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June 14, 2007

NHL Entry Draft History: 1977

The 1977 NHL Entry Draft featured 185 selections, 97 of which would appear in the NHL.

Dale McCourt was chosen 1st overall by Detroit. McCourt was a junior superstar in the OHA. He was a perennial 50 goal scorer who captained the the Hamilton Fincups to the Memorial Cup in 1976. He was also honored as the Stafford Smythe Memorial trophy as Memorial Cup MVP. McCourt also represented Canada at the 1977 World Junior Championships where he was tournament all-star and helped the nation win a silver medal. That season he was named the Canadian Major Junior player-of-the-year in 1977. He graduated junior as the all time leader in many scoring categories in all of Ontario (all records since broken).

Unfortunately McCourt never reached his potential in the NHL. The professional lifestyle did not sit well with his undeniable love of the game, particularly following an odd court case about his playing rights.

Detroit passed up on a mean-spirited defenseman named Barry "Bubba" Beck to get McCourt. Beck went to the Colorado Rockies, although he would be best known as a New York Ranger.

Other solid NHLers from the first round included Robert Picard (3rd), Doug Wilson (6th), Brad Maxwell (7th), Lucien Deblois (8th), Mark Napier (10th), John Anderson (11th), Ron Duguay (13th) and Ric Seiling (14th).

Hind sight is always 20/20 of course, but how in the heck those 14 players were selected ahead of Mike Bossy is baffling. Bossy is clearly the class of the draft and one of only two Hall of Famers (Rod Langway, picked 36th, being the other). Bossy may be the best pure goal scorer in the history of the game.

The Islanders continued their strong drafting ways in the second round, picking up John Tonelli at #33. Dave Semenko and Langway were the only other significant 2nd rounders.

There were a number of late round picks that panned out with time, including goaltenders Glen Hanlon, Murray Bannerman, Greg Millen, Markus Mattsson, Richard Sevigny, Pete Peeters, and Olympic hero Jim Craig.

Skaters included Gordie Roberts, Mario Marois, Mark Johnson, Jim Korn, Jack O'Callahan, Bobby Gould and Craig Laughlin.

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