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Original Issue

BILL TORREY 1934-2018

BILL TORREY, the genial general manager of the dynastic Islanders of the 1980s, was always able to identify a bad deal—in '73 he eschewed Canadiens GM Sam Pollock's tempting offers for the No. 1 pick in the draft (which would become Denis Potvin)—and to take advantage of a good one: Torrey once traded a minor leaguer to the North Stars for a $380 steak dinner (or, as it was officially recognized by NHL Central Registry, "future considerations").

He was a master of the trade deadline, notably sending forward Billy Harris and defenseman Dave Lewis, two popular veterans, to the Kings for center Butch Goring in the spring of 1980—a move that catalyzed the first of four straight Stanley Cups for the Islanders. "Thank God for Bill and March," coach Al Arbour once said. When Wayne Gretzky's Oilers finally denied New York a fifth Cup, in '84, they ended the Islanders' unprecedented streak of 19 consecutive playoff series won.

Torrey was also a shrewd talent evaluator. During his tenure the Islanders drafted six future Hall of Famers: Potvin, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy and Pat LaFontaine as amateurs, and goalie Billy Smith in the 1972 expansion draft. Shortly after leaving the Islanders, in '93, Torrey was named president of the expansion Panthers; by its third season Florida was playing in the Stanley Cup finals.

Retiring to a special adviser role in 2001, he remained close to the game, dutifully serving on the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee for 11 years. (He was inducted in 1995 in the builder category.) Banners commemorating his influence hang in the rafters of Florida's BB&T Center and of course, above the Islanders' home ice. The flag at the Barclays Center is adorned with a simple bow tie, his neckware of choice, above the words, THE ARCHITECT.

Torrey died at his home in West Palm Beach, Fla., on May 2, at the age of 83.