We now move into the final five rounds of this historic Expansion Draft. Players being taken at this stage are, shall we say, not quite household names, a lot of general managers are heard at their tables asking “Who’s that guy?”
79. PIT: Billy Dea, RW, CHI. Age 34. Slightly built winger has always been a prolific minor-league scorer. In 66-67 with Buffalo was 25-39-64. Played 2 games with CHI last season as well. CHI filled with Mike Chernoff.
80. LAK: Lowell MacDonald, RW, TOR. Plagued throughout his brief career by knee problems, he’s a good scorer when healthy. Put up 14-17-31 in only 33 games with Tulsa in 66-67. Scored the game-winning goal for Hamilton in 1962 Memorial Cup vs Edmonton. Was also First-team OHA Jr A All-star RW in 61-62. Won Max Kaminsky Trophy as OHA Most Gentlemanly Player that season. TOR filled with Norm Armstrong.
81. PHI: Pat Hannigan, RW, CHI. Age 31. Spent past 3 seasons with AHL Buffalo, was 18-38-56 last season. Began his career with TOR, was traded to NYR in 1960 in deal that sent Eddie Shack to Leafs. Always popular with team mates wherever he goes. CHI filled with Roger Bellerive.
82. STL: Fred Hucul, D, TOR. Age 35. Played only 13 games with Victoria in 66-67 (3-6-9) due to severe back injury. Has been First-team All-star in WHL four times. TOR filled with Bronco Horvath.
83. MIN: Bill Collins, C, NYR. Played with Baltimore Clippers in 66-67 (20-18-38). Started with TOR organization, went to NYR in 1964 trade that saw Andy Bathgate & Don McKenney move to Leafs. NYR filled with George Konik.
84. CAL: Ron Boehm, RW, NYR. Age 23. Played with Vancouver in 66-67 (18-24-42) and was WHL rookie-of-the-year. NYR filled with Dunc McCallum.
Round 15 contains more of the same types of players as the previous one. However, one selection caused a bit of a stir, thanks to the dramatics of California Seals general manager Rudy Pilous:
85. LAK: Ken Block, D, NYR. Age 23. Spent most of 66-67 with Vancouver (8-22-30). Not considered a great prospect, but has some defensive skill and a decent shot from the point. NYR filled with Bob Jones.
86. PHI: Dwight Carruthers, D, DET. Age 23. Played 29 games with San Diego in 66-67 (2-3-5). Suffered a gruesome injury this past march when his left ear was almost severed by Tommy McVie’s skate. DET filled with Gary Marsh.
87. STL: John Brenneman, LW, TOR. Age 24. Spent most of 66-67 with TOR (6-4-10 in 41 games). Also had 13 points in 13 games with Rochester. Won Memorial Cup with St. Catharines in 1960. First-team CPHL All-star in 63-64. TOR filled with Les Duff.
88. MIN: Sandy Fitzpatrick, C, NYR. Age 22. Bothered by injuries since turning pro, he played 49 games for Omaha in 66-67 (7-19-26). Had 100 points for Kitchener in 64-65 and was considered a can’t-miss prospect at that time. NYR filled with Ross Blackburn.
89. CAL: Alain Caron, CHI. Age 29.Seals GM Rudy Pilous got everyone’s attention when he slowly announced the pick starting with Caron’s nickname “Boom Boom“. As Pilous paused, everyone thought the Seals were taking a chance on New York’s Bernie Geoffrion, who said he would retire rather than play with an expansion club. There was a collective sigh when Pilous completed the pick with Caron’s name. Caron was with Portland last year, had 35-25-60. Led AHL in goals with 47 in 65-66 with Buffalo. Led CPHL in scoring in 63-64 (77-48-125). Has the nickname Boom Boom because of his big shot. CHI filled with Al LeBrun.
90. PIT: Bobby Rivard, RW, MTL. Age 27. Was a high scorer in the IHL (leading scorer in 65-66) before moving up to AHL Quebec Aces last year (22-40-62), where he was AHL rookie-of-the-year. With their protected list now back at 18 skaters, Montreal did not fill.
91. PHI: Bob Courcy, C, MTL. Played last 3 seasons with Cleveland Barons, 32-28-60 in 66-67. Set an EPHL record with 12 goals in 9 straight games in 1960. Traded to Chicago Black Hawks by Montréal Canadiens in 1960 with Reg Fleming, Cec Hoekstra and Ab McDonald for Bob Bailey, Terry Gray, Glen Skov and option on Dan Lewicki,
92. STL: Gerry Melnyk, C, CHI. Age 32. Played with St. Louis Braves in 66-68 (24-47-71). Won AHL Calder Cup with Buffalo in 1963. CHI filled with Oscar Gaudet.
93. MIN: Parker MacDonald, LW, DET. Age 34. Spent most of 66-67 with Pittsburgh (16-30-46 in 59 GP). Also played 16 games with DET (3-5-8). Had 33 goals for Red Wings in 1962-63. DET filled with Rick McCann.
94. CAL: Mike Laughton, C, TOR. Age 22. Played 62 games with Victoria in 66-67, his first pro season. TOR filled with Barry Watson.
95. PIT: Mel Pearson, LW, CHI. Age 29. Played with LA Blades in 66-67 (17-45-62). Played 36 games for NYR in parts of four seasons. CHI filled with Jack Stanfield.
96. LAK: Bill Flett, RW, TOR. Age 23. With Tulsa in 66-67, scored 16-28-44 in 62 GP. Known as a bit of a free spirit, possesses a good shot but is poor defensively. TOR filled with Stan Smrke.
97. STL: Gary Veneruzzo, LW, TOR. Age 24. Was with Tulsa for most of 66-67 (21-25-46 in 59 GP). TOR filled with Milan Marcetta.
98. MIN: Billy Taylor, C, CHI. Age 24. With Buffalo in 66-67 was 9-26-35. CHI filled with Brian MacDonald.
99. CAL: Bryan Hextall Jr., C, NYR. Age 26. Was with Vancouver in 66-67. (14-42-56). Son of former NYR great Bryan Hextall Sr. NYR filled with Bob Ash.
100. PIT: Andy Bathgate, DET. Age 34. One of the all-time greats, spent most of last season with DET (8-23-31). Won Stanley Cup with TOR in 1964. DET filled with Barry Billows.
101. LAK: Brent Hughes, D, DET. Spent most of 66-67 with Memphis, 3-15-18 in 52 GP. DET filled with Nick Libett.
102. PHI: Keith Wright, LW, BOS. Age 23, split season between California Seals and Oklahoma City. Regarded as a good 2-way winger in junior but hasn’t found his game in the pros. BOS filled with Wayne Maxner.
The 18th and final round of the skater draft began nearly 2 hours ahead of all estimates of how long the draft would take. Pickings are pretty slim at this point:
103. MIN: Dave Richardson, LW, CHI. Age 26. 13-35-48 with Buffalo in 66-67. Was rookie-of-the-year in IHL in 1961-62. CHI filled with Dick Meissner.
104. CAL: Gary Kilpatrick, D, CHI. Played with LA Blades in 66-67 (1-13-14 in 61 GP). CHI filled with Ross Eichler.
105. PIT: Les Hunt, D, NYR. Played for Vancouver in 66-67 (1-17-18 in 69 games). NY filled with Billy Knibbs.
106. LAK: Marc Dufour, LW, NYR. Age 25. Played with Vancouver in 66-67 (19-17-36). Led MJHL in goals with 37 in 33 games in 61-62. NYR filled with Ron Ingram.
107. STL: Max Mestinsek, C, NYR. Age 23. Played for Omaha in 66-67 (25-22-47). NYR filled with Gord Vejprava.
108. PHI: Terry Ball, D, NYR. Was with Omaha in 66-67, played 70 games, 5-15-20. Won 1964 Allan Cup with Winnipeg Maroons. NYR filled with Wayne Hall.
And thus ends the most active day of player movement in sports history. One hundred and twenty hockey players drafted from the established NHL teams at a cost of $100,000 each. Did the new teams get value for their money? Check back in with us in about a year on that.
Tomorrow we return with the immediate aftermath of the draft – lots of trades and more on the Red Kelly affair. This day isn’t over by a long shot!