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Pat LaFontaine
Selected in first round
No. 3 overall by New York Islanders

Born February 22, 1965
Position: Center
Height: 5-10   Weight: 175
Last Team: Verdun (QMJHL)                              
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri (USA)
Hometown: Waterford, Michigan
Year TeamLeague GPG ATP PIM
1980-81 CompuwareMich. AAA ---- ---- --
1981-82 CompuwareMich. AAA 79175 149324 --
1982-83 VerdunQMJHL 70104 130234 10

Canadian Major-Junior Player of Year:
1982-83 (Verdun)
QMJHL Briere Trophy (MVP): 1982-83 (Verdun)
Molson/Cooper QMJHL Player of Year: 1982-83 (Verdun)
QMJHL Lafleur Trophy (Playoffs MVP): 1983 (Verdun)
QMJHL Instructeurs Trophy (Offensive Rookie of Year): 1982-83
QMJHL Beliveau Trophy (Points Leader): 1982-83 (Verdun) (234)
QMJHL Best Professional Prospect: 1982-83 (Verdun) (co-winner)
QMJHL Selke Trophy (Most Gentlemanly): 1982-83 (Verdun)
QMJHL All-Star First Team: 1982-83 (Verdun)
QMJHL All-Star Game MVP: 1983 (Verdun)
QMJHL Records: Most game-winning goals in season (18 for Verdun in 1982-83), most points in one season by a rookie (234 for Verdun in 1982-83), most goals in a season by a rookie (104 for Verdun in 1982-83), most assists in season by a rookie (130 for Verdun in 1982-83)
Montreal/Verdun Records: Most assists in season (130 in 1982-83)
QMJHL Goals Leader: 1982-93 (Verdun) (104 goals)
QMJHL Assists Leader: 1982-83 (Verdun) (130 assists)
QMJHL Playoffs Points Leader: 1983 (Verdun) (35 points)
QMJHL Playoffs Assists Leader: 1983 (Verdun) (24 assists)
Miscellaneous: Ranked by NHL Central Scouting Bureau as No. 2 overall prospect for the 1983 NHL draft. ... Rated in The Hockey News draft preview issue as No. 2 overall prospect for the 1983 NHL draft. ... Played on line with Gerard Gallant for Verdun (QMJHL) in 1982-83. ... Set QMJHL record (since broken) by scoring at least one point in 43 consecutive games for Verdun in 1982-83. ... Attended Waterford Kettering High School in Waterford, Mich., and Verdun Catholic in Verdun, Quebec. ... Studied briefly at Dawson College in Montreal during 1982-83 season before giving up school to focus on hockey. ... Played in Detroit Compuware Midgets system prior to entering major junior hockey. ... Grew up in Michigan, where his father, John, was a Chrysler executive. The family had moved from St. Louis to the Detroit area in 1972. ... Was Verdun's ninth-round pick in 1982 QMJHL midget draft. ... Was Belleville's first-round pick, No. 2 overall, in 1982 OHL priority selection. LaFontaine, howver, opted to play in QMJHL because it had easier travel and a more offense-oriented style of play.
Debut: February 29, 1984 (N.Y. Islanders at Winnipeg)
Numbers:  16 (N.Y. Islanders); 16 (Buffalo) (number retired);
16 (N.Y. Rangers)
Stanley Cup: Never won.  Playing Status: Retired August 11, 1998
Years TeamsGP GA TPPIM
1984-1998 NYI, Buffalo, NYR865 468545 1,013552
YearsTeams GPG ATP PIM
1984-1995 N.Y. Islanders, Buffalo 69 2636 6236

Inducted 2003
Masterton Trophy: 1994-95 (Buffalo)
Lester Patrick Trophy (Service to U.S. Hockey): 1997
Dodge NHL Performer of Year: 1989-90 (N.Y. Islanders)
NHL All-Star Second Team: 1992-93 (Buffalo)
Sporting News All-Star Second Team: 1989-90 (N.Y. Islanders)
All-Star Game: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 (N.Y. Islanders), 1993 (Buff.)
Stanley Cup Finals (Lost): 1984 (N.Y. Islanders)
NYI SportsChannel MVP: 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91
N.Y. Islanders Newsday Islander of Year: 1986-87, 1987-88,
1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91
Buffalo Memorial Trophy (MVP): 1991-92, 1992-93
Buffalo Star of Stars Trophy (Three-Stars Leader): 1991-92
Buffalo Eddolls Trophy (Most Popular): 1991-92 (co-winner),
1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96
Buffalo Imlach Award (Leadership/Dedication): 1992-93
Buffalo Captain: Oct. 30, 1992, until Sept. 29, 1997
NHL Records: Most points in one season by a U.S.-born player (148 in 1992-93), fastest two goals from the start of a period in a playoff game (35 seconds -- 0:13 and 0:35 of third period in Game 5 of Stanley Cup Finals at Edmonton on May 19, 1984)
N.Y. Islanders Records: Most points by a rookie in one game (5 at Toronto on March 3, 1984, shares record), most goals by a rookie in one game (3 at Toronto on March 3, 1984, shares record), most consecutive games with at least one goal (11 from Dec. 15, 1989, until Jan. 11, 1990. He scored 18 goals in the streak), most consecutive games with at least one assist (9 in 1984-85, shares record), fastest two goals by one player in a playoff game (22 seconds in third period of Game 5 of Stanley Cup finals at Edmonton on May 19, 1984), most points by one player in one period of a playoff game (3, shares record)
Buffalo Records: Most points in one season (148 in 1992-93), most assists in one season (95 in 1992-93), most games played in one season (84 in 1992-93, shares record), most games played by a center in one season (84 in 1992-93), most goals by a center in one season (53 in 1992-93), most assists in one game (5, achieved three times, shares record), most consecutive playoff games with at least one goal (7 in 1992), most consecutive playoff games with at least one point (7 in 1992, shares record)
100-Point Seasons: 1989-90 (NYI) (105), 1992-93 (Buffalo) (148)
50-Goal Seasons: 1989-90 (NYI) (54), 1992-93 (Buffalo) (53)
N.Y. Islanders Points Leader: 1987-88 (92), 1988-89 (88), 1989-90 (105), 1990-91 (85)
N.Y. Islanders Goals Leader: 1986-87 (38, tie), 1987-88 (47), 1988-89 (45), 1989-90 (54), 1990-91 (41)
NYI Assists Leader: 1988-89 (43), 1989-90 (51), 1990-91 (44)
N.Y. Islanders Playoffs Points Leader: 1988 (9)
N.Y. Islanders Playoffs Goals Leader: 1986 (1, tie), 1988 (4)
N.Y. Islanders Playoffs Assists Leader: 1987 (7), 1988 (5)
Buffalo Points Leader: 1992-93 (148), 1995-96 (91)
Buffalo Goals Leader: 1991-92 (46), 1995-96 (40)
Buffalo Assists Leader: 1992-93 (95), 1995-96 (51)
Buffalo Playoffs Points Leader: 1992 (11)
Buffalo Playoffs Goals Leader: 1992 (8)
Buffalo Playoffs Assists Leader: 1993 (10)
N.Y. Rangers Goals Leader: 1997-98 (23, tie)
Miscellaneous: Joined N.Y. Islanders for balance of 1983-84 season after competing in 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. ...  Scored three goals and had two assists in his second NHL game for N.Y. Islanders on March 3, 1984, at Toronto. ... Missed part of 1984 playoffs with ankle injury, suffered during N.Y. Islanders' practice on April 23, 1984. He did not return to action until Game 6 of N.Y. Islanders' Wales Conference finals series vs. Montreal on May 5, 1984. ... Had longest assists streak of any rookie in 1984-85 with at least one assist in nine consecutive games in November 1984. ... Missed part of 1984-85 season with mononucleosis, contracted in January 1985. Due to the illness, he missed all of N.Y. Islanders' games from Jan. 9, 1985, through Jan. 31, 1985. ... Ranked seventh in NHL rookie scoring race for 1984-85 with 54 points. ... Missed part of 1985-86 season with separated right shoulder, an injury suffered when he was checked by Wayne Presley in N.Y. Islanders' Jan. 25, 1986, game vs. Chicago. He did not return to action until N.Y. Islanders' March 4, 1986, game vs. Montreal. He had a goal and assist in that game. ... Scored at 8:47 of the fourth overtime as N.Y. Islanders beat Washington 3-2 in Game 7 of Patrick Division semifinals on April 18, 1987. He beat Capitals goaltender Bob Mason from inside the right point. ... Finished third in NHL with 19 power-play goals in 1986-87. ... Missed part of 1987-88 season with bruised right knee, an injury suffered in N.Y. Islanders' Feb. 23, 1988, game vs. Vancouver. ... Missed part of 1988-89 season with sprained ligaments in right wrist, an injury suffered during N.Y. Islanders' Dec. 1, 1988, game at St. Louis. ... Played entire 1988-89 season with broken nose, an injury suffered in a collision with Steve Smith during N.Y. Islanders' Oct. 7, 1988, game at Edmonton. He did not have surgery to repair the nose until after the season on May 3, 1989. ... Suffered first career concussion when checked by N.Y. Rangers' James Patrick during 1989-90 season, but did not miss any games. ... Named NHL Player of Week twice during 1989-90 season. ... Missed part of 1989-90 season with chipped bone in left hand, an injury suffered in N.Y. Islanders' Feb. 22, 1990, game at Pittsburgh. He did not return to action until N.Y. Islanders' March 8, 1990, game at New Jersey. ... Finished eighth in 1989-90 NHL scoring race with 105 points. ... Finished third in voting for 1989-90 Lady Byng Trophy. ... Finished fifth in voting for 1989-90 Hart Trophy. ... Missed part of 1990 playoffs with severe concussion, an injury suffered during Game 1 of N.Y. Islanders' first-round series at N.Y. Rangers on April 5, 1990. He did not return to action until Game 5 of series on April 11, 1990. ... Missed part of 1990-91 season with strained left hamstring, an injury suffered during N.Y. Islanders' Oct. 13, 1990, game vs. Pittsburgh. ... Played on line with Alexander Mogilny for Buffalo in 1991-92 and 1992-93. ... Missed part of 1991-92 season with double fracture of jaw and severed facial artery, an injury suffered when he was slashed by Jamie Macoun and then crashed into the boards on a breakaway in Buffalo's Nov. 16, 1991, game at Calgary. The injury required emergency surgery, and LaFontaine did not return to action until Buffalo's Dec. 20, 1991, game vs. Edmonton. ... Named NHL Player of Month for January 1992. ... Named Buffalo Player of Month for January 1992 and March 1992. ... Set Buffalo single-season record (since broken) for goals by a center with 46 in 1991-92. ... Led Buffalo with plus-10 rating in 1991-92. ... Finished third in NHL with 23 power-play goals in 1991-92. ... Named Buffalo Player of Month for October 1992 and Co-Player of Month for February 1993. ... Finished second to Mario Lemieux in 1992-93 scoring race with 148 points. ... Finished third in voting for 1992-93 Hart Trophy. ... Finished third in voting for 1992-93 Lady Byng Trophy. ... Missed remainder of 1993 playoffs with partially torn ACL in right knee, an injury suffered during Game 3 of Buffalo's second-round series vs. Montreal on May 6, 1993. ... Named Buffalo Player of Month for October 1993. ... Missed remainder of 1993-94 regular season, entire 1994 playoffs and first half of 1995 season with torn ACL in right knee, an injury aggravated for the final time during Buffalo's Nov. 13, 1993, game at Philadelphia. He had first suffered the knee injury during Buffalo's 1993-94 season-opener at Boston on Oct. 7, 1993, and played in pain up until he announced he could no longer continue on Nov. 19, 1993. The injury required season-ending reconstructive surgery on Dec. 3, 1993. At the time of the injury, he was leading Buffalo with 18 points in 16 games. He did not return to action until Buffalo's March 16, 1995, game vs. N.Y. Islanders. Even though he had not played in 16 months, he had a goal and assist in that game. ... Scored his 400th career NHL goal for Buffalo on April 14, 1995, at Quebec. ... Named Buffalo Player of Month for October 1995 and December 1995. ... Missed part of 1995-96 season with mild concussion, an injury suffered when he was checked by Lance Pitlick during Buffalo's Dec. 27, 1995, game vs. Ottawa. It was the fourth concussion of his career, and during the next few days, LaFontaine suffered from vision problems, headaches and insomnia. He returned to action for Buffalo's Jan. 5, 1996, game vs. Toronto. ... Named NHL Player of Week for week ending Feb. 25, 1996. ... Missed most of 1996-97 season and entire 1997 playoffs with concussion, an injury suffered when he was checked by Francois Leroux during Buffalo's Oct. 17, 1996, game vs. Pittsburgh. At first, the concussion was deemed "mild," and LaFontaine returned to action for Buffalo's Oct. 24, 1996, game vs. Montreal. He played three more games after that, but the injury led to a prolonged post-concussion syndrome, which forced him to cut his season short on Nov. 9, 1996. By the start of the 1997-98 season, the Sabres told LaFontaine it was still too risky for him to continue his career. LaFontaine, however, said he was ready to play, which led to trade talks between Buffalo and N.Y. Rangers. On Sept. 29, 1997, LaFontaine was traded to the Rangers for two draft picks, thereby giving him the chance to continue career at age 32. He signed a two-year, $9.6 million contract with the Rangers. ... Scored his 1,000th career NHL point (a goal) for N.Y. Rangers on Jan. 22, 1998, vs. Philadelphia. ... Missed remainder of 1997-98 season with concussion, suffered during N.Y. Rangers' March 16, 1998, game vs. Ottawa. The concussion, his sixth in seven years, ended his career. ... Had his Buffalo Sabres No. 16 sweater retired prior to Buffalo's March 3, 2006, game vs. Toronto.
LaFontaine Leaves the Island: Because he was the heart and soul of the New York Islanders throughout the late 1980s, it was almost inconceivable that LaFontaine and the team would ever part ways. However, his years with the team came to an ugly conclusion that dated back to a contract dispute during the 1990-91 season. Prior to the season, the Islanders offered LaFontaine a contract extension that would involve tearing up his current contract in favor of a new one. At the time, LaFontaine, who earned $425,000 per year, had one year remaining on his contract, plus an option year. LaFontaine and his agent, Don Meehan, rejected the Islanders offer and later demanded that the Islanders trade him if they would not meet his demands for a new contract by the end of the 1990-91 season. Islanders general manager Bill Torrey and owner John O. Pickett refused to meet those demands, but also refused to trade LaFontaine before the 1991 deadline, even though the Islanders had no hope of making the playoffs. Torrey continued to make contract offers, which LaFontaine and Meehan rejected. Meehan said Torrey had initially offered LaFontaine a six-year contract with a first-year salary of $450,000 and a final-year salary of $575,000. In addition, LaFontaine would receive a $3 million signing bonus that would not be paid until five years after his retirement. Meehan and LaFontaine went public with their arguments against the Isles' offer, and the local New York media sided with LaFontaine, reporting that the Islanders were trying to short-change their best player. Pickett, for his part, insisted that LaFontaine honor the final two years of his contract, whether he liked it or not because it had been signed in good faith. Angry at Pickett, LaFontaine said he had lost respect for the Islanders as an organization and continued to demand a trade throughout the season. The situation grew worse during the summer of 1991, because the Islanders were in the process of being sold and could not conduct any normal business. Meehan said that LaFontaine might be willing to play for new owners, but would never again play for Pickett. By the time the Islanders' 1991 training camp rolled around, LaFontaine, coming off a strong Canada Cup series, was in full revolt against his team. Although he was in his option year, he refused to report to camp and continued to demand a trade. He even said he would play for the 1992 U.S. Olympic team if the Islanders did not send him elsewhere before the Olympics. LaFontaine began his holdout immediately following the Canada Cup and was not with the Islanders for their season-opener at Boston on Oct. 4, 1991. At that point, when it was also evident that the team sale would take more time than expected, Torrey agreed to make a trade and let all other NHL teams know that they could make offers for LaFontaine. Over the next few weeks, LaFontaine stayed home, and Torrey looked to make a deal. He finally found a taker in Buffalo, and on Oct. 25, 1991, LaFontaine was dealt to the Sabres. Buffalo and LaFontaine immediately reached agreement on a four-year, $7.3 million contract that made him the NHL's third-highest paid player behind Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. LaFontaine was given a $1 million signing bonus, and salaries escalating from $1.4 million to $1.8 million. The contract also included incentive clauses that rewarded him richly for any 50-goal or 100-point season. LaFontaine was delighted with his contract, and in his first game with Buffalo -- vs. Hartford on Oct. 27 -- he scored a goal and had two assists in a 5-1 Sabres win.
Concussion Ends Career: Throughout his NHL career, LaFontaine was prone to head injuries, but after coming back from at least four concussions, LaFontaine's career was ended by a devastating head injury suffered when he collided with teammate Mike Keane at center ice during N.Y. Rangers' March 16, 1998, game vs. Ottawa. When he again began to experience post-concussion headaches, LaFontaine sought the advice of Dr. Jim Kelly, a noted specialist in Chicago. Kelly had previously cleared LaFontaine to continue his career after head injuries, but after studying test results in late June 1998, he suggested LaFontaine retire. Faced with the risk of permanent brain damage, LaFontaine took the advice and opted to retire in the summer of 1998.
Post-Draft Teams: Team USA
Olympics: 1984 (seventh place), 1998 (5-8 place)
World Cup of Hockey: 1996 (first place)
Canada Cup: 1984 (fourth place) (injured, did not play), 1987 (fifth place), 1991 (second place)
World Championships: 1989 (sixth place)
United States Hockey Hall of Fame:
Inducted 2003
QMJHL Hall of Fame: Inducted 2000
USA Hockey Distinguished Achievement Award: 1992-93
Team USA Canada Cup Captain: 1991
Miscellaneous: Played on "Diaper Line" with Ed Olczyk and David A. Jensen for Team USA in 1983-84. ... Nicknamed "Franny" by 1984 U.S. Olympic teammates for his franchise role on the team. ... Led 1984 U.S. Olympic team with 111 points during 1983-84 pre-Olympic tour and with eight points at 1984 Olympics. ... Missed 1984 Canada Cup tournament with damaged ligaments in left knee, suffered when he was checked by Scott Stevens during Team USA's Aug. 16, 1984, exhibition game vs. Canada at Bloomington, Minn. ... Shared home in Woodbury, N.Y., with Islanders teammate Gerald Diduck during the 1984-85 season. ... Had his own fan club, the Pat LaFontaine Fan Club, during his playing days with N.Y. Islanders. ... Served as assistant coach of North team at 1987 U.S. National Sports Festival in North Carolina. ... Was first active player to earn USA Hockey Distinguished Achievement Award, a feat he achieved in 1992-93. ... Was active in charitable causes during his playing days, including work with Arthritis Foundation, Leukemia Society the United Way and the Children's Hospital of Buffalo, where he served on the board of trustees. ... Was featured in national TV commercial for U.S. Savings Bonds during the 1985-86 season. ... Earned honorary degree from Canisius College in Buffalo on May 17, 1996. ... Carried Olympic Torch through streets of Buffalo during summer of 1996. ... Worked with American Academy of Neurology and hockey-equipment manufacturer CCM to help raise concussion awareness after his retirement. ... Wrote a book, Companions in Courage, after his retirement. The book, published in 2001, details the lives of athletes who came back from life-threatening illnesses or major injuries to excel in their sports. The book led to the formation of the Companions in Courage Foundation, which received money from its proceeds and provided benefits for sick children. LaFontaine became president of the foundation, which lists both Michael J. Fox and Mario Lemieux among its honorary members. ... Also worked as a motivational speaker after his retirement.
Personal: Younger brother of former major-junior player John LaFontaine Jr.
TRADE: N.Y. Islanders traded LaFontaine, Randy Hillier, Randy Wood and 1992 fourth-round pick (Dean Melanson) to Buffalo in exchange for Pierre Turgeon, Uwe Krupp, Benoit Hogue and Dave McLlwain on October 25, 1991.

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Total Selected: 242
Forwards: 134
Defense: 86
Goaltenders: 22
Major Junior: 122
Tier II/Jr. B: 19/5
College Players: 15
High School: 47
Canadian: 148
Euro-Canadian: 0
USA Citizens: 60
U.S.-Born: 60
European: 34
Reached NHL: 113
Stanley Cup: 21
Hall of Fame: 4
All-Star Game: 20
Year-end All-Star: 7
Olympians: 34
Picks Traded: 41
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