June 13, 2007

NHL Entry Draft History: 1975

The 1975 NHL Entry Draft featured 217 selections, 87 of which graduated to the NHL.

But the draft was far from exceptional. In fact, one could make a very good argument that the man selected 210th overall was the best player when all the NHL careers were said and done.

The Los Angeles Kings selected Clarkson undergrad Dave Taylor. Then considered far too skinny to be a NHL prospect, he would go on to set 1975 draft bests with 1111 career NHL games played, 431 career goals, 638 career assists, and 1069 career points.

Those numbers dwarfed first overall pick Mel Bridgman. Bridgman, selected by Philadelphia after acquiring the pick from Washington, would score 252 goals and 701 points in 977 games.

Other notable 1st rounders include Rick "Jumbo" Lapointe, Pat Price, Pierre Mondou, Tim Young and Bob Sauve.

The second and third rounds didn't produce any great stars either. Dennis Maruk was the closest, once scoring 60 goals in a season. Brian Engblom and Doug Jarvis were very steady defensive presences, while Mike O'Connell, Pat Hughes, Paul Baxter and goaltender Doug Soetart had solid careers.

Joining Taylor in the late rounds came tough hombres Willi Plett, Stan Jonathan, Paul Holmgren, Ron Delorme and goaltender Don Edwards.

Two interesting trends developed in this draft. Dave Taylor was one of 68 collegiate players selected, thus suggesting the NHL's disrespect of the college route was ending. Also, 6 more Europeans were selected. Three Finns and two Swedes, and Philadelphia made history in becoming the first NHL team to draft a Soviet player. The Flyers took Viktor Khatulev with a ninth-round pick. Khatulev, who had no idea he was drafted until 4 years later, never made it to the NHL. In fact he was kicked out of Russian hockey because he was the Soviet equivalent of a Broad Street Bully.

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