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10-04-2012, 02:38 PM
original islander
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Originally Posted by Fantom View Post
Yes he was overpaid by alot. Many fans hated him called him useless because of that. However he was a 70 pt player. Most fans acted like he was only getting 1 pt a seson not 70
If you include Yashin, Billy Harris has to be considered underrated. Most fans who never seen him play or didn't see the first 5 years of the team think of him only as the guy that was traded for Butch Goring and don't understand his contribution to the early development of the team. Harris was the first Islander drafted, scored the first goal (exhibition game), scored 2 goals in our first game against the Rangers, scored in our first regular season game, scored our first playoff goal and had our first playoff hat trick. Harris was our leading scorer in the first year, led all forwards in scoring in the each of the first three years and all Islander wingers in scoring in each of the first 5 years. Harris was our leading scorer in the 76-77 playoffs at better than a point per game clip. In each of the 3 years he played on a line with Clark Gillies he outscored Gillies.

In his first year with the Islanders he scored 28 goals despite having horrific linemates. With a competent center Harris would have scored 40 goals in his rookie season. Under Al Arbour, Harris only scored more than that one time. In Arbour's first year he had Harris (along with with most of the team) concentrate more on defensive play. The next year because they really didn't have a center, Torrey and Arbour wanted Billy to be more of a playmaker to compliment Clark Gillies who was envisioned to be a potentially big goal scorer. When they asked Billy to go back to being the goal scorer in the playoffs against Montreal when they split up the Harris-Gillies combo Billy came through and was clearly the best player on the ice. In that regular season Trottier had 72 points while Harris had 67 points-not that much of a difference. Harris was a legitimate first line Right Wing.

What happened to Harris? Mike Bossy was drafted and he played the same position. Mike is the best natural goal scorer in the history of hockey and rightfully took Billy's slot. Harris was never really on the power play again and when Eddie Westfall retired Billy took over a lot of the face-off duties and penalty killing while Bossy, Nystrom and Duane Sutter had 90% of the even strength time. In addition unlike the left wings Gillies, Tonelli and Bourne; Harris never got to skate with Bossy which would have helped his stats as it did for the Left Wingers.

To put things in perspective, in John Tavares's first 3 seasons-245 games 84 goals. Harris 236 games 76 goals. Again not that much of a difference.

Last edited by original islander: 10-04-2012 at 03:08 PM.
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