Thursday, June 24, 2010

A serious look at the Wild's upcoming draft

And by serious, I mean completely, utterly not serious at all. In fact, it may be a new low for me, which I'm pretty excited about.

You see, it turns out the Minnesota Wild have the 69th pick in the draft this year. And being a 12 year old boy at heart (except for poop humor. I hate poop humor. Farts? Dicks? Yes. Poop? No.) this spoke to me.

Of course, I am also a grown-up and know that the ol' 69 is preposterously overhyped. I mean, how can you enjoy what's happening down there, when you're face is busy? I'm of the opinion you just gotta go all in on that stuff.

But the real purpose of this post is to salute the 69th picks through the years and see how they fared. Big time props to HockeyDB.com for making this just stupid easy. Here's a fun fact I discovered in my research: 1969 was the first year there even WAS a 69th pick. So, you know, that's synergy right there.

If anybody has more on any of these guys, throw it in the comments. And yes, it's a long post, and yes, you're lazy/busy/ADD-addled, but this is hockey history here! Impress your friends with your bizarre knowledge of all the NHL's 69th draft picks! Great party trick, I promise.

1969 - Jim Jones (Boston) - The smallish defenseman never played for the Bruins but bounced around the minors all but 2 games of his 7 year professional career. Those two NHL games were with the California Golden Seals.
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1970 - Bob Roselle (Boston) - What is with the Bruins? Anyway, this lanky center never played in the NHL, but he scored pretty consistently in the minors during his 5-6 years playing. Top year was with the CHL Tulsa Oilers when he racked up 57 points.
1971 - Fraser Robertson (NY Rangers) - Another small defenseman, Robertson only played pro for two seasons and never made it out of the minors.
1972 - Gillies Gratton (Buffalo) - Hey! We have a winner! Goalie Gratton played 4 years in the minors before finally playing 6 games with St. Louis and then a full season with the Rangers, but then with just one game the following year in the AHL, he was done.Also, he was a crazy mofo. Dig it!
1973 - John Flesch (Atlanta) - Ohhh, Mister Fancy Pants Left Wing has 124 NHL games, though the majority of his career was in the minors. But he was a scoring mofo, averaging a point per game nearly every year. Surprised the Aeros haven't brought him in for the playoffs...
1974 - Mike McKegney (Montreal) - He didn't play very long but Mike won the lottery for playing for teams with interesting names: Beauce Jaros, San Francisco Shamrocks, and Petrolia Squires. Beauce and Petorlia were in the LotRHL. You wit me, geeks?
1975 - Andre Leduc (Los Angeles) -  The big defenseman only played 3 seasons, all in the IHL, CHL, and AHL.
1976 - Rocky Maze (Buffalo) - Yikes. Try again, Sabres. Only 19 games as a professional left wing. Great name though.
1977 - Steve Stoyanovich (NY Islanders) - Shame about Stevie, cuz he could seriously score. He had a point per game in 4.5 seasons in the minors and Europe and about half that in 23 games with Hartford..
1978 - Kevin Reeves (Montreal) - Reeves had two 100+ point seasons with Muskegon in the IHL where he spent 5 years. His scoring dwindled the final two years and that was it.

So, here's where it changes from an Amateur Draft to an Entry Draft and the success rate increases quite a bit:
1979 - Glenn Anderson (Edmonton) - How does 1129 NHL games sound? 11 years with Edmonton, 3 with the Rangers. Oh yeah, and in the Hall of Fame. And had his number retired by the Oilers. Quite a leap in the status of 69th picks, eh?
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1980 - Jari Kurri (Edmonton) - Okay, now 69th pick is just being obnoxious. First Finnish player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, GM of Team Finland, blah blah blah. Show off.
1981 - Terry Tait (Minnesota) - Phew, I was thinking this was gonna be all hall of famers at 69th. Nope, Tait never played in the NHL and only 5 years pro.
1982 - John DeVoe (Montreal) - Yikes. Played 4 years of college and then nothing. John DeVoe! What happened?
1983 - Bob Essensa (Winnipeg) - Goalie Bob spent most of his career with the Jets and Oilers, and has been the Bruins goalie coach (though I understand it's somewhat part time) since 2003.
1984 - Tom Glavine (LA Kings) - You probably recognize the name, not for hockey but for a long, successful baseball career. He was drafted both by the NHL and MLB (Braves, 2nd round). He's quoted as saying he chose baseball over hockey because he wanted to keep his teeth. But the hockey gods being the pranksters they are, Glavine lost two teeth in a car accident in 2004. He does have one professional game to his name, however, as he "played" one game with the Gwinnett Gladiators as the honorary starting center in a charity appearance.
1985 - Mike Berger (Minnesota) - Berger, a defenseman, played 30 NHL games with the North Stars but spent most of his long career in the minors, including a long stint with the Tulsa Oilers near the end of his playing days. Seems like he was a bit of a tough guy with a bit of scoring touch, so you can see why he was a valuable player in the minors. In his last season with the Oilers, he had 60 points and 93 PIM.
1986 - Kent Hulst (Toronto) - Kent was nearly a point per game center in the AHL from 1989-2001, spending 8 of those seasons with the Portland Pirates, but never played an NHL game. He was particularly fired up in 1995-96, when he had 99 points and 152 PIM in 99 games (including playoffs). Pirates lost in the finals that season.
1987 - Mike Sullivan (NY Rangers) - The centerman played 709 games in the NHL with San Jose, Calgary, and Phoenix. After his playing career, he was head coach of the Bruins for 2 unspectacular years and saw his career come full circle when he served as an assistant coach for the Rangers this season.
1988 - Ted Crowley (Toronto) - The defenseman played 14 seasons, but boy did he get around, playing for 19 teams in that time, including my Aeros. Holy crap. My favorite? Essen Mosquitoes
1989 - Allain Roy (Winnipeg) - The highlight of his goaltending career must have been winning an Olympic silver medal with Canada, but now he's a player agent and president/CEO of CMG Sports.
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1990 - Jeff Nielsen (NY Rangers) - Nielsen had a heck of a run with Binghamton in his first 3 years as a pro, steadily rising from 30+ points to 50+ points. But once he got into the NHL, that touch seemed lost, though he played 252 games in the show. His final season, he was picked up by Minnesota in the expansion draft.
1991 - Terry Chitaroni (Toronto) - The unfortunately-named Chitaroni (his nickname was "The San Francisco Treat"*) played well at the AA and European levels but couldn't really get it going in the AHL. *totally lying about that nickname
1992 - Jeff Connolly (Vancouver) - I kinda like this guy's story. He's all over the map. A year in college (BC), a year in Junior, 3 years in the ECHL where he played a whopping 58 games and then left the game in 1997. But then in 2001 he pops up with the ECHL Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (love that) and plays 13 games. Why not? Now he's a hockey instructor in the northeast.
1993 - Patrick Boileau (Washington) - Boileau was an offensive defenseman with a fairly long career, though most of it was in the minors. He spent 7 years in the Caps system, mainly with Portland in the AHL. He had a total of 48 NHL games and spent the final 4 years of his career in Europe before retiring in 2008.
1994 - Rumun Ndur (Buffalo) - Ndur, a big (6'2", 244) bruising defenseman, is the first ever Nigerian to play in the NHL. Another fun fact? Ndur played exactly 69 games in the NHL. More synergy! He was a tough SOB, too, and one season later in his career with the Danbury Thrashers in the UHL, he had 289 PIM in 46 games. That's over 6 PIM per game! Stick taps to Chris Jerina for finding this gem: Check out the penalty to Gretzky.
1995 - Sergei Gusev (Dallas) - Gusev is a Russian defenseman who played in the minors for a number of seasons, then broke into the NHL here and there to rack up 89 games. But in 2001, he headed back to the motherland and has been there ever since, playing just this past season with St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL.
1996 - Curtis Tipler (Tampa Bay) - Tipler, a right wing, put up quite nice numbers in junior and decent ones in his rookie season in the UHL with Rockford, but that was it for him. Guys like that, I really wonder why they left the game.
1997 - Maxim Afinoginov (Buffalo) - This speedy Russian winger spent 9 seasons playing for the Sabres. Would have been 10 if not for the lockout. His production waned near the end, so Buffalo sent him out into the world as a free agent. Atlanta snatched him up for a mere $800k and putting up 61 points, he was a helluva steal for the Thrashers. Taps to Jerina again for reminding me of this story about Max dropping in on a pick-up game when he was getting ready for Worlds. Great stuff.
1998 - Jamie Hodson (Toronto) - Hodson, a goalie, retired in 2008, but consistent with the Maple Leafs' luck in goal, he didn't play much outside of the ECHL.
1999 - Rene Vydareny (Vancouver) - The Slovakian defenseman spent 4 years playing pro in North America, mainly with the Manitoba Moose, but has been playing in the Czech Republic since the lockout.
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2000 - Ben Knopp (Columbus) - Knopp, a forward, spent  his pro time in the ECHL and AHL before heading to Europe for a couple of years before retiring.
2001 - Joel Stepp (Anaheim) - Stepp never played in the NHL, but if there's money to be made in moving allowances, he racked it up. He only played 5 years professionally (and 5 years in junior... is that even allowed?) but played for 9 teams during that time, and 2005-06 alone played for 4 teams. Appears he was one of these star crossed guys who was bit by the injury bug a good chunk of time.
2002 - Erik Christensen (Pittsburgh) - Talk about a guy who gets traded a lot, but unlike most guys, he's still hanging in there in the show. In 6 seasons, the centerman has played for 6 teams and played last season for the Rangers after he as traded to Anaheim from Atlanta and then placed on waivers.
2003 - Colin Fraser (Philadelphia) - Ironically, Fraser was drafted by the Flyers but just won a cup with a little team called the Chicago Blackhawks. I'd say things have worked out pretty well for him. Though he looks like he gets Botox in his forehead. Am I right?
2004 - Casey Borer (Carolina) - The Minnesota-bred defenseman is still working his way up from the AHL, but has 16 NHL games with Carolina under his belt so far, so it appears it's just a matter of time before he sticks.
2005 - Gord Baldwin (Calgary) - God, I love Canadians named Gord. It's just so Canadian, that name. Anyway, he's a baby still and playing for Abbotsford. No games with Calgary yet.
2006 - Steve Mason (Columbus) - Boom. Well, kinda boom. He stole Clutterbuck's Calder Trophy in his rookie season, but he didn't blow the doors off the joint his sophomore season. He's got time though and he's in a good market to come along patiently.
2007 - Maxime Tanguay (Chicago) - Tanguay spent most of the season with the Toledo Walleye in the ECHL. Toledo. Man. Minor league hockey is so fucking glamorous. Anyway, he's Alex Tanguay's brother and here's a great article about him and how he almost didn't end up turning pro.
2008 - Michael Stone (Phoenix) - Stone, a big offensive defenseman, just wrapped up his junior career, so we're likely gonna have to put up with him in San Antonio next season. Man, the kid really racked up points in the WHL though.
2009 - Reilly Smith (Dallas) - Smith was a freshman at Cold Miami this past season. He's super duper skinny and was born on April Fool's Day.
2010 - ? (Minnesota) - All we can do at this point is hope for a guy with a great innuendo-riffic name. I doubt Emerson Etem will fall that far, but he'd be a great 69th pick. Goalies seem to have the most 69-worthy names though: Tyler Bunz, Scott Wedgewood, and Sean Bonar. No wonder those poor boys ended up between the pipes.

Regardless, Minnesota, you have a legacy to uphold! Okay, not really. But I DO really wanna make a lewd joke about being right on top of that 69th position Friday night Saturday afternoon. But I'm afraid I'll end up in jail.

Enjoy the draft!

11 comments:

buddhafisch  June 24, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

My only question is this: how tempted were you to type an "n" into Terry Tait's name to make it fit with the post just that much better?

Ms. Conduct  June 24, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

I THOUGHT it every single time I saw his name. Terry Taint. Terry Taint. Terry Taint!!! Phew. I feel better.

Rhett  June 24, 2010 at 12:40 PM  

69th pick will happen Saturday. Just sayin.
Brilliant post!

Ms. Conduct  June 24, 2010 at 12:48 PM  

Awww, nuts, thanks for catching that.

Anonymous  June 24, 2010 at 1:35 PM  

this post required me to open TWO windows to cut and paste my observations...and also give me time to wipe away the tears from withholding the laughter here at work..(damn government workers and their sexual harrassment laws!)

Bob Roselle (Boston) - he SCORED pretty consistently in the minors during his 5-6 years playing.

John Flesch (C'MON WHAT A NAME FOR THE 69th PICK!) he was a scoring mofo

Steve Stoyanovich Shame about Stevie, cuz he could seriously score

Mike Berger Seems like he was a bit of a tough guy with a bit of scoring touch

Ted Crowley (Toronto) - The defenseman played 14 seasons, but boy did he get around

i think you could change the title to "puck bunnies and players" and not have to change the entire story very much...

i dont know if it was intentional or by just having the whole 69 thing on the brain (ok, so thrust to the forward part of the brain..he he thrust), but i LOVE hockey and its "terms"...
You made my day with this...

Moose

5-hole.com  June 24, 2010 at 6:14 PM  

Isn't Terry Tait the office linebacker?

Ms. Conduct  June 24, 2010 at 6:17 PM  

Ha! No, that's Terry Tate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Tate

artandhockey  June 25, 2010 at 9:58 AM  

You did some good reasearch there. Of courese some is over my head,as relative newby to Wild scenes.

FinnAEEER!  June 30, 2010 at 2:32 AM  

"Some people believe that Gratton would growl at opposing players on the ice and once hissed like a cat during a fight."
http://www.hometownhockeyheroes.com/images/Sale%20Images/Goalie%20Masks/Gilles%20Gratton%20Tiger.jpg

Cool!

FinnAAAAAR  June 30, 2010 at 2:40 AM  

I think the people in Minnesota didn't appreciate your dirty 69 joke and got rid of the pick, on the other hand Florida is going down in flames with such immoral behaviour.

FinnR  June 30, 2010 at 2:45 AM  

Kurri was drafted so low because all the other teams thought that he had signed a long deal with the Finnish National Team.
Only Oilers knew that he hadn't and was available to come over.

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