June 13, 2007

NHL Entry Draft History: 1973

The top pick of 1973 was a no-brainer. Ottawa 67s star Denis Potvin had dominated junior hockey like no other defenseman since Bobby Orr.

Montreal, the most active team on draft day, was determined to get Potvin. The Canadiens re-positioned themselves by trading for several extra high picks and then offered the Islanders all kinds of deals for the No. 1 choice. Islanders general manager Bill Torrey was not interested, however. He held on to the top pick and wisely selected Potvin, who became the building block for a future hockey dynasty that would take over from Montreal's in 1980.

Montreal ended up with Bob Gainey at #8. Joining Potvin and Gainey in the Hall of Fame one day would be Lanny McDonald, Toronto's pick at #4. The Leafs would have to give McDonald, then sans-moustache, $120,000 a year contract, huge numbers in those days, to keep him from signing with the WHA.

McDonald's centerman in Medicine Hat, Tom Lysiak, was the second pick overall, by Atlanta. Other notable 1st rounders include #5 John Davidson, #6 Andre Savard, #7 Blaine Stoughton, #13 Darcy Rota, #14 Rick Middleton and #15 Ian Turnbull.

Round two featured the 1975 Rookie of the Year Eric Vail. Other notables include Blake Dunlop, Colin Campbell and Pat Hickey.

Late round finds include Dave Lewis, Bob Gassoff, Dean Talafous, Ken Houston, John Wensink, Dennis Polonich, Bob Lorimer, Larry Patey, Gord Lane and Greg Fox. Lots of toughness in that group, but not a lot of stars.

In all the 1973 draft featured 168 selections, 70 of which would appear in the NHL. 154 of the selections where Canadian. The rest were American, as again no Europeans were selected.

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