Sunday, April 14, 2013

1963 NHL Intra-League Draft

The 1963 NHL Intra-League Draft was held June 5. Rules were the same as before.

OverallPlayer ChosenByFromPlayer Removed
From Protected List
Round 1
1Andy HebentonBoston BruinsNew York Rangers
2Val FonteyneNew York RangersDetroit Red Wings
3Wayne RiversBoston BruinsDetroit Red Wings
passNew York Rangers
4Irv SpencerDetroit Red WingsBoston Bruins
passMontreal Canadiens
passChicago Black Hawks
passToronto Maple Leafs
Round 2
5Ted HampsonDetroit Red WingsNew York Rangers
Round 3
6Art StrattonDetroit Red WingsChicago Black Hawks

1962 NHL Intra-League Draft

The 1962 NHL Intra-League Draft was held June 6. Again, the rules were the same as before: 18 skater and two goalie protected lists, $20,000 draft price, etc.

The biggest name taken in this draft was Bert Olmstead. He was 35 years old at the time, soon to be 36, and it was no secret that the Rangers drafted Olmstead so that he could take over as a playing coach from Doug Harvey. Olmstead wasn't interested and refused to report to the Rangers. There were rumours that the Canadiens were interested in re-acquiring Olmstead but he eventually chose retirement.

Jean-Guy Gendron and Bronco Horvath were drafted for the second straight year, the third time since 1957 that each had been selected.

OverallPlayer ChosenByFromPlayer Removed
From Protected List
Round 1
1Jean-Guy GendronBoston BruinsNew York Rangers
2Alex FaulknerDetroit Red WingsToronto Maple LeafsVic Stasiuk
3Warren GodfreyBoston BruinsDetroit Red Wings
4Barclay PlagerDetroit Red WingsMontreal CanadiensForbes Kennedy
5Bert OlmsteadNew York RangersToronto Maple LeafsIrv Spencer
passChicago Black Hawks
passToronto Maple Leafs
passMontreal Canadiens
Round 2
6Irv SpencerBoston BruinsNew York RangersJerry Toppazzini
7Floyd SmithDetroit Red WingsNew York RangersClaude Laforge
8Bronco HorvathNew York RangersChicago Black Hawks
9Ed Van ImpeToronto Maple LeafsChicago Black Hawks

1961 NHL Intra-League Draft

The 1961 NHL Intra-League Draft was held June 14. Rules were the same as before.

This was the first intra-league draft in which the players being dropped from their teams' protected lists played a large part in the proceedings of the day. Half of the selections—Bronco Horvath, Al Arbour, Vic Hadfield and Orland Kurtenbach—were dropped from their respective teams' protected lists and were chosen by another club later in the draft. Also, half of the selections came from the newly-crowned Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks (including Arbour and Hadfield).

OverallPlayer ChosenByFromPlayer Removed
From Protected List
Round 1
1Pat StapletonBoston BruinsChicago Black HawksDale Rolfe
2Jean-Guy GendronNew York RangersMontreal Canadiens
3Earl BalfourBoston BruinsChicago Black HawksBronco Horvath
passNew York Rangers
passDetroit Red Wings
4Bronco HorvathChicago Black HawksBoston BruinsAl Arbour
5Al ArbourToronto Maple LeafsChicago Black Hawks
passMontreal Canadiens
Round 2
6Autry EricksonChicago Black HawksBoston BruinsVic Hadfield
Round 3
7Vic HadfieldNew York RangersChicago Black HawksOrland Kurtenbach
Round 4
8Orland KurtenbachBoston BruinsNew York Rangers

Friday, April 12, 2013

1960 NHL Intra-League Draft

The 1960 NHL Intra-League Draft was held June 8. Rules were the same as before.

OverallPlayer ChosenByFromPlayer Removed
From Protected List
Round 1
1Billy McNeillNew York RangersDetroit Red WingsNoel Price
2Ted GreenBoston BruinsMontreal Canadiens
3Ted HampsonNew York RangersToronto Maple LeafsMel Pearson
4Jim BartlettBoston BruinsNew York Rangers
5Parker MacDonaldDetroit Red WingsNew York RangersVal Fonteyne
passChicago Black Hawks
6Larry HillmanToronto Maple LeafsBoston BruinsPat Hannigan
passMontreal Canadiens
Round 2
7Jim MorrisonNew York RangersChicago Black HawksLarry Popein
8Tom ThurlbyBoston BruinsMontreal CanadiensBarry Ashbee
9Guy RousseauToronto Maple LeafsMontreal CanadiensJohnny Wilson

First choice Billy McNeill had been involved in a controversial trade between the Rangers and Red Wings earlier in the '59-'60 season. On February 5, 1960 Red Kelly and McNeill were to be dealt to the Rangers for Bill Gadsby and Eddie Shack. Red Wings GM Jack Adams was incensed that Kelly had told a Toronto publication that he had been playing on a broken ankle the season before. It was inferred that Kelly had been encouraged by the Red Wings to play on the broken ankle. Both Kelly and McNeill refused to report to the Rangers and threatened to retire. (Note that Kelly was 32, a veteran of the NHL by then, but McNeill was only 24.) A couple days later the trade was rescinded. McNeill was chosen by the Rangers in the draft only four months later and again he refused to report. He chose retirement, and didn't play a game for the Rangers. They eventually traded his rights back to the Red Wings in 1961 and McNeill came out of retirement to play for the Red Wings' affiliate in the WHL, the Edmonton Flyers.

Jim Morrison, acquired by the Rangers, had been property of the Black Hawks for only three days. He was traded to the Hawks by the Red Wings for Howie Glover (brother of AHL great Fred Glover) on June 5.

1959 NHL Intra-League Draft

The 1959 NHL Intra-League Draft was held June 10. The rules were the same as before except the draft price was raised from $15,000 to $20,000, twice the original price set in 1952. Keep in mind that stars like Maurice Richard and Doug Harvey were making $25,000 per season at this time (about $200,000 in 2013 dollars, adjusted for inflation). When a team made a claim in the intra-league draft it cost them a significant amount of money.

OverallPlayer ChosenByFromPlayer Removed
From Protected List
Round 1
1Gary AldcornDetroit Red WingsToronto Maple Leafs
2Irv SpencerNew York RangersMontreal Canadiens
3John McKenzieDetroit Red WingsChicago Black Hawks
4Ian CushenanNew York RangersChicago Black Hawks
passToronto Maple Leafs
passChicago Black Hawks
5Bruce GambleBoston BruinsNew York Rangers
passMontreal Canadiens
Round 2
6Brian CullenNew York RangersToronto Maple Leafs
7Autry EricksonBoston BruinsChicago Black Hawks
Round 3
8Charlie BurnsBoston BruinsDetroit Red Wings

Saturday, April 6, 2013

1958 NHL Intra-League Draft

The 1958 NHL Intra-League Draft took place on June 4, and was easily the busiest intra-league draft to date. A record ten players were chosen. Why the spike in activity? Some of it must be attributed to the New York Rangers, who decided to leave eight of their NHL regulars off their protected list (including goalie Gump Worsley; Rangers' GM Muzz Patrick elected to protect Bruce Gamble and Marcel Paille) in favour of players in the minors. Of the ten players chosen in the draft five of them were from the Rangers.

Rules were broadly the same as before: protected lists of 18 skaters and a pair of goalies, players chosen had to go through waivers before being traded or assigned to another team, draft price of $15,000, etc.

That little rule about having to keep a chosen player on the team's NHL roster or otherwise having to put him on waivers before assigning him to a minor affiliate or trading him to another club played particular importance on June 4, 1958.

Before the draft the Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Black Hawks conspired to make a three-way deal: the Canadiens would leave Bert Olmstead (who had been benched in the playoffs and replaced by Ab McDonald anyway) off their protected list for the Maple Leafs to pick, the Maple Leafs would trade Tod Sloan to the Black Hawks, the Black Hawks would also acquire Dollard St. Laurent from the Canadiens and the Canadiens would in turn get a defenceman from the Black Hawks and neither the Black Hawks nor Maple Leafs would choose Danny Lewicki or Dave Creighton from the Rangers in the draft, leaving Montreal to acquire them. Montreal wanted to stock up the Rochester Americans farm team with Lewicki, Creighton and the unnamed defenceman.

Olmstead was chosen by the Maple Leafs first, the Black Hawks picked defenceman Jack Evans from the Rangers with the intent of trading him to Montreal to complete the deal, and Montreal chose Lewicki and Creighton, but when President Clarence Campbell got wind of the trade of Evans to Montreal he reminded the three parties that Evans had to go through waivers before being traded to another club. So too did Lewicki and Creighton before they could be assigned to Rochester. Otherwise they had to be kept in the NHL for the '58-'59 season. Muzz Patrick reminded the other teams of this too, and stated he'd claim them off waivers if the Canadiens and Black Hawks tried to move Evans, Lewicki and Creighton.

Sloan and St. Laurent were traded to the Black Hawks as planned but the rest of the deal fell through. The Hawks kept Evans for another five years, including the Stanley Cup championship team in 1961. (Sloan and St. Laurent were also on the Cup-winning team.)

The Canadiens kept Lewicki and Creighton through the 1958 training camp and reluctantly placed them on waivers with the intent of assigning them to the AHL if none of the other NHL teams put in a claim. Unfortunately for the Canadiens both players were claimed: Lewicki by the Black Hawks and Creighton by the Maple Leafs! The Canadiens' were betrayed by their co-conspirators at the draft three months earlier.

OverallPlayer ChosenByFromPlayer Removed
From Protected List
Round 1
1Bert OlmsteadToronto Maple LeafsMontreal Canadiens
2Jack EvansNew York RangersMontreal Canadiens
3Gerry WilsonToronto Maple LeafsMontreal Canadiens
4Al ArbourChicago Black HawksDetroit Red WingsTed Lindsay
5Jean-Guy GendronBoston BruinsNew York Rangers
passDetroit Red Wings
 passNew York Rangers 
6Danny LewickiMontreal CanadiensNew York Rangers
Round 2
7Earl BalfourChicago Black HawksToronto Maple Leafs
8Gord RedahlBoston BruinsNew York Rangers
9Dave CreightonMontreal CanadiensNew York Rangers
Round 3
10Earl ReibelBoston BruinsChicago Black Hawks

Note that the only player I know of who was removed from a protected list was Ted Lindsay, removed from the Black Hawks' list after they picked up Al Arbour. I'm not sure who else was removed from protected lists during this draft but Lindsay's removal was well-reported. "Terrible Ted" had just played his first season in Chicago after having been traded to the Black Hawks in retribution for trying to organize a players union, and it was probably the worst season of his career.

1957 NHL Intra-League Draft

Now we're cookin'! The 1957 NHL Intra-League Draft took place on June 5, and a record number of players (five) were chosen. The number of goalies that could be protected was reduced from three to two and the draft price was still $15,000.

OverallPlayer ChosenByFromPlayer Removed
From Protected List
Round 1
1Larry HillmanChicago Black HawksDetroit Red Wings
passToronto Maple Leafs
2Bob BaileyChicago Black HawksDetroit Red WingsFrank Martin
passToronto Maple Leafs
3John HannaNew York RangersMontreal CanadiensGerry Foley
4Norm JohnsonBoston BruinsNew York Rangers
passMontreal Canadiens
passDetroit Red Wings
Round 2
5Bronco HorvathBoston BruinsMontreal Canadiens

1956 NHL Intra-League Draft

The 1956 NHL Intra-League Draft, the first to occur as part of the league's summer meetings in June (June 6, 1956 to be exact), was the busiest intra-league draft yet. Two players were chosen.

The Black Hawks, Bruins and Maple Leafs passed on their picks but the third-place Rangers picked defenceman Larry Cahan from the Maple Leafs for the draft price of $15,000. The second-place Red Wings followed, taking forward Tom McCarthy from the Rangers.

1955 NHL Intra-League Draft

The 1954 intra-league draft meeting had finally produced a result. Unfortunately the 1955 meeting did not.

The protected lists were submitted to the Central Registry on September 1, and the draft meeting was scheduled for September 7, but in the intervening week the general managers looked over each other's reserve lists and unanimously decided that "there was nobody to draft" and "no point in holding a meeting".

The 1955 Intra-league Draft was the last one scheduled to occur in September. Training camps began in September so it was awkward for the teams to firm up a protected list by September 1 before having seen the players in training camp. It was awkward for a team to lose a player in the midst of training camp, and equally awkward for that player to learn he had been drafted and would immediately have to report to another team's training camp. It was decided that beginning in 1956 the intra-league draft would be moved forward to the NHL's summer meetings in June.


References:

"NHL Meeting Off; Nobody to Draft". The Globe & Mail. Canadian Press. (Toronto, Ontario). September 7, 1955. p. 31.
"Rangers Draft Ross Lowe, Bartlett; Royals' Orval Tessier Goes to Bruins". Montreal Gazette. June 1 1955. p. 23

1954 NHL Intra-League Draft

After two years of uneventful draft meetings the NHL intra-league draft meeting on September 15, 1954 produced some actual results!

For the draft price of $15,000 the last-place Chicago Black Hawks picked Montreal Canadiens' utility centreman Johnny McCormack. All other teams forewent making a selection.


The Genesis of the NHL Intra-League Draft

Oy vey, it has been a long time since I've posted anything here. There's never enough time in the day. Damn that infernal day job.


I've posted the results of several NHL intra-league drafts over the last year or so (seems like it has been longer!) but looking back I never really did explain how the draft came about.

In the first ten seasons of the "Original Six" era, 1942-43 to 1951-52, three teams were consistently better than their peers and two teams were decidedly worse than the rest. Noticeably worse. To the point where it seemed the bottom feeders of the league needed an extra advantage to make them more competitive, to make the entire league as a whole more competitive, and hopefully to make the league more interesting to potential fans as a result.

From 1943 to 1952 the Stanley Cup was won by three clubs: Toronto (1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951), Detroit (1943, 1950, 1952) and Montreal (1944, 1946). In that same time period the Red Wings never missed the playoffs, the Maple Leafs and Canadiens each missed once (1946 and 1948 respectively), the Bruins missed a couple times (1944, 1950) and the Black Hawks and Rangers each missed the playoffs EIGHT TIMES in those ten years. There wasn't a single season between 1943 and 1952 that one of the Rangers or Black Hawks didn't make the playoffs.

How do you go about restoring a semblance of parity between these six teams? The NHL governors decided to institute a new draft of players, an intra-league draft, which would give the moribund Rangers and Black Hawks (the Hawks in particular; they hadn't made the playoffs since 1946) a leg up on the competition by allowing them to have their pick of the league's best teams' fringe players and spare parts.

NHL President Clarence Campbell was tasked with the job of developing the rules for the draft. He presented them to the board of governors for approval at their 'semi-annual' meeting in Chicago on September 11, 1952. The draft rules were as follows:

- each NHL club would be able to exempt 15 skaters and one goalie
- the draft price, to be paid by the club making a claim to the club losing the player, would be $10,000
- the draft would take place on or about the 30th of April, after the Stanley Cup playoffs had been concluded
- sponsored amateurs and other amateurs on 'A', 'B' and 'C' forms would not be eligible
- the draft order would be the reverse of the final standings of the previous season


After deliberating the rules at the meeting it was agreed to amend them such that:

- each NHL club would be able to protect 20 skaters and 2 goalies
- the draft would take place just before the beginning of the season; protected lists would have to be filed within seven days of the opening of the regular season and the draft meeting would occur some time within those seven days
- players selected by draft would have to be kept by the club that chose him (he could not be traded or loaned to another club) for at least one year, except that the player could be placed on unconditional waivers (no right of recall) to be claimed by any club for a price of $7,500
- the draft order would be the reverse of the final standings, however in the first round the bottom two teams (6th and 5th place) would alternate the first four choices, such that the first round's order of selection would be 6th, 5th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st. All subsequent rounds would be 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st.


The first intra-league draft meeting was scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, October 5, 1952; just before the All-Star Game. Protected lists were to be filed by the morning of October 3 (the '52-'53 regular season started October 9). Before the protected lists were to be filed the governors made another amendment to the rules: not only would amateurs whose rights belonged to NHL clubs be exempt, but in fact all players under the age of 22 who had not played in at least four NHL games would be ineligible for selection.


The meeting on Oct. 5 was uneventful. No players were drafted, no money changed hands.


At the league's 'summer' meetings in June of 1953 the draft rules were once again amended to encourage the general managers the select players. The number of skaters that could be protected was lowered to 18 from 20, and the number of goalies increased from two to three. The draft price was also increased from $10,000 to $15,000, and the timing of the draft meeting was changed from just before the season started to about three weeks earlier, during the semi-annual meeting in September.


The '53 draft meeting was scheduled for Thursday, September 10, and like the inaugural '52 meeting nothing happened.


It took until 1954 for someone to take a chance on a player...

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