February 16, 2016

Dave Salvian

Not surprisingly there is a fairly lengthy list of hockey players who appeared in only one National Hockey League regular season game.

But Dave Salvian is a member of a much rarer club of about a dozen players in NHL history. Salvian never played at all in the regular season, but he made his lone NHL appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

And he is the only such player to record a point in his lone playoff game.

The Toronto native was the New York Islanders' second round draft pick, 29th overall, in 1975. The St. Catherines Black Hawks junior star was drafted ahead of the future NHL likes of Mike O'Connell, Willi Plett and Don Edwards.

But Salvian would go on to play five seasons of professional hockey, almost exclusively in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in the old Central Hockey League.

But he did get the chance to skate in his lone Stanley Cup playoff game with the Islanders in the spring of 1977. Salvian was shocked to get the call up during his own playoffs, but with a nagging injury to Islander's regular J.P. Parise Salvian was being asked to make his NHL debut in game one of the playoff series vs. Chicago.

The Islanders won that game 2-1, thanks in part to Salvian who, unlike most single game players, picked up an assist in the game. Playing on a line with Ed Westfall and Jude Drouin, Salvian helped set up Drouin's goal that tied the game at one.

“I was very nervous,” Salvian said. “I just remember (coach Al) Arbour coming in and giving the lineups and a little pep talk, and I’m thinking, ‘This is unbelievable.’ You look around the dressing room and there’s (Clark) Gillies and (Bryan) Trottier and the Potvins, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, this is it. Now’s the time.’ A thousand thoughts go through your head and you just try to focus and concentrate on every shift and every period you play and be ready when you’re out there.”

Salvian returned to the minor leagues and continued skating until 1980. After retiring from the game Salvian returned to the greater Toronto area and got into automobile sales. He advanced to sales manager of a BMW dealership in Mississauga.

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