May 30, 2015

Russ Walker

Red Deer, Alberta's Russ Walker was an intriguing prospect at the 1973 draft.

Walker had just come off of a 42 goal, 80 point and 193 penalty minutes season with the Saskatoon Blades, emerging as a bit of a late bloomer. It was only his second season of hockey playing forward, as he had always played defense prior to 1971.

The Los Angeles Kings invested their third round pick, 38th overall, in Walker, taking him ahead of future NHL talent like Dean Talafous, Nelson Pyatt, Al Sims and Bob Gassoff.

However the rival World Hockey Association also drafted Walker, with the Cleveland Crusaders nabbing him with the 49th pick. Walker immediately jumped at their contract offer and turned pro in the WHA.

Walker would play seasons in Cleveland, topping out with 23 goals and 38 points in 1975-76. His skating held him back.

When the Crusaders folded in 1976 Walker finally signed with the Los Angeles Kings. For the next three seasons he would play primarily with their farm teams in the minor leagues. He did get called up for a total of 17 NHL games with the Kings, scoring one goal.

Walker retired in 1979 and moved back to Saskatoon where he got into the real estate business.

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