Bryan Trottier

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Bryan Trottier
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1997
Trottier in 2008
Born (1956-07-17) July 17, 1956 (age 67)
Redvers, Saskatchewan, Canada
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for New York Islanders
Pittsburgh Penguins
National team  Canada and
 United States
NHL Draft 22nd overall, 1974
New York Islanders
WHA Draft 18th overall, 1974
Cincinnati Stingers
Playing career 1975–1994

Bryan John Trottier (born July 17, 1956)[1] is a Canadian former professional ice hockey centre who played 18 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins. He won four Stanley Cups with the Islanders, two with the Penguins and one as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche. He shares the NHL record for points in a single period with six (four goals and two assists) in the second period against the Rangers on December 23, 1978.[2] He is also one of only eight NHL players with multiple five-goal games. On August 4, 2014, Trottier was announced as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres.[3] In 2017 Trottier was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" in history.[4]

Early life[edit]

Trottier grew up in the town of Val Marie, Saskatchewan, Canada, located between Swift Current and the Montana border with his parents and four siblings.[5] His father is of Cree Métis descent, and his mother is of Irish origin.[6] Growing up in the 1960s, Trottier wanted to be like his idol Jean Béliveau. When he was learning to skate, his father would clear out the dam on the creek across their home with a machete, to create a surface to practice on.[7]

As a child, Trottier played for the Climax Hockey Team in Climax, Saskatchewan and for the Swift Current Broncos as a junior.[8]

Trottier has one older sister, Carol, and three younger siblings, Kathy, Monty and Rocky. Monty played professional minor league hockey, and Rocky played in 38 games for the New Jersey Devils.[5]

Playing career[edit]

Trottier claims that without his friend Tiger Williams, he would have dropped out of hockey due to homesickness. Trottier and Tiger became best friends due to the special bond they built early on in their careers/academy.[7]

Nicknamed "Trots," Trottier was drafted in the second round, 22nd overall, by the New York Islanders in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft, the team he played his first 15 seasons in the NHL with.[9] He set an NHL rookie record of 95 points and won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year in 1975–76, though the record was later broken by Peter Šťastný of the Quebec Nordiques in 1980–81.

Trottier's best offensive season was 1978–79 when he scored 134 points, earning him the Art Ross Trophy as the League's top scorer, as well as the Hart Memorial Trophy as NHL MVP. In winning the Art Ross, he became the first player from a post-Original Six expansion team to win the award. In that same season, he led the NHL in assists with 87, which he had also done the year before with 77.

Trottier was one of the core players on the Islanders' dynasty teams from the 1980s. He won four Stanley Cups during his time with the Islanders from 1980 to 1983. During New York's first Stanley Cup in 1980, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. In 1981–82, Trottier scored 50 goals, the highest single-season total of his career.

During the early 1980s, when Wayne Gretzky set numerous scoring marks, Islanders broadcaster Stan Fischler and head coach Al Arbour nonetheless maintained that Trottier was the league's best player over Gretzky. Trottier was described as a forward possessing an all-around game including ruggedness and defensive responsibility, and there have been comparisons to Milt Schmidt and Gordie Howe. Arbour stated, "Gretzky is an offensive genius for sure. But at this stage Trots gives you more things. Defensively, he's outstanding. And he's physically tough. He comes up with his 100 points a year, automatically, along with everything else!"[10]

Trottier was often referred to as the "glue" on the Islanders team, centring his fellow stars Clark Gillies and Mike Bossy on a line known as "The Trio Grande." While the 1977–78 season was Bossy's rookie year, the Trio Grande at one point led the NHL in scoring above the top lines of the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Rockies.[11] Other linemates that played with Trottier included John Tonelli, Bob Bourne and Bob Nystrom. Trottier, however, was most known for his dynamic on-ice partnership with Mike Bossy during his prime years with the Islanders until Bossy's early retirement at the end of the 1987 season.

Undaunted by heavy criticism from fellow Canadians,[citation needed] Trottier chose to play for the United States in the 1984 Canada Cup tournament, after having previously represented Canada in 1981, because he wanted to pay back the country in which he lived and because his wife was American.[citation needed] He was able to obtain the necessary U.S. citizenship in July 1984 because he had Métis ancestry on his father's side (Cree/Chippewa).[12] His North American Indian Card (for which he qualified because his grandmother was a Chippewa) entitled him to citizenship in both the U.S. and Canada, as well as a U.S. passport, which was all he needed for tournament eligibility.[12]

Unlike other star centremen, longevity was not Trottier's hallmark.[citation needed] Following his 13th season, his skills seemed to deteriorate precipitously, decreasing from 82 points in 1988 to 45 points just one year later, and 24 points in 1990.[13] After that low output, Islanders management released Trottier from his contract, believing that his best years were behind him and that younger centers such as Pat LaFontaine and Brent Sutter should get his ice time.[citation needed] He ranks second in Islanders history in goals, and first in assists and points. It could be noted, however, that even as Trottier's scoring declined, he remained a strong defensive player and team leader.[10]

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed Trottier as a free agent to provide experience and leadership to a young team. He won the Stanley Cup for the fifth and sixth times with Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992, respectively. Trottier took the 1992–93 season off, returning to the Isles in a front-office capacity, but financial troubles, stemming from poor investments, forced Trottier to return to the ice with the Penguins for the 1993–94 season.[citation needed] He retired again following a disappointing final season where he scored just four goals in 41 games. At the time of his retirement, his point total ranked sixth in NHL history.


Following his retirement, Trottier played for the Pittsburgh Phantoms of the Roller Hockey International league in its 1994 season.

Trottier was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1997.[14]

After many of his Islander teammates, including linemates Mike Bossy and Clark Gillies, were honored by the Islanders organization by having their numbers retired, Trottier was expected to be next; his number 19 was eventually raised to the rafters on October 20, 2001.

On March 4, 2006, the Islanders celebrated the 26th anniversary of the team's first Stanley Cup championship. Trottier, apparently forgiven for his coaching stint with the rival New York Rangers, was given one of the largest ovations of the evening. He gave a familiar salute to the fans who lined up to watch a pre-game "Walk of Champions" entering the building, raising both hands high above his head, reminiscent of his days playing on the Island where he would do the same to the fans cheering him on. The Islanders played against the Philadelphia Flyers that night, who, coincidentally, was the team that the Islanders faced in the Finals during their first Stanley Cup championship. The Islanders won by a score of 4–2. On June 1, 2006, Trottier returned to the Islanders as the team's executive director of player development.

Trottier is currently ranked 17th all-time in NHL regular-season points. He is ninth all-time in playoff points and remains the Islanders' all-time leader in assists and points. Trottier was named by Islanders fans as the second greatest player in franchise history, ahead of Denis Potvin and behind Mike Bossy.

Early on in Trottier's life, his mother, Marry Trottier, taught him an important lesson that would establish who he is. At a young age, Trottier faced discrimination and racism due to his native heritage. Trottier was called offensive things such as "half-breed". His mother's lesson to be proud of his native heritage is the reason that during his hall of fame induction speech, he decided to bring light to the issue.[15] Trottier now travels to aboriginal communities and teaches kids about his heritage, and shares why it is special to be confident in today's world as an aboriginal. He believes that teaching them leadership skills and the ability to believe in who they are is vital for success in any field they choose to be in.[16]

Coaching career[edit]

After serving as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins until 1997, he took a similar position with the Colorado Avalanche, where he won his seventh career Stanley Cup in 2001.

Trottier was named as head coach of the New York Rangers in 2002, much to the ire of Islander fans. However, his brief stint with the Rangers lasted only 54 games, slightly longer than the halfway mark of the season. In addition to receiving criticism from Isles fans who labeled him a traitor, he drew the rage of Ranger fans as well, who felt he misused his offensively-gifted players—such as Eric Lindros and Pavel Bure—by having them play the neutral-zone trap (a defensive tactic used to slow down the opponent, but also limiting the user's offensive chances). At the time of his dismissal at the hands of General Manager Glen Sather, Trottier had coached 54 games, posting a 21–26–6–1 record and a .454 winning percentage.[17] On July 29, 2014, Trottier was hired as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Trottier has four children: Bryan Jr., Lindsey, Tayler and Christian.[19]


Steve Yzerman, who was also renowned for his strong two-way play, considered Trottier his favourite player,[20] donning the number 19 in honour of Trottier.

Of Trottier's 18 seasons in the NHL, he missed taking part in the post-season only once in 1988–89 after his Islanders team failed to qualify for the playoffs. As of 2023, Trottier sits 13th all-time with 182 playoff points on the strength of 71 goals and 111 assists in 221 games played. Evgeni Malkin is 14th and two points behind Trottier. He is the only active player behind Trottier within range of surpassing him (Malkin’s longtime teammate, Sidney Crosby, holds sixth place).[21]


Playing statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1972–73 Swift Current Broncos WCJHL 67 16 29 45 10
1973–74 Swift Current Broncos WCJHL 68 41 71 112 76 13 7 8 15 8
1974–75 Lethbridge Broncos WCJHL 67 46 98 144 103 6 2 5 7 14
1975–76 New York Islanders NHL 80 32 63 95 21 13 1 7 8 8
1976–77 New York Islanders NHL 76 30 42 72 34 12 2 8 10 2
1977–78 New York Islanders NHL 77 46 77 123 46 7 0 3 3 4
1978–79 New York Islanders NHL 76 47 87 134 50 10 2 4 6 13
1979–80 New York Islanders NHL 78 42 62 104 68 21 12 17 29 16
1980–81 New York Islanders NHL 73 31 72 103 74 18 11 18 29 34
1981–82 New York Islanders NHL 80 50 79 129 88 19 6 23 29 40
1982–83 New York Islanders NHL 80 34 55 89 68 17 8 12 20 18
1983–84 New York Islanders NHL 68 40 71 111 59 21 8 6 14 29
1984–85 New York Islanders NHL 68 28 31 59 47 10 4 2 6 8
1985–86 New York Islanders NHL 78 37 59 96 72 3 1 1 2
1986–87 New York Islanders NHL 80 23 64 87 50 14 8 4 12 12
1987–88 New York Islanders NHL 77 30 52 82 48 6 0 0 0 10
1988–89 New York Islanders NHL 73 17 28 45 44
1989–90 New York Islanders NHL 59 13 11 24 29 4 1 0 1 4
1990–91 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 52 9 19 28 24 23 3 4 7 29
1991–92 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 63 11 18 29 54 21 4 3 7 8
1993–94 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 41 4 11 15 36 2 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 1,279 524 901 1,425 912 221 71 112 183 277


Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
1975 Canada WJC 7 5 2 7
1981 Canada CC 7 3 8 11 6
1984 United States CC 6 2 3 5 8
Junior totals 7 5 2 7
Senior totals 13 5 11 16 14

Coaching statistics[edit]

League Team Year Regular season Postseason
G W L T OTL Pts Division rank Result
NHL NYR 2002–03 54 21 26 6 1 49 (fired)
3ICE Team Trottier 2022 15 8 7 .533 2nd place Won Patrick Cup

Records and achievements[edit]

Team records

  • Most career games (Islanders) – 1,123;
  • Most career points (Islanders) – 1,353;
  • Most career assists (Islanders) – 853;
  • Most assists in a season (Islanders) – 87 in 1978–79;

League records

  • Most points in a period (Tied with Mika Zibanejad) – 6 (vs. New York Rangers), December 23, 1978
  • Fastest goal to start a game (tied with three others) – 0:05 (vs. Boston Bruins), March 22, 1984
  • Most Power Play goals in one game
    (tied with several others) – 4 (vs. Philadelphia) February 13, 1982

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Legends of Hockey – The Legends – Honoured Player – Trottier, Bryan". Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum. The Learning Edge Corporation. 2001–2007. Retrieved November 15, 2007.
  2. ^ "Most points scored by an NHL player in one period". Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  3. ^ "SABRES ADD FOUR TO NOLAN'S COACHING STAFF". Buffalo Sabres. August 4, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  4. ^ "100 Greatest NHL Players". January 27, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Shea, Kevin. "Bryan Trottier's journal". Hockey Hall of Fame. Kevin Shea. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  6. ^ "Trottier shares thoughts on indigenous upbringing with". Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Trottier, Bryan (November 23, 2015). "Letter to My Younger Self". The Player's Tribune. Player's Tribune. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  8. ^ Cory Toth - Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. "The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan | Details". Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  9. ^ "Bryan Trottier – Biography". Internet Movie Database Inc. 1990–2007. Retrieved November 15, 2007.
  10. ^ a b nyislanderslegends
  11. ^ "Three Islanders Unto Themselves". CNN. December 12, 1977.
  12. ^ a b Fox, Luke. "Bryan Trottier is your daddy's Jonathan Toews". Rogers Media. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  13. ^ "Brian Trottier Stats and News". NHL. National Hockey League. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  14. ^ "Legends of Hockey – Induction Showcase – Mario Lemieux". Bryan John Trottier, Player Category, Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum. The Learning Edge Corporation. 2001–2007. Archived from the original on February 24, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2007.
  15. ^ Barnsley, Paul. "Hockey all-time great is proud of his Aboriginal heritage". Wind Speaker. Archived from the original on March 24, 2017.
  16. ^ N/A, N/A (January 17, 2014). "Bryan Trottier teaches aboriginal kids about leadership". CBC News.
  17. ^ "Bryan Trottier NHL & WHA Hockey Coaching Record". July 17, 1956. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  18. ^ "Report: Buffalo Sabres Sign Bryan Trottier as Assistant Coach". Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  19. ^ "About - Bryan Trottier". Bryan Trottier. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  20. ^
  21. ^ NHL Playoff Skater Records: Most Points, Playoff Career –
  22. ^ "Canada's Sports Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  23. ^ "Indigenous athletes inducted into SK Sports Hall of Fame". Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  24. ^ "Inductee Directory". Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 8, 2019.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Art Ross Trophy
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Calder Trophy
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Sporting positions
Preceded by NHLPA President
October 24, 1984 – November 9, 1992
Succeeded by
Preceded by Head coach of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by