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Maven's Memories: Denis Potvin's Breakout vs Rangers
Potvin Scores His First NHL Goal and the Islanders Defeat The NY Rangers For The First Time...
Only a year after the franchise was born, the Islanders high command was convinced that it had a superstar-in-the-making.
His name was Denis Potvin and he was the first overall pick in the 1973 Entry Draft.
"A lot of teams wished they had the kid," remembered General Manager Bill Torrey. "Virtually every scouting report had Denis down as a sure thing."
Except, he wasn't. At least not before his big-league debut.
Prior to Potvin's rookie season (1973-74), the husky French-Canadian defenseman's potential greatness was on paper only. Proof positive was yet to come.
"It was a fact of life," noted Torrey's sidekick, Jim Devellano, "that number one pick's didn't always make it. When I worked for St.Louis in 1969, Rejean Houle (Canadiens) went Number One in the Draft.
"Houle was okay, but he never made it to the Hall of Fame. But the fella who went 17th, Bobby Clarke (Flyers) is in the Hall. The center who went 51st that year won four Stanley Cups -- Butch Goring."
Not that neither Bow Tie Bill nor Jimmy D were suffering any doubts about Denis. Not one bit.
"But," Devellano added, "our believing came after the seeing."