Induction Year: 2001
Bob Nystrom came to Canada from Sweden as a four-year-old and starred for the BCJHL’s Kamloops Rockets in 1969–70. Following his success in Kamloops, he was voted the BCHL’s player of the decade for the 1960s. Nystrom was also an emotional sparkplug on the Calgary Centennials of the WCJHL for 2 seasons and was claimed 33rd overall by the New York Islanders in 1972. He played half a season for the minor league affiliate New Haven Nighthawks of the American Hockey league before being promoted to the Islanders in March of 1973.
Nystrom’s first full season with the Islanders was 1973–74, where he tallied 41 points as a rookie, garnering a Calder Trophy consideration as Rookie of the Year. Over the next 4 seasons, Nystrom became one of the steadiest two-way forwards in the league. In each of his first 5 seasons, he collected over 20 goals, including a career-high 30 in 1977-78, while playing a strong checking and defensive game as well. He was selected to play in the 1977 NHL All-Star Game and on May 24, 1980, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Philadelphia Flyers, Nystrom scored the game-winner in overtime to secure the first Stanley Cup in Islanders franchise history.
Nystrom retired in 1986 having played 900 games, scoring 235 goals, and adding 278 assists. He tallied 39 goals and 83 points in 157 playoff games; however, he is most noted for his knack for sudden-death overtime winners, ending playoff overtime games 4 times in his career.
In 1991, the Islanders began presenting the Bob Nystrom Award to the player on the team “who best exemplifies leadership, hustle and dedication.” On April 1st, 1995, the Islanders retired Nystrom’s number “23”.