Torrey thought he was acquiring the second line center his team had been missing, and he had. But in doing so he also set the standard for all trade deadline deals to be judged.
With Goring on board, the Islanders were finally able to forget about a few missteps in previous years and emerge as Stanley Cup champions - for the next four years.
Goring was a major contributor to that dynasty, scoring 27 goals, 35 assists and 62 points in 78 playoff games in those 4 years, and capturing the 1981 Conn Smythe trophy as the Stanley Cup MVP.
Rink Rap With Mick Colageo recently caught a few new Denis Potvin quotes about Goring's importance.
There was an element missing, and I think a lot of it had to do with the combination of maturity, which we recognized at that point, and maybe (playing) a little too uptight,” said Potvin.The Islanders were a bland 29-26-7 at the time of the trade, and arguably the greatest Stanley Cup dynasty ever after it. But there were other factors besides Goring's addition in the dramatic turnaround.
It wasn’t the newcomer’s point-per-game production that made the trade pay off. It was his effect in the other players.
“Between my brother (Jean) and Butch Goring, we had two of the funniest guys in a dressing room around. That really lightened things up for us,” said Potvin. “One thing I’ll never forget is what Butch did. After a couple of games, he stood up and said, ‘I don’t think you guys realize how much respect every team in the league has for you. I don’t think you guys know how good you are.’ Coming from a guy who was 30 years old, it meant a lot to us.”
At about the same time Potvin had also just rejoined the team, having missed 36 games with a thumb injury. And he returned with a brand new defense partner - Ken Morrow, the steady if understated star of the Miracle On Ice team that had won gold at the 1980s Olympics just weeks earlier.
Essentially, the struggling Islanders added a good second line center, and a top defensive pairing including the best defenseman in the game.
I don't think we will see a team duplicate such a feat this trade deadline.