June 13, 2007

NHL Entry Draft History: 1974

The 1974 NHL Entry Draft certainly won't be remembered as the best 1st round ever. Expansion Washington took Regina defenseman Greg Joly 1st overall, but he struggled with the pressures of being the face of the new franchise, and was a bust.

Another new franchise, Kansas City, took Wilf Paiement at #2. Wilf had some nice numbers, almost 1000 games and over 350 goals and over 800 points, but all with very weak teams. He will always be remembered as that other guy who wore #99.

California made another anonymous selection at #3, selecting Paiement's junior teammate Rick Hampton. Hampton will be better remembered as one of the men who helped bring down agent Alan Eagleson. Eagleson squandered away virtually all of the naive Hampton's earnings.

The New York Islanders took a bit of a diamond on the rough at #4, and it paid off handsomely. Clark Gillies would go on to be a huge part of the Islanders 1980s dynasty.

Montreal had 5 of the next 10 picks, but to further illustrate the weakness of this draft they could only come away with two players of note: Doug Risebrough and Mario Tremblay.

For some reason Montreal twice passed over Pierre Larouche, who would become a 50 goal scorer in the NHL. Pittsburgh selected him 8th overall, but Montreal corrected that miss by trading Peter Mahovlich to the Penguins in exchange for Larouche in 1977.

Other notable 1st rounders include Buffalo's Lee Fogolin Jr at #11. The second generation NHLer was best remembered as the helmetless veteran of the early Edmonton Oilers. The Rangers selected Dave Maloney and Chicago selected Grant Mulvey.

Interestingly, one of Montreal's picks was Rick Chartraw, an unspectacular defenseman. Chartraw was born and lived in Venezuela for first 3½ years of his life while his father was on assignment building power stations in that country. Chartraw would spend parts of his childhood in Dayton, Chicago and Orlando, before settling in Erie, Pennsylvania at age 10.

A more impressive batch of second rounders was opened by Washington's selecting of power forward/tough guy Mike Marson. Marson would prove to be a bust, but more because of the many off ice pressures he faced as only the NHL's third black player, and first who was expected to star. To top it all off, he had to do this in Washington, DC, where relations with a poor black community already created tension. Marson became a political pawn, and couldn't cope.

If the Islanders got the class of the 1st round in Clark Gillies, then they got the class of the draft in the 2nd round with Bryan Trottier at #22. How every team in the league passed over him is mindboggling, at least in 20/20 hindsight. Trottier and Gillies were the only two Hall of Famers from 1974.

Another superstar was found in the second round: Mark Howe. Howe, of course the son of Gordie Howe, would spend most of the 70s starring in the WHA, but he was also noted as a star defenseman with the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1980s. He's not in the Hall of Fame, but he should be. Gordie's other son, Marty Howe, was also drafted in 1974, 51st overall.

Other notable 2nd rounders include Guy Chouinard, Danny Gare, Tiger Williams and Ron Greschner.

Some of the late round finds included Bob Bourne, Charlie Simmer, Bob Murray, Harold Snepsts, Terry Ruskowski, Mike Rogers, Mike Palmateer, Dave Langevin, Reggie Lemelin, Dave Lumley and Stefan Persson. Persson and Langevin were drafted by the Islanders, and were nice parts of their dynasty's defense. The Islanders did not draft Bourne, but were wise enough to trade for him 3 months later in September, 1974.

There were 246 players drafted in 1974, 98 of whom reached the NHL. 200 of the players were Canadian, 40 were American and 6 were European.

No comments: