Sunday, October 31, 2010

All-Draft Teams - 1985

It's been a while since I've done an All-Draft Team entry - so let's move on to 1985! A lot of good players joined in on this draft as well. (I didn't know that Gilmour was drafted two years earlier than Joe Nieuwendyk - didn't realize he was that much older).

Check the draft for yourself!

The first line: Randy McKay, Joe Nieuwendyk, Wendel Clark
2nd: Ulf Dahlen, Igor Larionov, Craig Simpson
3rd: Nelson Emerson, Brent Gilchrist, Benoit Hogue
4th: Randy Burridge, Robert Kron, Kelly Buchburger

D: Calle Johansson, Steve Chaisson
Eric Weinrich, Dana Murzyn
Billy Houlder, Dave Manson

G: Mike Richter
Sean Burke
Billy Randford

After the 1985 draft, it'll be almost impossible to follow it up with something that will surprise you. However, this draft wasn't particularly strong no matter who followed it, if you asked me. I had to take a few players out and put in new ones, mostly because after reviewing a popular name (like Tim Sweeney) I found out they barely played 200 games at the NHL level. So - they come out of the lineup and we put in someone a bit better. A tough draft this time around.

This team has a great first line that had incredible offensive punch, but lacked in consistency of potency throughout their careers - then the talent dwindles in the second line, dwindles significantly more into the third, and tapers into obscurity by the fourth line.

The defense was a consistent bunch of solid, strong and lengthy careers - with some success, but nothing flashy or offensive to help out the forward lines.

The goaltending is solid, though not spectacular, even though Richter was among the league's (if not the world's) best goalie for a season or two. This isn't a powerhouse, but it is definitely a stable contender through and through.

Among forwards: 11,654 games played, 2,773 goals, 3,509 assists, 6,282 points, 10,187 PIM, 812 PP goals, 432 Game Winners in the regular season.
In the playoffs, 1,120 GP, 276 goals, 324 assists, 600 points, 984 PIM and 75 PPG and 42 game-winning goals.

11 Stanley Cups, 2 All-Rookie teams, 1 Conn Smythe Trophy, 8 All-Star appearances and 1 King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

Among defensemen: 5,804 GP, 495 G, 1,670 A, 2,165 PTS, 7,226 PIM, 185, PPG, 70 GWG.
In the playoffs: 473 GP, 55 G, 125 A, 180 PTS, 753 PIM, 22 PPG, 5 GWG.

1 Stanley Cup, 3 All-Rookie Teams, 3 All-Star appearances

Among Goalies:
2,133 GP, 865 wins, 878 losses, 250 ties, 77 Shut outs
Playoffs: 167 GP, 81 W, 81 L, 14 SO

7 All-Star appearances, 3 Stanley Cups, 1 Conn Smythe Trophy.

Total: 18 All-Star appearances, 16 Stanley Cups, 5 All-Rookie teams, 2 Conn Smythes, 1 King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

The first line of Dhalen, Nieundyk and Clark would have been strong, feisty and dangerous, for sure. A lot of heart and determination in those three guys. The next line has some incredible depth with McKay, Larionov and the second overall pick in Simpson on deck. Yet after this, the third and fourth lines are a bit weak and are absent of star-power. This is more of a Brian Burke team, with top six forwards on the first two lines, and then bottom six forwards on the bottom two lines - however, this is supposed to be an 'all-star' team from this particular year's draft - so not too impressive.

The defense was sturdy and long-lived. Lots of games played for long NHL careers in guys like Johansson (1,109) Weinrich (1,157), Manson (1,103) rounding off the top. No, they weren't flashy super-stars, but they were salty tough fellahs on the back end, which is fine.

There is a real surprise deep in this draft, and I'll explain after the jump.

Draft numbers from 1982:
  • W. Clark (1)
  • C. Simpson (2)
  • D. Murzyn (5)
  • U. Dahlen (7)
  • D. Manson (11)
  • C. Johansson (14)
  • J. Nieuwendyk (21)
  • S. Burke (24)
  • M. Richter (28)
  • E. Weinrich (32)
  • B. Hogue (35)
  • N. Emerson (44)
  • S. Chaisson (50)
  • B. Ranford (52)
  • B. Gilchrist (79)
  • B. Houlder (82)
  • R. Kron (88)
  • R. McKay (113)
  • R. Burridge (157)
  • K. Buchburger (188)
  • I. Larionov (214)
So here we've got Igor Larionov (one of the greatest players from the USSR and the Soviet league, drafted near the bottom of the draft. Only Vancouver had the guts to take a chance on him. Now, it would be my guess that North American leagues would be cautious in drafting a Russia because it would be unlikely that the players could transfer away from the USSR, right?

But Larionov had at least five years of pro hockey under his belt - he was a super player who (if he made himself eligible for the NHL draft) was at least interested in joining the NHL. Why wouldn't someone have selected him sooner on the off chance that he MIGHT make it to the NHL and be great? Why should James Jr. Sandlak (4), Brad Dalgarno (6), Craig Duncanson (9) and Dan Gratton (10) be drafted in the first round?

Then again, if you KNEW that such a quality player wouldn't be selected until the 8th round, I guess you can afford to wait a few rounds before picking him. Oh well, another mystery of the league for every team to not use him that could have used him.

I feel like the '84 team is just too unbalanced, but you can't argue with supreme star power of that first line and in net. You just can't. I gotta rank this team higher than '82 and '81.

(1) 1983
(2) 1984
(3) 1982
(4) 1985
(5) 1981

Player of the Draft:
My "Player of the Draft" from 1985 is: Joe Nieuwendyk. What an incredible record: he was named to the all-rookie team in '88, won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in '95, the Conn Smythe Trophy in '99, had 4 All-Star appearances, and the greatest achievement is winning three Stanley Cups with three different teams (in three different decades, if you can believe it!). All while maintaining a sterling reputation around the league through his whole career (plus 14 game winning goals in the playoffs, pretty awesome).

Honorable mentions go to Igor Larionov, Wendel Clark and Mike Richter.

Notes of Interest from this draft
One of the players on this list, Steve Chaisson, died in a drunk driving collision after the Hurricanes were eliminated from the playoffs. As Wikipedia says:
On May 3, 1999, after the Hurricanes were eliminated from the playoffs in Boston and returned to Raleigh, Chiasson wrecked his pickup truck on the way home from a team party at the home of Gary Roberts and was killed on impact. According to teammate Kevin Dineen, Chiasson refused to call a taxi or accept a ride home, insisting on driving himself despite a blood alcohol content later found to be 0.27, over three times North Carolina's legal limit of 0.08. Chiasson was survived by his wife, Susan, and three young children: Michael, Ryan and Stephanie. There is a small statue and plaque in his memory in Millennium Park, Peterborough, Ontario, the town where he was raised.
I'll have to go check that memorial out some time next time I'm in Peterborough (on Wednesday, believe it or not - I'll try and snag a picture and link to it).

Also, a Maple Leafs connection to this draft that isn't Wendel Clark: Paul Maurice, one time head coach of both the minor league and major league versions of the Maple Leafs, has the dubious distinction of being drafted last by the Flyers in this draft. Cute.

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