1970 NHL Amateur Draft Pick
Round Overall
5 59
Billy Smith
Selected by Los Angeles from Cornwall (QMJHL)
Los Angeles Kings Cornwall Royals
Billy Smith

5-foot-10, 175 pounds

Left-hand catcher


Pre-Draft Statistics

Year Team League GP W-L-T GAA SO SV%
1968-69 Smiths Falls Jr.B -- -- -- - --
1969-70 Cornwall QMJHL 55 -- 4.53 1 n/a

Pre-Draft Notes

QMJHL All-Star Second Team and shutouts leader in 1969-70. ... Played for Hull (QJHL) in 1969 Memorial Cup tournament. ... Joined Smiths Falls in 1967.
Canadian • Born December 12, 1950 in Perth, Ontario • Hometown: Perth, Ontario
HOCKEY HALL OF FAME: Inducted 1993

Ulitmate Competitor

Anyone who followed hockey in the 1970s and the New York Islanders' dynasty of the 1980s was familiar with Billy Smith. In many ways, the fiery Smith, who had first come to prominence in the league for what many considered dirty play with his stick, was the backbone of the Isles' run to four straight Stanley Cup championships. He was a ruthless, unflappable character who always played his best in the biggest of games. He was also hated by his rivals and not a big hit with the media either. His intense personality and willingness to do anything to win often led to jabs of the butt end of his stick into opponents who came near his net, a refusal to take part in any postgame handshake lines after playoff wins or losses, and often curt responses in postgame interviews. But that intensity was exactly what made him outstanding.

Video from NHL.com

ABOVE: A look at one of NHL's all-time great big-game performers.

Legends of HockeyConn Smythe WinnerSmith Scores a Goal
1984 Interview'83 Finals Game 1The Isles Strike Gold
Honored by IslesFight with McDonaldChildhood Memories

Career Vitals

First contract: 1970
Debut: February 12, 1972
(Los Angeles at Montreal)
Final NHL game: February 2, 1989
(N.Y. Islanders vs. Toronto)
Retired: June 5, 1989
Stanley Cup: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983
Numbers worn: 29 (Los Angeles);
31 (N.Y. Islanders) (number retired)

Career NHL Statistics

Teams: Los Angeles, N.Y. Islanders
Years: 1972-1989. Playoffs: 1975-1987

Regular Season
18 years 680 305-233-105 3.17 22 n/a
Stanley Cup Playoffs
13 years 132 88-36 2.73 5 n/a
Complete statistics available at NHL.com

NHL Awards and Honors

1977-78:All-Star Game, All-Star Game MVP
1978-79:Playoffs Shutouts Leader (1, tie), Playoffs GAA Leader (1.90)
1979-80:Playoffs Goalie Games-Played Leader (20), Playoffs Wins Leader (15), Playoffs Minutes Leader (1,198)
1980-81:Playoffs Goalie Games-Played Leader (17), Playoffs Wins Leader (14), Playoffs Minutes Leader (994), Playoffs GAA Leader (2.54)
1981-82:Vezina Trophy, All-Star First Team, Sporting News All-Star First Team, Wins Leader (32), Playoffs Goalie Games-Played Leader (18), Playoffs Wins Leader (15), Playoffs Minutes Leader (1,120), Playoffs Shutouts Leader (1)
1982-83:Conn Smythe Trophy, Jennings Trophy (shared with Roland Melanson), Playoffs Goalie Games-Played Leader (17), Playoffs Wins Leader (13), Playoffs Shutotus Leader (2), Playoffs GAA Leader (2.68)
1983-84:Playoffs Goalie Games-Played Leader (21), Playoffs Wins Leader (12), Playoffs Minutes Leader (1,190)

Team Awards and Honors

(with N.Y. Islanders)
1979-80:Star of the Game Award (Home Three-Stars Leader)
1981-82:NYI Radio Team Playoffs MVP
1984-85: Good Guy Award


500th Game:March 11, 1984
(N.Y. Islanders at Pittsburgh)
600th Game: December 30, 1986
(N.Y. Islanders vs. Chicago)
100th Playoff Game:May 12, 1983
(N.Y. Islanders vs. Edmonton)
300th Win: March 20, 1988 (shutout)
(N.Y. Islanders at Winnipeg)
50th Playoff Win: April 18, 1982
(N.Y. Islanders at N.Y. Rangers)
60th Playoff Win:May 16, 1982
(N.Y. Islanders at Vancouver)
70th Playoff Win: May 10, 1983
(N.Y. Islanders at Edmonton)
80th Playoff Win: April 18, 1984
(N.Y. Islanders vs. Washington)

League/Team Records

NHL Records
Most goals by a goaltender
in one season:
1 in 1979-80
(shares record)
New York Islanders Records
Most career games
played by a goaltender:
Most career minutes: 38,129
Most career wins: 304
Most career ties: 104
Most career penalty minutes
by a goaltender:
Most wins in one season: 32 in 1981-82
(shares record)
Most ties in one season: 17 in 1974-75
Most penalty minutes by
a goaltender in one season:
54 in 1978-79
Most goals by a goaltender
in one season:
1 in 1979-80
Most saves in one game
ending in regulation time:
55 (shares record)
(11/22/72 at Philadelphia)
Most career playoff seasons
by a goaltender:
Most career playoff games
played by a goaltender:
Most career playoff wins: 88
Most career playoff minutes: 7,645 
Most consecutive
playoff starts:
33 starts
(4/20/83 to 4/10/85)
Most career playoff shutouts: 5
Most career playoff penalty
shots stopped:
2 (shares record)
Most games by goaltender,
one playoff year:
21 in 1983
Most minutes, one playoff year: 1,198 in 1980
Most wins, one playoff year: 15 (twice) (1980, 1982)
Most consecutive starts,
one playoff year:
21 in 1984
Most consecutive
playoff victories:
(4/23/82 to 4/6/83)
Most consecutive victories,
one playoff year:
9 in 1982
(4/23/82 to 5/16/82)
Most shutouts,
one playoff series:
1 (five times)
(shares record)
Lowest goals-against average,
one playoff series:
0.49 vs. Chicago
(2 starts in 1979)
Most saves in playoff game
ending in regulation time:
45 (4/15/77 at Buffalo)
(Round 2, Game 3)

Transaction History

June 6, 1972 -- Claimed by N.Y. Islanders from Los Angeles in NHL Expansion Draft.

Life Outside the NHL

Full Name: William John Smith
Nickname: "Smitty", "Battlin' Billy", "Hatchet Man"
Also Known as: Bill Smith

Other Post-Draft Teams: Springfield (AHL)

Family: Younger brother of former NHL player Gord Smith and former minor-leaguer Jack Smith.

First Goalie to Score a Goal

On Nov. 28, 1979, Smith became first goaltender in NHL history to receive credit for scoring a goal. This historic moment took place during a 7-4 loss at Colorado. During a delayed penalty call against the Islanders that saw the Rockies pull goalie Bill  McKenzie for an extra attacker at 4:50 of the third period, Smith was the last Islanders player to touch the puck before Colorado's Rob Ramage accidentally sent it back down the ice into his own net. Ramage, who had gained control of the puck just to the left of Smith, was attempting to pass it back to the right point without realizing there was no sixth attacker there to receive it. The goal was initially credited to Islanders defenseman Dave Lewis, but was changed immediately after the game when video review confirmed that Smith had been the last Islanders player to touch the puck before Ramage. Smith's goal pulled the Islanders into a 4-4 tie, but the Rockies regained the lead less than a minute later and went on to seal their victory with two empty-net goals of their own. It was the first time since the former Kansas City Scouts had relocated to Denver that a Colorado Rockes team had ever beaten the Islanders. Ironically, Smith wasn't even supposed to play in the game, but had come in after starter Glenn Resch was pulled in the second period. After the game, Smith was informed he had scored a goal. He promptly told reporters: "Maybe I'll ask for a bonus clause in my contract for goal-scoring." Although their loss to the Rockies came in a particularly rough stretch of the 1979-80 season, Smith and the Islanders would have much more to celebrate over the next several months that led to the team's first Stanley Cup win in 1980.

The First Pro Championship

Billy Smith is remembered as a winner for the four Stanley Cup championships he helped bring to the Islanders, but he first showed his winning form during his rookie pro season, when he was in the Los Angeles organization. He began the 1970-71 season as a backup goaltender for Springfield (AHL), playing behind Bruce Landon. However, Landon struggled with shoulder injuries, and Smith ended up taking his job. When the playoffs rolled around, Smith was ready. He went 9-1 in the postseason, leading the AHL in wins (9), minutes (682), shutouts (1), and goals-against average (2.56) as the Kings won the Calder Cup. Despite this performance, Smith could not crack the Kings' NHL roster for 1971-72, because the team had Rogie Vachon and Gary Edwards ahead of him on its depth chart. He did see five games of NHL action with the Kings while Vachon was out with a knee injury, but was relatively unimpressive at 1-3-1. Coming off his Calder Cup heroics, he spent the bulk of his 1971-72 season in Springfield, sharing goaltending duties with Landon. With Vachon and Edwards entrenched in the Los Angeles net, Smith, who had led the AHL with four shutouts that season, was left unprotected for the 1972 NHL Expansion Draft -- a move the Kings would later come to regret.

Career Highlights

Ranked third in AHL in minutes played (2,728) as a rookie with Springfield in 1970-71. ... Won AHL Calder Cup with Springfield in 1971. ... Led AHL playoffs in wins (9), minutes (682), shutouts (1), and goals-against average (2.56) with Springfield in 1971. .... Won Springfield team MVP Award for 1970-71. ... Led AHL with four shutouts for Springfield in 1971-72. ... Played on first N.Y. Islanders team during franchise's inaugural 1972-73 season and was the backup goaltender for the franchise's first game on Oct. 7, 1972, vs. Atlanta. ... Set NHL single-season record (since broken) fo penalty minutes by a goaltender with 42 for N.Y. Islanders in 1972-73. ... Became first goaltender in New York Islanders history to record a shutout with 5-0 win at Washington (24 saves) on Oct. 20, 1974. ... Set N.Y. Islanders single-season record (since broken) for games played by a goaltender with career-high 58 in 1974-75. ... Set N.Y. Islanders single-season record (since broken) for combined regular-season and playoff games played by a goaltender with 64 in 1974-75. ... Set N.Y. Islanders record (since broken) for consecutive playoff wins with six from April 5, 1977, to April 17, 1977. ... Was named MVP of the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 24, 1978, at Buffalo. He stopped all 16 shots over the game's first 30 minutes and enabled the Campbell Conference to build up a 2-0 lead in a game the eventually lost 3-2 in overtime. He recieved a 1978 Volkswagen Dasher as his award. ... Was last of the New York Islanders' 1972 NHL Expansion Draft picks still with the team entering the 1979-80 season. ... Set NHL record (since broken) for wins in one playoff year with 15 in 1980. ... Ended 1980-81 regular season by going 7-0-4 over final 11 games. ... Tied N.Y. Islanders record (since broken) for consecutive playoff wins with six from May 24, 1980, to April 17, 1981. ... Set N.Y. Islanders record (since broken)  for consecutive playoff wins with eight from April 24, 1981, to May 17, 1981. ... Was last of the original N.Y. Islanders players still with the team entering the 1981-82 season, since Bob Nystrom had not started the 1972-73 season with the team. ... Won 10 consecutive starts for N.Y. Islanders from Jan. 23, 1982, to Feb. 25, 1982, during the span of time when the Islanders set an NHL record (since broken) of  15 consecutive wins. ... Finished third in NHL with 2.97 goals-against average in 1981-82. ... Tied NHL record (since broken) for wins in one playoff year with 15 in 1982. ... Tied N.Y. Islanders single-season record (since broken) for combined regular-season and playoff games played by a goaltender with 64 in 1981-82. ... Tied NHL record (since broken) for wins in one playoff year with 15 in 1982. ... Became first NHL goaltender to win the Vezina Trophy in 1981-82 after award was shifted from going to team's goalies with lowest goals-against average to the single best goaltender in the league as voted by NHL general managers. The older Vezina format became the format for the William M. Jennings Trophy. Smith was also the first N.Y. Islanders goaltender to win the Vezina. ... Finished third in NHL with 2.87 goals-against average in 1982-83. ... Was only active NHL goaltender who had ever won the Stanley Cup entering the 1983-84 season. ... Passed Ken Dryden to set NHL record (since broken) with his 81st career playoff victory on April 28, 1984, in Game 3 of Wales Conference Finals vs. Montreal. ... Played on N.Y. Islanders team that lost to Edmonton in 1984 Stanley Cup Finals, ending a record run of 19 straight playoff series victories. ... Finished second in NHL with .896 save percentage in 1983-84. ... Was last of the 1972-73 Islanders who was still playing for the team at start of 1986-87 season. ... Retired in 1989 with NHL records (all since broken) for career penalty minutes by a goaltender (489), career playoff games by a goalie (132), most career playoff minutes (7,645), and career playoff victories (88). ... Inducted into the now-defunct Long Island Sports Hall of Fame in 1982. ... Inducted into the New York Islanders Hall of Fame in 1993.

Retired Sweater Number

In a ceremony prior to the New York Islanders' Feb. 19, 1993, home game vs. Pittsburgh, Billy Smith became the third former Islanders player to see his number go to the rafters at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Smith's No. 31 joined the numbers of his Stanley Cup dynasty teammates Mike Bossy and Denis Potvin. Smith was the only member of the original 1972-73 Islanders team to have his number retired by the organization.

International Tournaments

1981:Canada Cup (second place)
(injured spare goaltender, did not play)

Significant Injuries

Missed part of 1980 training camp with mild case of Bell's Palsey, a condition diagnosed in September 1980. The disease -- an inflammation  of the facial nerve, temporarily paralyzed muscles in the left side of his face. ... Missed 1981 Canada Cup and part of 1981 training camp with broken finger on left hand, an injury suffered during Team Canada's Sept. 9, 1981, practice. ... Missed part of 1987-88 season with sprained left ankle, an injury suffered in a collision with Brent Ashton during N.Y. Islanders' Nov. 7, 1987, game vs. Detroit. He did not return until N.Y. Islanders' Nov. 24, 1987, game vs. Toronto.

Non-Playing Career

Named N.Y. Islanders goaltending coach on June 5, 1989, and remained in that position through 1992-93 season. ... Named Florida goaltending coach prior to team's inaugural 1993-94 season and remained in that position through 1997-98 season. ... Named
Florida assistant coach on July 21, 1998, and remained in that position through 2000-01 season. ... Named N.Y. Islanders goaltending consultant on Aug. 22 2001, had his job title upgraded to goaltending coach/scout during the 2001-02 season and remained in that position through 2003-04 season.


Selected by Ottawa Nationals in 1972 WHA Draft, the first-ever WHA Draft, in February 1972. Was fourth overall player, and second by N.Y. Islanders, taken in 1972 NHL Expansion Draft. Entered N.Y. Islanders' first training camp as third goalie n team's depth chart at age 21. Worked at Islanders' hockey school during off-seasons of his early playing days.
Opened an employment agency on Long Island during the 1981 off-season. Played outfield on Islanders' charity softball team in off-seasons of his playing days. Was an avid tennis player in Long Island during the off-seasons of his playing days. Was represented by agent Art Kaminsky during the latter part of his NHL career.
Retired to pursue a coaching career with one year left on his a two-year contract at age 38. Was only remaining active member of 1970 draft class at time of his final NHL game. Joined the Oldtimers Hockey Challenge charity tour after his coaching career ended. Ranked by The Hockey News in 1997 as the 80th greatest NHL player of all time.
Total Selected: 115
Forwards: 67
Defense: 36
Goaltenders: 12
Major Junior: 87
College Players: 18
Canadian: 109
Euro-Canadian: 0
American: 6
European: 0
Reached NHL: 62
Won Stanley Cup: 12
Hall of Fame: 3
All-Star Game: 11
Year-end All-Star: 4
Olympians: 2
Picks Traded: 13


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