Saturday, November 24, 2012

1974 NHL Intra-League Draft

The 1974 NHL Intra-League Draft took place June 10 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. This year, because it was an expansion year, the rules were modified slightly such that the teams could lose only one player. As in the past first-year pros were exempt and the draft price was $40,000. Also exempt this year were goalies. Any player claimed in the proceedings had to be kept on the claiming team's 16-man protected list in the expansion draft, which took place later that week.


OverallPlayer ChosenByFromPlayer Removed
From Protected List
Claim player
or cash
1Jim NeilsonCalifornia Golden SealsNew York RangersWalt McKechnieclaim
2Dave FortierNew York IslandersPhiladelphia FlyersBrian Lefleycash
3Jim WileyVancouver CanucksPittsburgh PenguinsJim Maircash
4Brian OgilvieSt. Louis BluesChicago Black HawksButch Williamscash
5Ron BusniukDetroit Red WingsBuffalo SabresAl McLeodcash

The biggest news story surrounding this year's draft was fall-out from the first selection. Before the draft the Golden Seals, Rangers and Bruins had come to an agreement such that the Seals would take Jim Neilson with their first pick, drop Walt McKechnie from their protected list to make room for Neilson, the Rangers would claim McKechnie as compensation, and they would trade McKechnie to the Bruins at a later date for Derek Sanderson. All was going according to plan until the Sabres had their turn. Because McKechnie was claimed as compensation for losing Neilson McKechnie wasn't placed on the Rangers' protected list. Sabres GM Punch Imlach, being Punch Imlach, thought he could claim McKechnie from the Rangers (his rationale being "McKechnie was the best player available"), thus negating the pre-arranged deal the Rangers and Bruins had agreed to. NHL President Clarence Campbell immediately ruled that the selection was invalid, explained that this year a team could only lose one player and the Rangers had already lost Neilson to the Golden Seals, and the Sabres would have to make another selection or forfeit their pick. Imlach threatened to appeal to the Board of Governors but Campbell rebuffed him, telling him appeals on this matter would not be allowed.

Imlach waived his selection and the rest of the teams passed as well, ending the draft. Two days later McKechnie was traded to the Bruins for Sanderson.

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