For our next Alumni Scouting Report, we look at probably the most successful player attending the game on September 25th in Hagerstown, MD. Gord Lane’s career did not start out the way he hoped but it definitely ended with some dreams fulfilled for the physical, stay-at-home defenseman.
Lane was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1973 and signed with the Capitals as a free agent in 1976. For both clubs, he bounced around the IHL and AHL affiliates. Fed up with his minutes and contract in Washington, Gord Lane signed with the New York Islanders during the 1979-1980 season.
The Isles’ head coach, Al Arbour, immediately recognized Lane’s value as a stay-at-home defenseman. While not putting up a ton of points from the blue line, Lane is credited by the Islanders with anchoring the defense that helped win four straight Stanley Cups between 1980 and 1983. He was injured and missed most of the 1984 playoffs when the high flying, Edmonton Oilers’ offense out skated the Islanders to the Stanley Cup. There has been speculation that the outcome of that Cup Final and subsequent Oilers’ dynasty would have looked much different if Lane had been patrolling the Isles’ end.
Gord Lane was a prototypical, shutdown defenseman. If he were still playing in the league today, he would be one of those names that would pop up at the trade deadline as GMs look for solid defensemen for Cup runs.