of the Norris Trophy
1978, 1979
Succeeded by
Larry Robinson
Preceded by
Steve Vickers
Winner of the Calder Trophy
Succeeded by
Eric Vail
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