Saturday, November 30, 2013

1990 NHL Waiver Draft

The 1990 Waiver Draft was held on October 1. The rules were the same as they were before except for the new provision that any player traded in the four weeks before the draft could not be reacquired by the club that traded him in the following season. This new rule was added to prevent teams from 'stashing' players on another team as the Flyers and Jets had done with Pete Peeters and Keith Acton in 1989.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped
from protected list
Cash or claim?
Round 1
Wayne Van DorpQuebec NordiquesChicago Blackhawks???$50,000
Randy GreggVancouver CanucksEdmonton Oilers???$15,000
Bengt-Åke GustafssonDetroit Red WingsWashington Capitals???cash
Round 2
Shawn AndersonQuebec NordiquesWashington Capitals???cash
Mario MaroisSt. Louis BluesQuebec NordiquesHarold Snepstscash
Round 3
Aaron BrotenQuebec NordiquesMinnesota North Stars???$10,000
Rod BuskasLos Angeles KingsPittsburgh Penguins???$10,000
Bob BassenSt. Louis BluesChicago BlackhawksMario Maroiscash

The Canucks' choice of (Dr.) Randy Gregg in the first round was a... curious one. Gregg had declared that he would retire from the game of hockey after winning his fifth and final Stanley Cup with the Oilers. He hadn't filed his retirement papers with the league but made it known that any team that chose him in the waiver draft would be wasting a pick. His home town was Edmonton, he was completing his residency in Edmonton; he didn't want to live anywhere or do anything else than to practice medicine in Edmonton. This was the third time he had declared his retirement, and he intended it to be his last. The Canucks picked him anyway, just as they had picked Behn Wilson in the 1988 Waiver Draft. It took over a year of negotiating and very generous remuneration to convince Dr. Gregg to lace up the skates one last time. He played 21 regular season and seven playoff games with the Canucks in 1991-92, after which he retired for the fourth and final time from the game of hockey.

The Red Wings' choice of Bengt Gustafsson was another bizarre one. Gustafsson left the Capitals in 1989 and returned to his native Sweden. He wanted to raise his kids in Sweden. He had absolutely no desire to return to North America and play in the NHL but the Red Wings picked him anyway. They lost him to the Sharks in the 1991 Expansion Draft, and just as he promised Gustafsson never played professional hockey in North America again.

1989 NHL Waiver Draft

The 1989 Waiver Draft was held on October 2. The rules were broadly speaking the same as they were in 1988 (e.g. protected lists of 18 players and two goaltenders) except for the number of rounds at the beginning of the draft where only the clubs that failed to make the playoffs in the preceding season were allowed to participate. In 1986 and 1987 it was unlimited—playoff clubs would begin selecting only after all of the non-playoff clubs passed on their choices in a round—and in 1988 this was amended to a hard cap of two rounds. In 1989 the limit was reduced to one and only one round. It would remain this way until the waiver draft was abolished after the 2004-05 lockout.

This was on the face of it a much more subdued affair than the drafts in 1987 and 1988. Only eight players were chosen, and none were claimed as compensation after being dropped from their club's protected list. The fallout from trades before and after the draft were the biggest newsmakers. I will explain after the draft results.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped
from protected list
Cash or claim?
Round 1
Greg C. AdamsQuebec NordiquesVancouver Canucks???cash
Dave HannanToronto Maple LeafsPittsburgh Penguins???cash
Moe ManthaWinnipeg JetsPhiladelphia Flyers???$5,000
Kent NilssonNew Jersey DevilsEdmonton Oilers???cash
Round 2
Dave MackeyMinnesota North StarsChicago Blackhawks???cash
Craig CoxeVancouver CanucksChicago Blackhawks???cash
Mikael AnderssonHartford WhalersBuffalo Sabres???cash
Nick KypreosWashington CapitalsPhiladelphia Flyers???$20,000

So, what was all the hub-bub about trades? There were two of them that had an impact on the results of the draft. On September 28, mere days before the draft, the Flyers traded goalie Pete Peeters and forward Keith Acton to the Jets for future considerations. The Jets had a young team and could protect Peeters and Acton without sacrificing any of their other players. On October 3, the day after the draft, the Jets traded Peeters and Acton back to the Flyers for a draft pick and other considerations. (Specifically, the Jets received the Maple Leafs' fifth round pick in the 1991 Entry Draft (which the Flyers had acquired on Sept. 9 in a trade for Mark Laforest—the Jets used the pick on Finnish defenceman Juha Ylonen) and the future considerations in another previous trade involving Shawn Cronin were cancelled.) The others teams immediately cried foul; it was obvious that the Flyers 'stashed' Peeters and Acton with the Jets in order to prevent them from being eligible for selection.

The NHL investigated the matter and on December 2, after two months of internal deliberations, President John Ziegler fined both the Flyers and Jets $10,000 each for using the guise of trades to loan players and keep them from being taken in the waiver draft. The trades were not rescinded: the Flyers kept Peeters and Acton and the Jets kept the draft pick they were given.

In 1990 the waiver draft rules were amended such that any players traded by a club in the four weeks preceding the waiver draft were not allowed to be reacquired by that club in the season that followed.

1988 NHL Waiver Draft

The 1988 Waiver Draft was held on October 3. The rules were almost the same as they were in 1987. In 1986 and 1987 the non-playoff clubs were allowed to make choices for an unlimited number of rounds to start off the draft, and only after all of the non-playoff clubs passed on their choices in a round were the playoff clubs allowed to begin making selections. In 1988 the number of rounds where the non-playoff clubs had this exclusivity was set to a hard limit of two. In the third and all subsequent rounds the selection order would include the playoff clubs as well. As before in the rounds where only the non-playoff teams made picks they were not allowed to choose players from other teams in their own respective divisions.

The number of players on the protected lists increased again, back up to the 18 skaters and two goalies it had been in 1980 and 1981.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped
from protected list
Cash or claim?
Round 1
Stewart GavinMinnesota North StarsHartford Whalersnone$7,500
Behn WilsonVancouver CanucksChicago Blackhawksnone$2,500
Steve DykstraPittsburgh PenguinsEdmonton Oilersnone$12,500
Craig RedmondNew York RangersEdmonton Oilersnone$20,000
Round 2
Tom MartinMinnesota North StarsHartford Whalersnone$30,000
Risto SiltanenVancouver CanucksNew Jersey Devilsnone$12,000
Jay CaufieldPittsburgh PenguinsMinnesota North StarsDan Frawley$40,000
Round 3
Andy BrickleyBoston BruinsNew Jersey DevilsBill O'Dwyer$12,500
Ken HammondEdmonton OilersLos Angeles KingsDave Hannan$10,000
Round 4
Ken LeiterMinnesota North StarsNew York IslandersCurt Giles$15,000
Dave HannanPittsburgh PenguinsEdmonton OilersDave Hunterclaim
Round 5
Jim HolfordLos Angeles KingsBuffalo SabresPaul Guay$30,000
Steve SmithBuffalo SabresCalgary FlamesDoug Smith$10,000
Doug SullimanPhiladelphia FlyersNew Jersey DevilsBrad Marsh$5,000
Doug SmithEdmonton OilersBuffalo SabresMark Lamb$10,000
Round 6
Brad MarshToronto Maple LeafsPhiladelphia FlyersDale DeGray$2,500
Dale DeGrayLos Angeles KingsToronto Maple LeafsTim Watters$12,500

Note that the Steve Smith taken by the Sabres from the Flames in the fifth round is not the same Steve Smith who played for the Oilers in the 1980s and infamously scored an own-goal in game seven of the 1986 Smythe Division Finals. That Steve Smith, full name James Stephen Smith, was born April 30, 1963 in Glasgow, Scotland. The Steve Smith taken in the 1988 Waiver Draft was born April 4, 1963 in Trenton, Ontario. He was drafted in 1981 by the Flyers and had just signed as a free agent with the Flames in the summer of 1988. He never played a game for the Flames. The other Steve Smith, the one who played for the Oilers in the '80s and scored that infamous goal against his own team in '86, did play for the Flames eventually. He retired in 1997 and spent a year with the Flames as an assistant coach, after which he made a comeback and played three more seasons with the Flames.

1987 NHL Waiver Draft

The 1987 Waiver Draft was held on October 5. The rules were the same as they were in 1986, except that non-playoff clubs were only allowed to choose to not drop a player from their protected lists when they made a selection in the first rounds of exclusive selections amongst themselves. In '86 they were afforded this luxury in any round.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped
from protected list
Cash or claim?
Round 1
Kevin MaguireBuffalo SabresToronto Maple Leafsnone$40,000
Reijo RuotsalainenNew Jersey DevilsEdmonton Oilersnonecash
Randy BoydVancouver CanucksNew York Islandersnonecash
Al TuerMinnesota North StarsEdmonton Oilersnonecash
Charlie SimmerPittsburgh PenguinsBoston Bruinsnone$2,500
Round 2
Risto SiltanenNew Jersey DevilsQuebec Nordiquesnonecash
Round 3
all non-playoff clubs passed
Round 4
Tim TookeyLos Angeles KingsPhiladelphia FlyersDave Williamscash
Glen CochraneChicago BlackhawksVancouver CanucksJack O'Callahancash
Bill RootSt. Louis BluesHartford WhalersDoug Wickenheiserclaim
Willi PlettBoston BruinsNew York RangersDave Reidcash
Round 5
Ed HospodarBuffalo SabresPhiladelphia FlyersDave Fenyvesclaim
Jack O'CallahanNew Jersey DevilsChicago BlackhawksRisto Siltanencash
Doug WickenheiserVancouver CanucksHartford WhalersBrent Petersonclaim
Stu KulakQuebec NordiquesNew York RangersRichard Zemlakclaim
Round 6
Richard ZemlakMinnesota North StarsNew York RangersAl Tuercash

This was easily the busiest waiver draft ever up to that point. 17 players changed hands as a result of 15 draft picks. Doug Wickenheiser and Richard Zemlak were members of the Whalers and Rangers respectively for mere minutes: when the Blues took Bill Root from the Whalers in the fourth round the Blues dropped Wickenheiser from their protected list, and the Whalers claimed him as compensation for Root in lieu of cash. However, he was not placed on the Whalers' protected list. In the fifth round Wickenheiser was taken from the Whalers by the Canucks. Similarly Zemlak was dropped when the Nordiques chose Stu Kulak from the Rangers, and in the next round was taken from the Rangers by the North Stars.

Some sources state that two other players changed hands during this waiver draft: Mark Lamb from the Red Wings to the Oilers and Paul Fenton from the Rangers to the Kings. I have not found any period sources to substantiate this. I suspect they may have been offered on waivers later that same day for a reduced draft price (teams were free to set whatever waiver price they wanted up to the maximum).

1986 NHL Waiver Draft

The 1986 Waiver Draft was held on October 6. The protected lists were expanded to 17 skaters and two goaltenders, as it had been in 1982 and 1983.

The order of selection changed slightly this year. Beginning this year the non-playoff clubs from the previous season would not only have priority over the playoff clubs but they would be allowed to have the first round of selections to themselves, and all subsequent rounds until each of them had passed on their selections. Once they had all passed within a round the playoff clubs would be allowed to begin selections, and have a round of selections to themselves. All following rounds would be as they were in prior drafts: non-playoff clubs in inverse order of points in the preceding regular season followed by playoff clubs in inverse order of points.

The non-playoff clubs would also be allowed to choose whether or not to drop a player from their protected lists when they made a selection, thereby forcing the club from which they made a claim to accept the waiver price instead of having the opportunity to claim a player as compensation.

The only caveat to this scheme that afforded the non-playoff clubs exclusive rounds of selections was that in those first rounds they were not allowed to pick a player from a team in their own division.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped
from protected list
Cash or claim?
Round 1
Bob BourneLos Angeles KingsNew York Islandersnone$2,500
Clark GilliesBuffalo SabresNew York Islandersnone$2,500
Round 2
Mal DavisLos Angeles KingsBuffalo Sabresnone$7,500
Wilf PaiementBuffalo SabresNew York Rangersnone$2,500
Round 3
all non-playoff clubs passed
Round 4
Pat HughesSt. Louis BluesBuffalo SabresEddy Beers$2,500
Gord ShervenHartford WhalersEdmonton OilersBill Gardner$40,000
John BlumWashington CapitalsBoston BruinsMark Taylor$15,000

The dismantling of the New York Islanders dynasty was in full swing by this point. They lost Dave Langevin in the '85 Waiver Draft and had already traded away Butch Goring and John Tonelli. Bob Nystrom retired in the off-season, and in the first round of the '86 Waiver Draft they lost long-time players Bob Bourne and Clark Gillies. '86-'87 would also be Mike Bossy's final season; he declared his retirement from playing hockey in 1988 due to ongoing problems with his back.

TRIVIA: Bob Bourne's son Justin, a hockey player in his own right who played in the AHL and ECHL before retiring due to injuries, married Clark Gillies' daughter Brianna in 2011.

1985 NHL Waiver Draft

The 1985 Waiver Draft was held on October 7. The rules were the same as they were in 1984.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped
from protected list
Cash or claim?
Round 1
Willy LindstromPittsburgh PenguinsEdmonton Oilers???$2,500
Randy VelischekNew Jersey DevilsMinnesota North Stars???$35,000
Brent PetersonVancouver CanucksBuffalo Sabres???$10,000
Randy BoydNew York IslandersChicago Black HawksDave Langevin$20,000
Dwight SchofieldWashington CapitalsSt. Louis Blues???$7,500
Round 2
Mike BlaisdellPittsburgh PenguinsNew York Rangers???$15,000
Dave LangevinMinnesota North StarsNew York Islanders???$5,000
Round 3
Dan FrawleyPittsburgh PenguinsChicago Black Hawks???$30,000
Round 4
Craig LevieCalgary FlamesSt. Louis Blues???$12,500

1984 NHL Waiver Draft

The 1984 Waiver Draft was held on October 9. The rules were the same as they were in 1983 except that the protected lists were reduced to only 16 skaters and a pair of goalies.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped
from protected list
Cash or claim?
Round 1
Wayne BabychPittsburgh PenguinsSt. Louis BluesTom Roulston$12,500
Dave PichetteNew Jersey DevilsSt. Louis BluesGary McAdam$15,000
Jeff BrubakerToronto Maple LeafsEdmonton OilersTerry Martinclaim
Wally WeirHartford WhalersQuebec NordiquesMarty Howe$2,500
Craig LevieSt. Louis BluesMinnesota North StarsRik Wilson$20,000
André DoréNew York RangersQuebec NordiquesLarry Patey$12,500
Billy CarrollEdmonton OilersNew York IslandersLarry Melnyk$10,000
Round 2
Bruce CrowderPittsburgh PenguinsBoston BruinsGreg Fox$15,000
Dave LumleyHartford WhalersEdmonton OilersJack Brownschilde$10,000

1983 NHL Waiver Draft

The 1983 NHL Waiver Draft was held on Monday, October 3. The rules were the same as they were in 1982.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped
from protected list
Cash or claim?
Round 1
Grant MulveyPittsburgh PenguinsChicago Black HawksPaul Gardnercash
Mike CrombeenHartford WhalersSt. Louis BluesMark Renaudcash
Don NachbaurLos Angeles KingsEdmonton OilersMark Lofthousecash
Terry JohnsonSt. Louis BluesQuebec NordiquesJack Carlsoncash
Mark RenaudBuffalo SabresHartford WhalersJohn Van Boxmeercash
Jean HamelMontreal CanadiensQuebec NordiquesJeff Brubakercash
Round 2
Mike ZukeHartford WhalersSt. Louis BluesRoss Yatescash
Dwight SchofieldSt. Louis BluesMontreal CanadiensBobby Crawfordcash
Jeff BrubakerCalgary FlamesMontreal CanadiensGreg Meredithcash
John Van BoxmeerQuebec NordiquesBuffalo SabresPat Pricecash
Round 3
Bobby CrawfordHartford WhalersSt. Louis BluesDoug Sullimancash

As you can see many of the choices in the last couple rounds were players who had been dropped by their respective teams when the teams made earlier choices. E.g. when the Whalers selected Mike Crombeen from the Blues they dropped Mark Renaud from their protected list, and Renaud was later claimed by the Sabres. When the Sabres selected Renaud they dropped John Van Boxmeer from their protected list; Van Boxmeer was selected in the second round by the Nordiques.

Grant Mulvey, selected with the first pick by the Penguins, was also coveted by the New Jersey Devils, who held the third overall pick. The Devils passed on that third overall pick, and all subsequent picks. The only player they were interested in was Mulvey, who had scored 30 goals in his last full season ('81-'82) but had missed almost the entire '82-'83 season with a serious knee injury. The Hawks left him exposed because they doubted that he could ever play at a high level again. After the draft the Devils' GM Billy MacMillan and Penguins' GM Eddie Johnston made a deal: the Penguins would trade Mulvey to the Devils for future considerations.

Only one problem: that was against the rules! The NHL vetoed the deal. The Penguins weren't allowed to trade Mulvey unless he had been offered on waivers first, similar to what happened between the Capitals and Canadiens with respect to Pierre Bouchard at the 1978 Waiver Draft. In the case of Grant Mulvey, the Penguins and the Devils, the only team that held waiver priority before the Devils was the Whalers and the Whalers weren't particularly interested in Mulvey. The Penguins put Mulvey on waivers on October 6 and the Devils' claim for him was successful. It took a few extra days but Grant Mulvey was a New Jersey Devil. He ended up playing 12 games for the Devils and the rest of the season with the Maine Mariners of the AHL. At the end of the '83-'84 season, having won the Calder Cup with the Mariners, Grant Mulvey retired.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

1974 NHL Expansion Draft

The Background

Let me set the scene for you. It's June, 1972. The National Hockey League is a sixteen-team circuit, with new teams in Atlanta and on Long Island, New York having just finished participating in an expansion draft. The new teams will begin play in the fall of 1972. So too will the World Hockey Association, an upstart twelve-team league founded by a pair of mavericks whose primary objective is to disrupt the professional hockey business.

To get started the WHA needed two things: players and places to play. They would have to compete with the old-guard NHL for both. Players would come after promises of substantially more wealth. Finding places to play was more difficult. Half of the WHA member clubs were based in smaller cities that the NHL had no serious intention of ever expanding to: Cleveland, Edmonton, Houston, Ottawa, Quebec City and Winnipeg. In those cities they would only have to face competition for hockey fans from minor league and junior teams. The other half of the league took the NHL head-on in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Not only were these teams vying for the same hockey fans as the NHL teams they were also vying for arenas to play in.

The WHA's New York Raiders (the name cheekily referencing the WHA's 'raiding' the NHL) were going to play at the planned arena in the 'burbs on Long Island. The NHL saw this coming and made their first pre-emptive strike against the WHA: they granted an expansion franchise to play on Long Island at the new arena. The New York Islanders as they became known signed a long-term lease at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the WHA was shut out. The Raiders had to settle for an exorbitantly expensive lease in Manhattan, at Madison Square Garden. The Raiders would also have to settle for whatever leftover dates they could get after the Rangers and NBA's Knicks had priority.

The New England Whalers signed a lease with the Boston Garden. As was the case with the Raiders in New York the Whalers had to compete for dates at the Garden with the NHL's Bruins and NBA's Celtics. When the Garden was unavailable they made do at the much smaller Boston Arena, home of Northeastern University's hockey team and former home of the Bruins.

By contrast the Chicago Cougars were unable to secure ice time at Chicago Stadium. They hoped to play at a new suburban arena but financing for the arena project wasn't secured in time for the season (the Cougars' owners, brothers Jordon and Walter Kaiser, were eventually unable to secure any financing at all and sold the team to players Ralph Backstrom, Dave Dryden and Pat Stapleton in 1974; the team folded in 1975, five years before the proposed arena in Rosemont was built and opened). They were forced to play games at the International Amphitheatre, originally built in the 1930s to host livestock exhibitions. Similarly the Philadelphia Blazers were forced to play games at the Philadelphia Civic Center, former home of the NBA's 76ers.

The Los Angeles Sharks had the luxury of a pair of venues being available: the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and Long Beach Arena. The NHL's Kings were forced to build their own arena in 1967, The Forum, because the WHL's Los Angeles Blades held the lease at the Memorial Sports Arena.

St. Paul, Minnesota built its own new pro sports arena in the early '70s and the Minnesota Fighting Saints became the first tenant of the St. Paul Civic Center in downtown St. Paul.

Arenas were as much a driving force in the locations of the WHA's franchises as they were in the NHL's choices for expansion franchises. The 1972 expansion to Long Island and Atlanta was a deliberate effort to keep WHA teams out of the arenas and to limit the WHA's growth. The story was the same in the next round of expansion. Kansas City, Missouri was building a new arena for the NBA's Kansas City Kings and Washington, D.C. planned a new arena in downtown, tentatively called the Eisenhower Memorial Center. In order to keep the WHA out the NHL let Washington and Kansas City in. Expansion franchises were awarded to Baltimore Bullets owner Abe Pollin in Washington and an enormous group (more than 30 individuals) in Kansas City on June 8, 1972. The teams would begin play in 1974.

Pollin's downtown arena never materialized and he built his own arena instead, the Capital Centre, in suburban Largo, Maryland. He chose to name his new hockey team the Capitals, and hired outgoing Boston Bruins general manager Milt Schmidt as his GM in April, 1973.

The Kansas City group was originally going to name their club the Mohawks: 'MO' for Missouri and 'Hawks' as a reference to Jayhawkers, a nickname for Kansans. That was quashed by the Black Hawks' owners. There was only room enough in the NHL for one team nicknamed 'Hawks'. The owners hired St. Louis Blues GM Sid Abel, formerly of the Red Wings, in April, 1973 to take up the same post and begin building the team. The team was named 'Scouts' in June of 1973 after the statue in the city's Penn Valley Park.

The Rules

The rules of the 1974 expansion draft were almost exactly the same as they were in 1972. The existing clubs were allowed to protect 15 skaters and a pair of goaltenders, and the teams who lost goaltenders in the 1972 draft—Canadiens, Black Hawks, Bruins and Kings—were allowed to exempt themselves from losing a goalie in 1974. The Canadiens and Kings left themselves open to losing a goaltender again. The existing teams would lose three players each, including a maximum of one goaltender, and each selection would be followed by a fill-in player added to the team's protected list. The expansion clubs would chose a pair of goaltenders and 22 skaters each.

The amateur draft was held by conference call and earlier than normal (May 28th, 29th and 30th) in order to keep the WHA from knowing who chose who and giving the NHL a head start in contract negotiations with the players. The Capitals won a coin toss over the Scouts for the first selection in the amateur draft so first choice in the expansion draft two weeks later was given to the Scouts.

The draft began at 2:00 pm on June 12, in the Grand Salon of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.

The Protected Lists

Atlanta FlamesBoston BruinsBuffalo SabresCalifornia Golden Seals
Dan BouchardexemptGary BromleyGilles Meloche
Phil Myre Rocky FarrGary Simmons
Curt BennettJohnny BucykLarry CarriereMike Christie
Dwight BialowasWayne CashmanRick DudleyLen Frig
Jerry ByersGary DoakNorm GrattonStan Gilbertson
Rey ComeauDarryl EdestrandBill HajtHilliard Graves
Buster HarveyPhil EspositoJerry KorabDave Hrechkosy
Ed KeaDave ForbesJim LorentzSpike Huston
Bob LeiterKen HodgeDon LuceJoey Johnston
Jean LemieuxDon MarcotteRick MartinWayne King
Randy ManeryTerry O'ReillyGerry MeehanAl MacAdam
Bob MurrayBobby OrrBrian SpencerTed McAneeley
Noel PriceDerek SandersonGilbert PerreaultJim Neilson
Pat QuinnBobby SchmautzCraig RamsayCraig Patrick
Jacques RichardGregg SheppardRene RobertBob Stewart
Larry RomanchychDallas SmithMike RobitailleStan Weir
John A. StewartCarol VadnaisJim SchoenfeldLarry Wright
Chicago Black HawksDetroit Red WingsLos Angeles KingsMinnesota North Stars
exemptDoug GrantGary EdwardsCesare Maniago
 Jim RutherfordRogie VachonFern Rivard
Ivan BoldirevRed BerensonBob BerryChris Ahrens
Germain GagnonThommie BergmanGene CarrFred Barrett
Dennis HullHenry BouchaMike CorriganJude Drouin
Doug JarrettRon BusniukButch GoringBarry Gibbs
Cliff KorollGuy CharronTerry HarperBill Goldsworthy
Keith MagnusonMarcel DionneSheldon KannegiesserDanny Grant
Chico MakiJean HamelNeil KomadoskiDennis Hextall
John MarksBill HogaboamDon KozakDon Martineau
Pit MartinPierre JarryDan MaloneyLou Nanne
Stan MikitaNick LibettBob MurdochDennis O'Brien
Jim PappinJack LynchMike MurphyMurray Oliver
Dick RedmondHank NowakFrank St. MarseilleJ.P. Parise
Phil RussellMickey RedmondVic VenaskyTom Reid
Dale TallonDoug RobertsJuha WidingFred Stanfield
Bill WhiteBryan WatsonTom WilliamsRon Wilson
Montreal CanadiensNew York IslandersNew York RangersPhiladelphia Flyers
Ken DrydenChico ReschEddie GiacominBernie Parent
Wayne ThomasBilly SmithGilles VillemureBobby Taylor
Pierre BouchardCraig CameronJerry ButlerBill Barber
Yvan CournoyerDave FortierBill FairbairnTom Bladon
Guy LafleurBilly HarrisRod GilbertBobby Clarke
Yvon LambertGerry HartEd IrvineBill Clement
Jacques LaperriereLorne HenningWalt McKechnieGary Dornhoefer
Guy LapointeErnie HickeGilles MarotteAndre Dupont
Chuck LefleyGary HowattBrad ParkBob Kelly
Jacques LemaireWalt LedinghamJean RatelleOrest Kindrachuk
Pete MahovlichBilly MacMillanDale RolfReggie Leach
Henri RichardBert MarshallLarry SacharukRoss Lonsberry
Jim RobertsBob NystromRod SeilingRick MacLeish
Larry RobinsonJean PotvinPete StemkowskiDon Saleski
Serge SavardDoug RomboughWalt TkaczukDave Schultz
Steve ShuttRalph StewartSteve VickersEd Van Impe
Murray WilsonEddie WestfallBert WilsonJim Watson
Pittsburgh PenguinsSt. Louis BluesToronto Maple LeafsVancouver Canucks
Andy BrownEddie JohnstonDoug FavellBruce Bullock
Denis HerronWayne StephensonDunc WilsonGary Smith
Syl AppsDon AwreyWillie BrossartGregg Boddy
Chuck ArnasonAce BaileyTim EcclestoneAndre Boudrias
Dave BurrowsBill CollinsRon EllisDavid Dunn
Nelson DebenedetDave GardnerGeorge FergusonJohn Gould
Ab DemarcoWayne MerrickBill FlettJocelyn Guevremont
Steve DurbanoBrian OgilvieBrian GlennieDennis Kearns
Vic HadfieldBarclay PlagerRick KehoeBobby Lalonde
Bob “Battleship” KellyBob PlagerDave KeonDon Lever
Ron LalondePierre PlanteJim McKennyLarry McIntyre
Bernie LukowichGreg PolisGarry MonahanChris Oddleifson
Lowell MacDonaldPhil RobertoMike PelykGerry O'Flaherty
Bob ParadiseGlen SatherGary SabourinTracy Pratt
Jean PronovostFloyd ThomsonDarryl SittlerBarry Wilkins
Ron SchockGarry UngerErrol ThompsonJim Wiley
Ron StackhouseRik WilsonNorm UllmanBrian McSheffrey

The Draft

Ovr.PlayerPicked ByPicked FromFill-In
1Michel PlasseKansas City ScoutsMontreal CanadiensJohn Van Boxmeer
2Ron LowWashington CapitalsToronto Maple LeafsLyle Moffatt
3Peter McDuffeKansas City ScoutsNew York RangersRon Harris
4Michel BelhumeurWashington CapitalsPhiladelphia FlyersJoe Watson
5Simon NoletKansas City ScoutsPhiladelphia FlyersTerry Crisp
6Dave KryskowWashington CapitalsChicago Black HawksJ. P. Bordeleau
7Butch DeadmarshKansas City ScoutsAtlanta FlamesKeith McCreary
8Yvon LabreWashington CapitalsPittsburgh PenguinsJean-Guy Lagace
9Brent HughesKansas City ScoutsDetroit Red WingsClaude Houde
10Pete LaframboiseWashington CapitalsCalifornia Golden SealsMorris Mott
11Paul TerbencheKansas City ScoutsBuffalo SabresLarry Mickey
12Bob GrypWashington CapitalsBoston BruinsAl Simmons
13Gary CoalterKansas City ScoutsCalifornia Golden SealsDel Hall
14Gord SmithWashington CapitalsLos Angeles KingsBob Nevin
15Gary CroteauKansas City ScoutsCalifornia Golden Seals 
16Steve AtkinsonWashington CapitalsBuffalo SabresJoe Roberts
17Randy RotaKansas City ScoutsLos Angeles KingsLarry Brown
18Bruce CowickWashington CapitalsPhiladelphia Flyers 
19Lynn PowisKansas City ScoutsChicago Black HawksDuane Wylie
20Denis DupereWashington CapitalsToronto Maple LeafsJohn Grisdale
21John WrightKansas City ScoutsSt. Louis BluesLarry Giroux
22Joe LundriganWashington CapitalsToronto Maple Leafs 
23Ted SnellKansas City ScoutsPittsburgh PenguinsDuane Rupp
24Randy WyrozubWashington CapitalsBuffalo Sabres 
25Chris EvansKansas City ScoutsDetroit Red WingsCharlie Shaw
26Mike BloomWashington CapitalsBoston BruinsAndre Savard
27Bryan LefleyKansas City ScoutsNew York IslandersNeil Nicholson
28Gord BrooksWashington CapitalsSt. Louis BluesMurray Kuntz
29Robin BurnsKansas City ScoutsPittsburgh Penguins 
30Bob CollyardWashington CapitalsSt. Louis Blues 
31Tom PelusoKansas City ScoutsChicago Black Hawks 
32Bill MikkelsonWashington CapitalsNew York IslandersVic Teal
33Kerry KetterKansas City ScoutsAtlanta FlamesMorris Stefaniw
34Ron AndersonWashington CapitalsBoston Bruins 
35Normand DubéKansas City ScoutsLos Angeles Kings 
36Mike LampmanWashington CapitalsVancouver CanucksJim Mair
37Richard LemieuxKansas City ScoutsVancouver CanucksLarry Gould
38Lew MorrisonWashington CapitalsAtlanta Flames 
39Dave HudsonKansas City ScoutsNew York Islanders 
40Steve WestWashington CapitalsMinnesota North StarsRod Norrish
41Ken MurrayKansas City ScoutsDetroit Red Wings 
42Larry BolonchukWashington CapitalsVancouver Canucks 
43Dennis PattersonKansas City ScoutsMinnesota North StarsBlake Dunlop
44Murray AndersonWashington CapitalsMinnesota North Stars 
45Ed GilbertKansas City ScoutsMontreal CanadiensClaude Larose
46Larry FullanWashington CapitalsMontreal Canadiens 
47Doug HorbulKansas City ScoutsNew York RangersJohn Bednarski
48Jack EgersWashington CapitalsNew York Rangers

Once again Canadiens GM Sam Pollock used the rules to manipulate the results in his favour with a masterful touch. He had used three goaltenders in the '73-'74 season: Michel Larocque, Wayne Thomas and Michel Plasse. Ken Dryden had taken the year off after contract negotiations broke down, but Dryden would be back for '74-'75. Pollock knew he could afford to lose another goalie and did so so that he could keep one of his other players. When Plasse was chosen by the Scouts first overall the Canadiens added John Van Boxmeer to their protected list. Neither the Scouts nor the Capitals were interested in Claude Larose, the only other notable player left off the protected list by the Canadiens.

The Scouts and Capitals were the unfortunate victims of the rise of the WHA and arguable over-expansion by the NHL: the talent pool was notably thin for this expansion draft. You may have noticed that a few notable players were left off the protected lists, such as Frank Mahovlich of the Canadiens and Dave Dryden of the Sabres. It was already known that these players were going to the WHA.

Several newspapers (Toronto Star and Montreal Gazette for example) commented that this draft was easily the worst expansion draft yet, and the $6,000,000 expansion fees exacted from the Capitals and Scouts was the most amount of money paid for the least amount of talent in any expansion draft to date at the time. Several players didn't play in another NHL game again after this draft, and many more played less than a season's worth. In fact Tom Peluso, chosen 31st overall by the Scouts from the Black Hawks and Steve West, chosen 40th overall by the Capitals from the North Stars, never played in the NHL at all.

Friday, November 8, 2013

1982 NHL Waiver Draft

The 1982 NHL Waiver Draft was held October 4. The number of skaters allowed to be protected this year was dropped from 18 to 17.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped from
protected list
Claim player or cash
Round 1
Murray BrumwellNew Jersey DevilsMinnesota North StarsKevin Maxwell$50,000
Jack CarlsonSt. Louis BluesMinnesota North StarsMike Zukecash
Doug LecuyerPittsburgh PenguinsWinnipeg JetsPeter Leecash
Bill BakerNew York RangersSt. Louis BluesTim Bothwellclaim
Round 2
Carol VadnaisNew Jersey DevilsNew York RangersGraeme Nicolsonclaim
Round 3
Dave HutchisonNew Jersey DevilsWashington CapitalsRandy Piercecash
Round 4
Bob HoffmeyerEdmonton OilersPhiladelphia FlyersGarry Larivierecash

1981 NHL Waiver Draft

The 1981 NHL Waiver Draft was held October 5. 13 players were taken, the most to date in a waiver draft.

Protected lists this year were 18 skaters and two goaltenders, as they were in 1980.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped from
protected list
Claim player or cash
Round 1
Craig LevieWinnipeg JetsMontreal CanadiensDoug Lecuyer$50,000
John WensinkColorado RockiesQuebec NordiquesBob Attwell$10,000
Mike McDougallHartford WhalersNew York RangersPaul Shmyr$40,000
Terry MurrayWashington CapitalsPhiladelphia FlyersDennis Ververgaert$2,500
Ron DelormeVancouver CanucksColorado RockiesDrew Callander$12,500
Yvon LambertBuffalo SabresMontreal CanadiensRob McClanahan$2,500
Al SimsLos Angeles KingsHartford WhalersClaude Larochelle$7,500
Gary EdwardsSt. Louis BluesEdmonton OilersDoug Grant$2,500
Round 2
Serge SavardWinnipeg JetsMontreal CanadiensRick Bowness$2,500
Rob McClanahanHartford WhalersBuffalo SabresGilles Lupien$4,500
John BednarskiPittsburgh PenguinsBuffalo SabresGregg Sheppard$5,000
Round 3
Trevor JohansenLos Angeles KingsSt. Louis BluesScott Gruhl$15,000
Round 4
Jeff BrubakerMontreal CanadiensHartford WhalersDoug Jarvis$40,000

1980 NHL Waiver Draft

After all of the hoopla surrounding the 1978 Waiver Draft it's not much of a surprise to me that the following waiver draft in 1980 was a much more subdued affair. (There was no waiver draft in 1979 because of the WHA merger.) Only five players were taken, none of them controversially, and nobody made any attempts to claim ineligible players.

Protected lists this year were 18 skaters and two goaltenders. As always first-year professionals were exempt. Teams were no longer allowed to protect additional young players as they had been in '77 and '78.

The draft was held on October 8.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped from
protected list
Claim player or cash
Yvon VautourColorado RockiesNew York IslandersGary Croteaucash
John WensinkQuebec NordiquesBoston BruinsCurt Brackenburycash
Rick SmithDetroit Red WingsBoston BruinsDennis Polonichcash
Curt BrackenburyEdmonton OilersQuebec NordiquesColin Campbellcash
Colin CampbellVancouver CanucksEdmonton OilersHarold Phillipoffcash

Many sources also attribute the Nordiques' acquisition of Dan Geoffrion from the Canadiens to this draft but that was not the case. Geoffrion was indeed left off the Canadiens' protected list but the Nordiques had priority claim on him. One of the conditions of the merger agreement between the WHA and NHL was that any players reclaimed by the NHL clubs from the WHA clubs and subsequently offered on waivers had to be offered to the former WHA club from which he was reclaimed first. If his former WHA club waived their claim he would then be offered to the other three WHA clubs. If they waived, he would then be allowed to be claimed by any club. Geoffrion had to be offered to the Nordiques first, before the draft. The Nordiques claimed him, and after the draft traded him to the Jets for cash.

Another condition of this arrangement was the waiver price. The Nordiques only paid $100 for Geoffrion. The amount of money they received from the Jets for him later that day was undisclosed, but it was surely more than a hundred bucks.

1978 NHL Waiver Draft

The fall-out from the 1978 Waiver Draft would make this one of the most interesting developments in league politics, Montreal Canadiens history, and relations between the NHL and NHLPA in the late 1970s.

Protected lists this year were 18 skaters, two goaltenders, and two other players with no more than two years of pro experience. I haven't found the entire protected lists but I know Rod Schutt and Pat Hughes were the Canadiens' two young 'additions'.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped from
protected list
Claim player or cash
Round 1
Pierre BouchardWashington CapitalsMontreal Canadiens?$2,500
Larry GirouxSt. Louis BluesDetroit Red Wings?$12,500
Pierre PlanteNew York RangersDetroit Red Wings?$10,000
Jim LorentzDetroit Red WingsBuffalo Sabres?$2,500
Round 2
Mike KorneyNew York RangersMontreal CanadiensDan Newmanclaim

Although only five players were chosen—two more than in 1977—this draft took over two hours to complete on October 9, 1978. "Why did it take so long," you ask? The Montreal Canadiens.

First, the Canucks tried to claim Cam Connor from the Canadiens. Connor had played in the WHA and never signed a contract in the NHL with the Canadiens. The Canucks reasoned that given he had completed four years of pro hockey in the WHA and was not on the Canadiens' protected list he should have been eligible for selection. The Canucks' move to acquire Connor was deliberated over the conference call and rejected on the basis that Connor was not even on the Canadiens reserve list, had never signed an NHL contract, and was therefore an unsigned draft choice ineligible for selection.

The Rockies pulled the same move as the Canucks, claiming Mark Napier from the Canadiens. Again, despite the fact that Napier had played in the WHA for three years he had never signed an NHL contract so in the eyes of the league and under the terms of the waiver draft by-law had never played 'professionally'. He was an unsigned amateur draft choice, ineligible for selection.

This despite the fact both Connor and Napier had attended the Canadiens' training camp in '78, and it was a foregone conclusion that they would play for the Canadiens in '78-'79. The fact they hadn't signed with the Canadiens was a formality. The Canucks and Rockies protested that the Canadiens were deliberately evading the rules of the waiver draft.

More controversy erupted when the North Stars (who would have normally had the first overall pick due to having finished last in '77-'78; they were moved to last in the selection order as a condition of the merger with the Cleveland Barons) tried to claim Bill Nyrop from the Canadiens. Nyrop grew up in Minnesota, married a girl from Minnesota in August of '78, and abruptly left Canadiens' training camp in September to move back to Minnesota. Nyrop was suspended by the league—at the Canadiens' behest—for failing to report back to training camp. The Canadiens were accused again of trying to evade the rules and use every loophole at their disposal.

(Nyrop was eventually traded to the North Stars in 1980.)

The most controversial outcome of the draft wouldn't come until days afterward. The Capitals used their first overall choice to pick Pierre Bouchard of the Canadiens. The Canadiens didn't have room to protect all of their veteran players so GM Irving Grundman, successor to legendary GM Sam Pollock, left Bouchard exposed and made a backroom deal with the Capitals: if the Capitals chose Bouchard with the first overall choice and traded him back to the Canadiens later the Canadiens would give the Capitals Rod Schutt, a former first-round amateur draft pick who had played two good seasons with the AHL's Nova Scotia Voyageurs.

On October 10 (the day after the draft) they made the trade: Bouchard from the Capitals back to the Canadiens for Schutt.

However, the next day league president John Ziegler voided the deal and cited the league by-laws: Bouchard could not be traded—to the Canadiens or anyone else—without having cleared waivers. Grundman and Capitals GM Max McNab misread the rules. The following Monday, October 16, the Canadiens and Capitals appealed to the Board of Governors to have the waiver draft by-law rewritten to allow the trade. The appeal was unsuccessful, and Bouchard remained with the Capitals.

Bouchard was a native Montrealer, son of former Canadiens captain Émile "Butch" Bouchard, and had no interest in playing hockey for any other team. Rather than report to Washington he quit altogether, announcing his retirement. It was Irv Grundman's first gaffe (first of many...) as general manager of the Canadiens.

Ramsay, Donald. (Oct. 14, 1978). "NHL's legal costs may hit $5-million". Globe & Mail: Toronto. p.S12 accessed online April 7, 2013

1977 NHL Waiver Draft

The first waiver draft! Held on Monday, October 10, this was the first such draft since the demise of the intra-league draft in the '75-'76 season.

The protected lists were 18 skaters, two goaltenders, and up to three other players with no more than two years of pro experience. First-year pros were exempt.

This new waiver draft was supposed to spur player movement however only three players—one more than the pair taken in the '75 Intra-League Draft—were chosen. The Toronto Star attributed this lack of movement to too many players being protected so too few of any interest to other teams being on offer.

Protected Lists

Atlanta FlamesBoston BruinsBuffalo SabresChicago Black HawksCleveland BaronsColorado Rockies
Dan BouchardGerry CheeversGerry DesjardinsTony EspositoGary EdwardsMichel Plasse
Phil MyreGilles GilbertDon EdwardsMike VeisorGilles MelocheDoug Favell
Curt BennettJohn BucykLee FogolinIvan BoldirevFred AhernRon Andruff
Guy ChouinardWayne CashmanDanny GareJ. P. BordeleauMike ChristieChuck Arnason
Bill ClementGary DoakJocelyn GuevremontAlain DaigleMike FidlerGary Croteau
Rey ComeauDwight FosterBill HajtJim HarrisonDave GardnerRon Delorme
Tim EcclestoneDoug HalwardJerry KorabRandy HoltBob GirardDenis Dupéré
Barry GibbsStan JonathanJim LorentzBob KellyRick HamptonTom Edur
John GouldDon MarcotteDon LuceCliff KorollBjorn JohanssonPaul Gardner
Ken HoustonPete McNabRick MartinDave LoganRalph KlassenDave Hudson
Ed KeaRick MiddletonGilbert PerreaultKeith MagnusonAl McAdamRick Jodzio
Bobby LalondeMike MilburyCraig RamsayJohn MarksJim McCabeMike Kitchen
Tom LysiakTerry O'ReillyJacques RichardStan MikitaDennis MarukBryan Lefley
Richard MulhernBrad ParkRene RobertGrant MulveyWayne MerrickRoger Lemelin
Harold PhillipoffJean RatelleAndre SavardBob MurrayBob MurdochJim McElmury
Willi PlettBobby SchmautzRon SchockMike O'ConnellJim NeilsonWilf Paiement
Pat RibbleGregg SheppardJim SchoenfeldPierre PlanteGary SabourinNelson Pyatt
Dave ShandAl SimsDerek SmithDarcy RotaGreg SmithAndy Spruce
Bobby SimpsonRick SmithFred StanfieldPhil RussellBob StewartMark Suzor
Eric VailJohn WensinkAlex TideyDale TallonPaul TantardiniJohn Van Boxmeer
Second-year pros
 Terry Martin   
  Gary McAdam   
  Ken Breitenbach  
Detroit Red WingsLos Angeles KingsMinnesota North StarsMontreal CanadiensNew York IslandersNew York Rangers
Ron LowGary SimmonsPaul HarrisonKen DrydenChico ReschJohn Davidson
Jim RutherfordRogie VachonPete LoPrestiMichel LarocqueBilly SmithGilles Gratton
Michel BergeronLarry BrownKent-Erik AnderssonPierre BouchardBob BourneDon Awrey
Mike BloomGene CarrFred BarrettRick ChartrawJude DrouinJohn Bednarski
Steve DurbanoMarcel DionneNick BeverleyYvan CournoyerClark GilliesWayne Dillon
Larry GirouxGlenn GoldupPer-Olov BrasarBob GaineyBilly HarrisPhil Esposito
Danny GrantButch GoringJerry EngeleRejean HouleGerry HartNick Fotiu
Danny GruenDave HutchisonRoland ErikssonGuy LafleurLorne HenningRod Gilbert
Jean HamelNeil KomadoskiBill FairbairnYvon LambertGary HowattRon Greschner
Dave HansonDon KozakDoug HicksGuy LapointeDave LewisBill Goldsworthy
Dennis HextallRandy ManerySteve JensenJacques LemaireBill MacMillanPat Hickey
Greg JolyBob MurdochLou NanneGilles LupienBert MarshallKen Hodge
J. P. LeblancMike MurphyDennis O'BrienPete MahovlichBob NystromGreg Holst
Nick LibettGary SargentAlex PirusBill NyropJ. P. PariséEd Johnstone
Bill LocheadDave SchultzTom ReidDoug RisebroughDenis PotvinDave Maloney
Dan MaloneyLorne StamlerJim RobertsLarry RobinsonJean PotvinGreg Polis
Al McDonoughVic VenaskyGlen SharpleySerge SavardPat PriceLarry Sacharuk
Perry MillerRuss WalkerDean TalafousSteve ShuttAndre St. LaurentWalt Tkaczuk
Jim NahrgangTom WilliamsTim YoungMario TremblayBryan TrottierCarol Vadnais
Dennis PolonichBert Wilson Murray WilsonEd WestfallSteve Vickers
Second-year pros
Rick Bowness  Brian Engblom  
Al Cameron  Doug Jarvis  
Bob Ritchie  Pierre Mondou  
Philadelphia FlyersPittsburgh PenguinsSt. Louis BluesToronto Maple LeafsVancouver CanucksWashington Capitals
Bernie ParentDenis HerronYves BelangerGord McRaeCesare ManiagoDale Rideout
Wayne StephensonDunc WilsonEd StaniowskiMike PalmateerCurt RidleyGary Smith
Bill BarberRuss AndersonBruce AffleckDon AshbyRick BlightGarnet Bailey
Tom BladonSyl Apps, Jr.Red BerensonBruce BoudreauLarry CarriereGuy Charron
Mel BridgmanWayne BianchinRick BourbonnaisPat BoutetteBrad GassoffBill Collins
Bobby ClarkeDave BurrowsJerry ButlerRandy CarlyleJere GillisDoug Gibson
Bob DaileyColin CampbellBernie FederkoRon EllisLarry GoodenoughRick Green
Paul HolmgrenBlair ChapmanLen FrigGeorge FergusonHilliard GravesYvon Labre
Barry DeanMike CorriganBob HessBrian GlennieJohn GrisdaleRon Lalonde
Gary DornhoeferJacques CossetteClaude LaroseInge HammarstromDennis KearnsJack Lynch
Bob KellyJim HamiltonChuck LefleyLanny McDonaldDon LeverMike Marson
Orest KindrachukRick KehoeBob MacMillanJim McKennyJack McIlhargeyWalt McKechnie
Rick LapointePierre LaroucheJamie MastersBob NeelyGarry MonahanGerry Meehan
Reggie LeachLowell MacDonaldLarry PateyBorje SalmingChris OddleifsonHartland Monahan
Ross LonsberryGreg MaloneDick RedmondDarryl SittlerGerry O'FlahertyCraig Patrick
Rick MacLeishDennis OwcharJim RobertsErrol ThompsonRon SedibauerBill Riley
Don SaleskiBob ParadiseRod SeilingIan TurnbullHarold SnepstsPeter Scamurra
Jim WatsonJean PronovostJohn SarkeJack ValiquetteRalph StewartBob Sirois
Joe WatsonBrian SpencerBrian SutterKurt WalkerDennis VervergaertGord Smith
 Ron StackhouseGarry UngerDave WilliamsMike WaltonBryan Watson

The Draft

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped from
protected list
Claim player or cash
Paul WoodsDetroit Red WingsMontreal CanadiensJim Nahrgang$50,000
Dave ForbesWashington CapitalsBoston BruinsPeter Scamurra$12,500
Wayne ThomasNew York RangersToronto Maple LeafsGilles Gratton$12,500

The NHL Waiver Draft — Origins and The Rules

As I had said in my post about the 1975 Intra-league Draft, the last intra-league draft, interest in the draft was at that point almost non-existent. The talent pool had been diluted by expansion and the creation of the WHA and the draft price of $40,000 scared off most of the teams. It wasn't worth picking players at the intra-league draft anymore so the teams decided in the middle of the '75-'76 season that there was no point in continuing the practice.

However, there was still the problem of enormous imbalance in league standings. The intra-league draft was created in the early '50s to mitigate the problem and it was starting to work by the mid-'60s. It stopped working after expansions in '67, '70, '72 and '74 tripled the league membership.

In 1977 the NHL, in the middle of merger negotiations with the WHA and ongoing negotiations with the NHLPA regarding the merger with the WHA and a host of other matters, reworked the intra-league draft. All parties recognized that the competitive imbalance in the league was as bad as it had ever been and due to escalating salaries it was becoming harder and harder for some of the expansion teams to continue to do business. The league's planned 1976 expansion to Denver and Seattle was cancelled. The Cleveland Barons were within hours of folding outright in February of 1977. The Penguins did declare bankruptcy in 1975. The Blues and North Stars ownership groups weren't willing to absorb massive losses anymore and wanted to sell, but there weren't any prospective buyers. The Islanders, only a few years old at the time, were mired in debt. Something had to be done to help them and whatever it was it couldn't repeat the mistakes of the intra-league draft.

The plan that was agreed to going forwarded was an amended version of the intra-league draft. The new draft would be called the waiver draft. Instead of occurring at the June meetings within days of the amateur draft it would be pushed back to within a week of the start of the regular season, at the end of training camps (similar to the original intra-league draft rules proposed by Clarence Campbell in the early '50s). The drafting procedures were basically the same as the intra-league draft: selection order is the reverse of the regular season standing, teams file protected lists, they drop players from their protected lists when they select a player, the team that lost the player can choose between a cash payment or the player dropped by the other team as compensation, etc. What changed substantially was the draft price.

Whereas the intra-league draft price was, by the '70s, a flat $40,000 fee for every player (and $30,000 for every dropped player claimed as compensation) the waiver draft price was on a sliding scale. The price was tied to the age and experience of the player. Younger players with less experience would command a higher price and as the player gained more experience the waiver draft price for him would slide further and further down. The hope was that keeping the price for younger players higher would be sufficient disincentive to any team that might pluck a player off the reserve list of one of its rivals for the sole purpose of hurting the other team—they'd really have to want that young player. Conversely having a lower price for veteran players would be an incentive for them to be chosen and for them to continue their careers where they were really needed instead of withering on the vine on a deep team or worse, like being buried in the minors. Something I'm sure recent players like Wade Redden, Sheldon Souray, Rostislav Olesz and Jeff Finger wished they had the option of avoiding, I'm sure!

All first-year professional players were exempt from claim, no matter their age. The rules were eventually amended such that a player's draft exemption period would last for a certain number of seasons of professional hockey based on the player's age when he signed his first pro contract, or the exemption would lapse if the player appeared in a minimum number NHL of games.

In the event of a war players who were serving in the military were exempt, as were players suspended by the league (not by the club) and players who signed as a free agent with a club outside of the NHL. This "free agent" clause was particularly important at the time the waiver draft rules were written given the WHA's penchant for poaching players from the NHL; the NHL club could however choose to expose a player on their free agent list. If a "free agent" was not exposed in the waiver draft and he returned to the NHL mid-season he would have to go through waivers first though, so there was incentive for teams to expose such players.

Just as it was in the intra-league draft each club could only lose three players (excluding players transferred as compensation), and this three player limit was increased by one for every draft choice the team made. Waiver draft rules were amended so that the three player limit included a maximum of only one goaltender, unless the club chose to expose one or more additional goaltenders.

Another rule (which was of particular importance in 1978...) was that a player claimed in the waiver draft could not be traded to another team during the following season unless the player was offered on waivers and cleared. This clause was designed to prevent teams from crafting backroom deals.

Going forward I will strive to present as much information on each year's waiver draft as I can find. Some years were covered in much more detail by the press than others.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

1991 NHL Expansion Draft

I used scare quotes in the title of my last post about the 1979 NHL Expansion Draft and I'm going to use them again throughout this post. Find 'expansion' in a dictionary and it is defined something to the effect of "becoming larger". Broadly speaking any new team in a professional sports league is an "expansion team" if it increases the league membership, but in the context of professional sports the term "expansion team" implies a team created ex novo ("from new").

Whether or not you or I think the WHA's clubs joining the NHL was more a 'merger' than an 'expansion' the facts are that at the end of the 1978-79 NHL season there were 17 member clubs and by the beginning of the 1979-80 season there were 21. The NHL held a draft to provide players to the four new clubs from the existing 17. The NHL went well out of its way to make it look like these clubs were started from scratch in 1979.

The WHA teams elected to join the NHL for a variety of reasons but chief among them was the instability of the WHA itself. The volume of franchise movement in the WHA was enormous, and the four teams that joined the NHL were far and away the healthiest financially speaking (and even then three of the four teams moved in the 1990s). In the late 1970s the NHL was facing financial difficulties of its own. In 1978 the Cleveland Barons and Minnesota North Stars merged. The Barons' owners, George and Gordon Gund, took over the North Stars and the two teams were combined in a messy compromise that kept one of the teams in existence for the then-foreseeable future. It was the first time the NHL had contracted since 1942.

The Gund brothers lost money in Minnesota too and after years of losses the matter came to a head in 1990. The NHL was faced with another problem that would also stretch the common definition of "expansion team".

By the summer of 1990 it was no secret that the Gunds had no desire to keep operating the North Stars in Minnesota and they were intent on moving the team to the San Francisco Bay Area. Ironically they were minority owners in the California Golden Seals and were the architects of their move from the Bay Area to Cleveland in 1976. They blamed the Seals' problems on having been located in Oakland instead of San Francisco, and the failure of the proposed Yerba Buena Center arena project in 1976 (which would have built a new arena in the heart of San Francisco) was the final nail in the Seals' coffin. (It would have been built on what is now the site of the Moscone Center.) In the time that had passed since the Seals left for Cleveland the city of San Jose, at the south end of the bay, had grown rapidly and in the 1980s became known as the centre of Silicon Valley. In 1988 San Jose voters approved a funding for a new pro hockey arena; they broke ground in the spring of 1990.

As I said the Gunds were intent on moving the North Stars to San Jose but the NHL governors wanted to keep a presence in Minnesota, well-known as the state with the largest grass-roots support for hockey. Rather than becoming embroiled in a lawsuit such as the one between the Oakland Raiders and National Football League in the early 1980s the NHL struck a deal with the Gunds which would grant them the right to an expansion franchise located in San Jose, and in turn the Gunds would sell the North Stars to former Whalers owner Howard Baldwin and Morris Belzberg.

In order to reach this compromise the NHL and the Baldwin ownership group made very large, very unusual concessions: the Gunds' new franchise in San Jose would be allowed to take over the contracts of many of the North Stars' players. They would take some of the staff with them as well, including GM Jack Ferreira, Assistant GM Dean Lombardi, and chief scouts Chuck Grillo and Les Jackson. The North Stars would also participate in the expansion draft alongside the San Jose team. Yes, that's right: an existing team would pick players in an expansion draft. Like I said this would stretch the common definition of "expansion team". Some people have called this agreement in effect the 'demerger' of the North Stars/Barons franchise.

Under the terms of the agreement the new San Jose team would take 30 players from the North Stars in a dispersal draft. The North Stars would be able to protect 14 skaters and two goalies with at least 50 games of NHL experience. San Jose would then pick 14 skaters and two goalies with less than 50 games of NHL experience. The two teams would then alternate picking players off the North Stars' reserve list until the San Jose team had picked a total of 30 players.

Unlike previous expansion teams from the '60s and '70s the San Jose club would not get first overall selection in the entry draft. The existing team with the worst record in '90-'91 would select first overall and San Jose would select second. In subsequent rounds the order would be reversed and San Jose would have the first pick in the round. Keep in mind this was the year that Eric Lindros, then the most highly touted prospect since Mario Lemieux, would be eligible for selection. It was assumed that whoever had first overall pick would use it to select Lindros. The NHL governors would allow the Gunds to have their team in California but they stopped short of gifting Lindros to them.

The agreement with the Gunds was announced on May 5, 1990. Ferreira, Lombardi, Grillo and Jackson were to stay on with the North Stars until the end of June however Baldwin hired Bobby Clarke to be the new GM on June 8. It was also around this time that Norm Green entered the picture.

Green, a shopping mall developer from Calgary, was an 18% stakeholder in the Flames. He sold his share of the Flames and bought 51% of the North Stars from Baldwin and Belzberg. Almost immediately after hiring Bobby Clarke Baldwin sold his remaining 24.5% share of the North Stars to Green.

Meanwhile the Gunds announced that the new team in the Bay Area would be known as the San Jose Sharks, and they would temporarily play home games at the Cow Palace in Daly City until the San Jose Arena was finished (trivia: the Cow Palace was home to the WHL's San Francisco Seals in the 1960s, the team that became the NHL's California [Golden] Seals. One of the conditions of the 1967 expansion was that the Bay Area franchise couldn't play at the Cow Palace. It was deemed "unfit for the NHL" by the Board of Governors. The NHL's Seals played all of their home games across the bay at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena, except for five games played at the Cow Palace in the '68-'69 season).

By October of 1990 Green bought out Belzberg and had sole ownership of the team. Green had completely taken over within five months of the sale to Baldwin and Belzberg, and he wanted to change the deal with the Sharks. He felt it was too onerous on the North Stars (arguably true), and sought to revise the terms such that the North Stars would be allowed to keep more of their young players. The Sharks and North Stars would continue to renegotiate the terms of the dispersal throughout the 1990-91 season, well into May of 1991 in fact. It was only in mid-May that they finally came to an agreement as to how to split the players. Originally the dispersal and expansion draft were to be held on June 17 however it was moved ahead to May 30 in order to give the teams time to offer contracts to impending free agents (whose contracts would expire July 1). The draft began at 3 p.m. central time, by conference call.

The details of the final agreement between the North Stars and Sharks were never made public as far as I know. I've never found a source that describes the process in great detail, but I suspect that instead of a complicated draft procedure between the two clubs they simply negotiated and agreed on which players the Sharks would be allowed to take. In the end they took four members of the North Stars active roster, ten from the Kalamazoo Wings (the North Stars' IHL affiliate), and ten unsigned entry draft choices (mostly from the NCAA). The Sharks were also given the North Stars' second round pick in the 1991 Entry Draft (30th overall, used to select Sandis Ozolinsh) and their first round pick in the 1992 Entry Draft (10th overall, used to select Andrei Nazarov), reportedly in exchange for not taking Mike Craig in the "dispersal draft".

The first 24 San Jose Sharks were:

1991 Dispersal Draft
Player1990-91 team
Shane ChurlaMinnesota North Stars
Brian HaywardMinnesota North Stars
Neil WilkinsonMinnesota North Stars
Rob ZettlerMinnesota North Stars
Ed CourtenayKalamazoo Wings (IHL)
Kevin EvansKalamazoo Wings (IHL)
Link GaetzKalamazoo Wings (IHL)
Dan KeczmerKalamazoo Wings (IHL)
Dean KolstadKalamazoo Wings (IHL)
Peter LappinKalamazoo Wings (IHL)
Pat MacLeodKalamazoo Wings (IHL)
Mike McHughKalamazoo Wings (IHL)
Jarmo MyllysKalamazoo Wings (IHL)
J.F. QuentinKalamazoo Wings (IHL)
Scott CashmanBoston University (Hockey East)
Murray GarbuttSpokane Chiefs (WHL)
Rob GaudreauProvidence College (Hockey East)
Arturs IrbeDinamo Riga (Soviet Championship)
Shaun KaneProvidence College (Hockey East)
Larry OlimbUniversity of Minnesota (WCHA)
Tom PedersonUniversity of Minnesota (WCHA)
Bryan SchoenUniversity of Denver (WCHA)
John WeisbrodHarvard University (ECAC)
Doug ZmolekUniversity of Minnesota (WCHA)

The rules of the expansion draft were such that the North Stars and Sharks would pick 10 players each, a total of 20, one from each of the other clubs. The Sharks had first pick and had to pick a goalie. The North Stars would then have their choice of either a goalie or a defenceman with the second pick. The following six selections had to be used on defencemen and the final 12 picks were reserved for forwards.

Each of the 20 other clubs would lose only one player; once they had lost a player the North Stars and Sharks were not able to pick another from that team. The other 20 clubs were allowed to protect 16 skaters and a pair of goaltenders. All first- and second-year pros were exempt from selection and did not have to be protected. They were also forced to expose at least one goaltender with at least 60 minutes of NHL experience, one defenceman with at least 40 games played in the NHL in the 1990-91 season or 70 games over the course of the '89-'90 and '90-'91 seasons combined, and one forward with at least 40 NHL games in 1990-91 or 70 games over the preceding two seasons. As a result of these minimum experience rules a few players were pressed into action by their teams just so they could be exposed at the expense of protecting others; for example, Damian Rhodes of the Toronto Maple Leafs. At the time the only other goalies the Leafs had with NHL experience were Peter Ing and Jeff Reese, so Rhodes saw action in a single game (a 3-1 win over the Red Wings) so that the Maple Leafs could leave him exposed in the expansion draft. Rhodes wouldn't play in the NHL again until the '93-'94 season.

Rather than give the Sharks and North Stars the other clubs' protected lists, as was customary in the expansion drafts of the '70s, they were instead presented with a list of players available for selection. This list also included players who were on the teams' (restricted) free agent, voluntarily retired and inactive lists. Why the voluntarily retired and inactive players were included I do not know; it became something of a joke that the Sharks could stock their roster with all-time greats like Jean Beliveau, Bobby Clarke and Denis Potvin. Whatever the true explanation is I have listed the retired and inactive players separately, as none of them were actually chosen. The North Stars and Sharks were permitted to claim only one "free agent" player in the course of the draft.

Available Players

Boston BruinsBuffalo SabresCalgary FlamesChicago BlackhawksDetroit Red Wings
Andy BrickleyBrian CurranRich ChernomazBruce CassidyJohn Chabot
John CarterDale DeGrayKerry ClarkMartin DesjardinsAlain Chevrier
Lou CrawfordFrançois GuayPaul FentonPaul GillisBengt-Åke Gustafsson#
Peter DourisJeff Hamilton#Steve GuenetteMichel GouletMarc Habscheid
Norm FosterSteve LudzikKevan GuyJim JohannsonGlen Hanlon
Nevin MarkwartMikko MakelaTim HunterRick LanzRandy Hansch
John MokosakDon McSweenRick LessardBob McGillBrad Marsh
Allen PedersenGates Orlando#Brian MacLellanGreg MillenChris MacRae
Michael ThelvenGreg PaslawskiScott McCradyBrian NoonanDean Morton
Jim WiemerDirk Rueter#Sergei PryakhinDarren Pang 
 Steve SmithRichard ZemlakJim Playfair 
 Hannu Virta# Warren Rychel 
 Steve Weeks Mike Stapleton 
 Jay Wells Dan Vincelette 
   Bill Watson# 
   Sean Williams 
Edmonton OilersHartford WhalersLos Angeles KingsMontreal CanadiensNew Jersey Devils
Mario BarbeMikael AnderssonScott BjugstadFrederic ChabotCraig Billington
Dan CurrieDave BabychMal Davis#J. J. DaigneaultDoug Brown
John EnglishMarc BergevinMario GosselinDonald DufresnePat Conacher
Greg HawgoodBrian ChapmanBob HalkidisBrent GilchristJamie Huscroft
Charlie HuddyDaryl ReaughRick HaywardSylvain LefebvreMarc Laniel
Tomas JonssonJohn StevensTom LaidlawJayson MoreJeff Madill
Fabian Joseph#Emanuel ViveirosJohn Miner#Mats Naslund#David Marcinyshyn
Marc LaforgeTerry YakePetr PrajslerJim NesichRollie Melanson
Mark Lamb Ilkka SinisaloRyan WalterKent Nilsson#
John Leblanc# Jim ThomsonDan WoodleyLee Norwood
Tommy Lehman# John Tonelli Janne Ojanen
Ken Linseman Tim Watters Walt Poddubny
Norm Maciver   Jeff Sharples
Max Middendorf   Claude Vilgrain
Selmar Odelein#    
Pokey Reddick    
Reijo Ruotsalainen#    
Shaun Van Allen    
Mike Ware    
New York IslandersNew York RangersPhiladelphia FlyersPittsburgh PenguinsQuebec Nordiques
Bill BergPaul BrotenDon Biggs#Jock CallanderMario Brunetta#
Brad DalgarnoBob FroeseMike Bullard#Jay CaulfieldGerald Bzdel
Rob DimaioLee Giffin#Rod DallmanJeff DanielsMario Doyon
Jeff FinleyStephane GuerardBrian DobbinGilbert DelormeScott Gordon
Rick GreenMark HardyDavid FenyvesGord DineenAlan Haworth#
Paul Gagne#Anders Hedberg#Mark FreerRandy GilhenMiloslav Horava
Jeff HackettJody HullMark HoweRandy HillierJeff Jackson
Brad LauerKelly KisioWillie Huber#Jiri HrdinaGuy Lafleur
Derek LaxdalMark LaforestChris JensenKim IsselBrent Severyn
George ManelukGuy LaroseTim KerrMark KachowskiTrevor Stienberg
Hubie McDonoughJoe PatersonDale KushnerPeter Lee# 
Chris PryorLindy RuffNormand LacombeDave Michayluk 
Mick VukotaSam St-LaurentPete PeetersGlenn Mulvenna 
  Shaun SabolBarry Pederson 
  Glen SeabrookeBruce Racine 
   Bryan Trottier 
   Wendell Young 
St. Louis BluesToronto Maple LeafsVancouver CanucksWashington CapitalsWinnipeg Jets
David BruceNormand Aubin#Peter BakovicRobin Bawa#Randy Carlyle
Yves HerouxAaron BrotenBrian BladTim BerglandTom Draper
Dominic LavoieLucien DeBloisJack CapuanoCraig DuncansonDallas Eakins
Darrell MayJerry Dupont#Craig CoxeChris FelixBryan Erickson
Alain RaymondMike FolignoIan KiddMark FernerTodd Flichel
Harold SnepstsTodd HawkinsBob MasonBrent HughesBob Joyce
Tom TilleyKent HulstAndrew McBainJohn KordicMark Kumpel
Steve TuttleGreg JohnstonRobert NordmarkMike LiutTyler Larter
Alain Vigneault#Kevin MaguireRisto Siltanen#Rob MurrayMoe Mantha
Ron WilsonMike MillarStan SmylMike Richard#Chris Norton
 Rob RamageCarl ValimontSteve SeftelRoger Ohman#
 Dave ReidBehn Wilson#Neil SheehyKent Paynter
 Damian Rhodes Dave TippettRudy Poeschek
 Mike Stevens Alfie TurcotteScott Schneider
 Gilles Thibaudeau Simon WheeldonPhil Sykes
    Jim Vesey
# denotes free agent

Voluntarily Retired and Inactive Players Available

Boston BruinsBuffalo SabresCalgary FlamesChicago BlackhawksDetroit Red Wings
Gord KluzakLee FogolinBrian EngblomDave FeamsterMurray Eaves
Willi PlettJan LudvigJim PeplinskiCliff KorollBernie Federko
Frank SimonettiDave Lewis
Louis SleigherMike O'Connell
Edmonton OilersHartford WhalersLos Angeles KingsMontreal CanadiensNew Jersey Devils
Glen CochraneAndre LacroixBruce BakerMichel Bolduc
Dave HunterLarry PleauJean BeliveauMurray Brumwell
Craig RedmondYvan CournoyerMark Gordon
Ken DrydenBob Lorimer
John FergusonBob Sauve
Bob Gainey
Jean Hamel
Pierre Mondou
Mario Tremblay
New York IslandersNew York RangersPhiladelphia FlyersPittsburgh PenguinsQuebec Nordiques
Mark HamwayDave ArchibaldBill BarberBob GladneyAlain Côté
Kevin HeromPierre LaroucheBobby Clarke
Jim KoudysAndre Villeneuve
Garry Lacey
Kurt Lackton
Don Maloney
Stefan Persson
Denis Potvin
St. Louis BluesToronto Maple LeafsVancouver CanucksWashington CapitalsWinnipeg Jets
Eddy BeersBill KitchenMarc CrawfordTerry MurrayBob Brooke
Ed KeaDan MaloneyRandy GreggDaryl Stanley
Paul MacLeanBrad SmithLarry Melnyk
Scott PaluchGreg TerrionPaul Reinhart
Brian SuterDarcy Rota
Ian Tennant
† denotes inactive. All other players were voluntarily retired.

Expansion Draft

1Jeff HackettNew York IslandersSan Jose Sharks
2Rob RamageToronto Maple LeafsMinnesota North Stars
3Jayson MoreMontreal CanadiensSan Jose Sharks
4Dave BabychToronto Maple LeafsMinnesota North Stars
5Rick LessardCalgary FlamesSan Jose Sharks
6Allen PedersenBoston BruinsMinnesota North Stars
7Bob McGillChicago BlackhawksSan Jose Sharks
8Charlie HuddyEdmonton OilersMinnesota North Stars
9Tim KerrPhiladelphia FlyersSan Jose Sharks
10Kelly KisioNew York RangersMinnesota North Stars
11Jeff MadillNew Jersey DevilsSan Jose Sharks
12Randy GilhenPittsburgh PenguinsMinnesota North Stars
13David BruceSt. Louis BluesSan Jose Sharks
14Rob MurrayWashington CapitalsMinnesota North Stars
15Greg PaslawskiBuffalo SabresSan Jose Sharks
16Tyler LarterWinnipeg JetsMinnesota North Stars
17Bengt-Åke GustafssonDetroit Red WingsSan Jose Sharks
18Jim ThomsonLos Angeles KingsMinnesota North Stars
19Craig CoxeVancouver CanucksSan Jose Sharks
20Guy LafleurQuebec NordiquesMinnesota North Stars

As you can see the North Stars elected to take a defenceman with their first pick, second overall, choosing Maple Leafs' captain Rob Ramage. Ramage, 32, was among five veteran players over the age of 30 selected by the North Stars. The others were: Dave Babych (30), Charlie Huddy (31; he turned 32 three days after the draft), Kelly Kisio (31) and Guy Lafleur (39). It was clear that the Sharks were trying to build a younger team. By contrast they chose only two players older than 30, Tim Kerr (31) and Bengt Gustafsson (33), and the average age of the Sharks' selections was 26.7 years (compared to the North Stars' 28.8).

The youngest players chosen were Jayson More and Jeff Hackett, both 22 years old at the time (although Hackett's birthday is June 1, so he turned 23 only a couple days after the draft).

Conversely the North Stars picked 39-year-old Guy Lafleur with the final pick of the draft. Why would the North Stars waste a pick on a player who had already made his intentions to retire at the end of the 1990-91 season clear? As Bobby Clarke put it, "there was no one left". He didn't want to pick Lafleur at all.

Lafleur was chosen as a last resort due to a quirky culmination of the draft rules. Because each of the other 20 teams could only lose one player and all the other teams except the Nordiques had lost a player the 20th and final pick had to be a player from the Nordiques. The 9th through 20th picks had to be forwards, so the 20th pick had to be a Nordiques forward. Clarke wasn't interested in any of the Nordiques forwards and didn't want to pick up an unnecessary contract so he wanted to make a throwaway pick on a player he wouldn't have to pay. He wanted to take Alan Haworth.

Haworth hadn't played for the Nordiques in a couple years and was plying his trade in Switzerland instead. He was considered a 'defected' player and a restricted free agent and the Nordiques continued to hold his NHL rights. But, as I said before, there was a rule that only one player off the free agent list could be chosen in the draft, and with the 17th overall pick the Sharks chose Bengt Gustafsson. Gustafsson left the Capitals after the 1988-89 season and was playing in Sweden. Like Haworth he was a 'defected' player and a restricted free agent; the Red Wings acquired his rights in the 1990 Waiver Draft.

Clarke tried to claim Haworth but the selection was refused, and he was told he had to make another. Reluctantly he chose Le démon blond instead. Lafleur hadn't yet filed his voluntary retirement papers with the NHL offices so he was still eligible for selection. Clarke reportedly apologized over the conference call to Nordiques general manager Pierre Pagé (who coincidentally had been the North Stars' head coach prior to the deal to sell the team to Baldwin and Belzberg).

To allow Lafleur to retire in a more dignified manner, as a Quebec Nordique as he intended rather than as a North Star by circumstance, Clarke and Pagé made a deal the very next day (May 31): Lafleur was traded by the North Stars back to the Nordiques for Alan Haworth.

It's remarkable how quickly most of the players chosen in this draft were traded away, and how little use the draft was for either team in retrospect. Lafleur was one of several players who were traded away almost immediately. In fact immediately following the conclusion of the draft the Sharks announced their first ever trade: Tim Kerr, the first forward chosen, was traded to the Rangers for Brian Mullen and future considerations. Jack Ferreira candidly admitted that the deal was prearranged and the Sharks never had any intention of keeping Kerr (he would only play parts of the following two seasons before retiring).

On May 31, the same day they traded Lafleur back to the Nordiques, the North Stars traded Rob Murray to the Jets along with future considerations for the Jets' 7th round pick in the 1991 Entry Draft (Geoff Finch) and future considerations in return. Days later (June 3) they made their first trade with the Sharks, sending Kelly Kisio to San Jose in return for Shane Churla, one of their players taken in the player dispersal.

On June 22 the North Stars made two trades at the Entry Draft. In a three-way deal Dave Babych was traded to the Canucks, the North Stars received Craig Ludwig from the Islanders and the Islanders received Tom Kurvers from the Canucks. Randy Gilhen, Charlie Huddy and Jim Thomson were traded to the Kings along with the Rangers' 4th round pick (previously acquired) for Todd Elik. The Kings used the pick to select Alexei Zhitnik.

Less than a month after the expansion draft the North Stars had already traded seven of their ten selections away. The remaining three were gone within a year: Tyler Larter was traded to the Jets for Tony Joseph on October 15, 1991, Allen Pedersen was traded to the Whalers for a 6th round pick in the 1993 Entry Draft (Rick Mrozik) on June 15, 1992 and Rob Ramage was lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1992 Expansion Draft on June 18.

The Sharks didn't fare much better as far as their selections went. Neither the aforementioned Gustafsson nor former New Jersey Devil Jeff Madill ever played in the NHL again. Greg Paslawski was traded to the Nordiques on May 31, 1991 (the day after the expansion draft, remember) for Tony Hrkac. Craig Coxe played two games for the Sharks in 1991-92 and never played another game in the NHL afterward. Bob McGill played 62 games for the Sharks in their inaugural season and was traded to the Red Wings with the Canucks' 8th round pick in the 1992 Entry Draft (C.J. Denomme) for Johan Garpenlov on trade deadline day, March 10, 1992. Rick Lessard played eight games for the Sharks, and was traded to the Canucks for Robin Bawa on December 15, 1992.

Jeff Hackett was traded to the Blackhawks on July 13, 1993 for a third round pick in the 1994 Entry Draft (Alexei Yegorov) and future considerations. In two seasons with the Sharks he played in 78 games, had a miserable 13-57-2 record, with a 4.51 GAA and .875 save percentage. As bad as his stats were they weren't bad compared to his teammates. Jarmo Myllys played in 27 games in the Sharks' first season, had a 3-18-1 record, 5.02 GAA and .867 save percentage, while Brian Hayward played in 25 games, had the same 3-18-1 record as Myllys, a 5.39 GAA and .849 save percentage. Arturs Irbe had a 9-32-3 record in 49 games over the two seasons, a 4.19 GAA and .882 save percentage (and a shutout). Wade Flaherty saw limited action over the first two seasons: four games played, all of them losses, a 4.54 GAA and .892 save percentage.

After the Sharks' first two seasons the only players chosen in the expansion draft left were David Bruce and Jayson More. Bruce played in 79 games over the Sharks' first three seasons, scoring 24 goals and 19 assists (22 goals in the inaugural season, second most on the team behind Pat Falloon's 25). After the 1993-94 season he spent the rest of his career playing for the IHL's Kansas City Blades, the Sharks' top farm team.

Jayson More was the last of the players taken in the draft to stay with the team that chose him. He played for the Sharks for their first five seasons, 287 games in all. He was traded to the Rangers with Brian Swanson and a conditional draft pick for Marty McSorley on August 20, 1996.

In retrospect the North Stars apparently had nothing to fear from the player dispersal to the Sharks. Their roster and prospect pool weren't decimated as Norm Green, Bobby Clarke and reporters thought they might be. The most notable player taken from the North Stars was goalie Arturs Irbe, who had a long career in the NHL and led the Sharks to their first playoff victories in 1994 and 1995, but Irbe might never have played for the North Stars anyway. One can only wonder what could have happened if the terms of the deal with the Gunds weren't renegotiated. The North Stars weren't any worse than they were before, but they weren't any better. They finished the 1991-92 regular season with two more points than they had had in 1990-91. They made the playoffs once again but didn't go on another Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Sharks were pitiful on the ice, finishing their first season with a meagre 17-58-5 record and their second with an even more pitiful 11-71-2, one of the NHL's all-time greatest marks of regular season futility. Despite the lack of on-ice success the Gunds couldn't have been happier with the team's off-ice fortunes. Sharks merchandise was the most popular in the league and the Sharks were one of the top pro sports brands in North America at the time.

Financially speaking the North Stars carried on under Norm Green as they had under Gordon and George Gund. Attendance improved to over 13,000 per game but that was still one of the lowest figures in the league. On March 10, 1993 Green announced that the North Stars were moving to Dallas, effective the end of the 1992-93 season. The NHL wouldn't return to the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota until 2000 when the expansion Minnesota Wild began play.


© 2012-2017 Mark Parsons