At the conclusion of the National Hockey League’s first Expansion Draft, teams wasted little time in announcing a flurry of trades, all between the established clubs and their expansion cousins.
Pens, Rangers First to Swap
Almost immediately after player selection ended, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jack Riley took to the podium.
Riley, announced the first post-draft trade, a dea; with the New York Rangers. Penguins sent LW Larry Jeffrey to New York in exchange for forwards Paul Andrea and George Konik, defenceman Dunc McCallum and an unnamed amateur player. This deal is part of a consideration the Penguins were given by the Rangers so they would not draft Boom Boom Geoffrion.
Penguins were one of several of the expansion clubs that were interested in taking Geoffrion. Rangers general manager Emile Francis apparently managed to convince those interested teams not leave Geoffrion alone by way of transactions such as this.
Rangers Reacquire Seiling
In fact, right after the deal with the Penguins was announced, Francis said he had acquired former Ranger (former for only a few hours) Rod Seiling back from the St. Louis Blues. The Blues picked up defenceman Bob Plager, forward Gary Sabourin and two unnamed amateurs.
Seiling, who is only 23, was a key piece in the 1964 trade between New York and Toronto that saw Rangers captain Andy Bathgate move to the Maple Leafs. He’s a smooth skating defenceman with enough offensive ability that the Rangers have considered converting him to a left winger.
The man the Blues really wanted in this exchange was burly defender Bob Plager. He is a rough and tumble rearguard who relishes the rough stuff. He has two other brothers in pro hockey, Barclay and Bill.
Sabourin is an industrious winger who has spent the past three seasons in the Rangers system in the CPHL. He scored 23 goals with Omaha last year.
North Stars’ Blair Busy
Next to the podium was Minnesota North Stars general manager Wren Blair. This was the man most scribes wanted to hear from, hoping to get an explanation on the curious selection of Montreal’s Dave Balon as first skater taken. He didn’t disappoint.
But he did keep the crowd waiting by first announcing a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Blair says he has purchased the right to six players on Canada’s national team from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The six players are:
Goalie Ken Broderick
Defenceman Barry MacKenzie
Defenceman Terry O’Malley
Defenceman Gary Begg
Defenceman Paul Conlin
Centre Gary Dineen
Leafs president Stafford Smythe says that the club lost interest in the national team players when they lost 6-0 to Sweden at the World Championships.
Blair announces more North Stars transactions:
North Stars trade defenceman Bryan Watson to Montreal Canadiens for forward Leo Thiffault and defencemen Billy Plager and Barry Meissner.
North Stars also say they have purchased the contracts of centre Andre Boudrias, defenceman Mike McMahon and winger Bob Charlebois from Montreal in exchange for “past considerations.”
Blair says these transactions are part of the considerations received from Montreal in return for taking left winger Dave Balon and not selecting right winger Claude Larose with the first selection of the skater portion of the draft. There was a lot of speculation that even more of these “considerations” are still due to the North Stars.
Red Kelly Upset
Meanwhile, Toronto star Red Kelly is speaking to reporters and is expressing his shock and dismay at not being able to begin his duties as coach of the Los Angeles Kings.
Kelly is visibly upset with today’s turn of events. Kelly was reclaimed by the Maple Leafs in the 10th round of the draft when St. Louis took young defender Darryl Edestrand. Toronto’s move now prevents him from working for Los Angeles or any other NHL club other than Toronto.
Kelly told reporters that he will not take this lying down and if necessary, will go to the Prime Minister of Canada for a satisfactory resolution. Kelly was a member of the Canadian Parliament for several years.
Stafford Smythe said that during the draft he approached the Kings owner Jack Kent Cooke and offered to trade Kelly to Los Angeles if the Kings would select Bernie Geoffrion from the New York Rangers. Smythe felt that he would be able to talk Geoffrion into playing for Toronto.
Smythe reports that Cooke flatly rejected the trade offer, stating he wasn’t going to pay in order to take Kelly to coach his team.
There is little doubt that eventually Kelly will end up as coach of the Los Angeles club, but not before Toronto manages to show Jack Kent Cooke that even though he is now an NHL owner, he is definitely a junior member of that lodge.
We’ll dig a little deeper into this particular mess as rumours continue to swirl and Cooke does a slow burn.