This is a fascinating photo for all kinds of reasons.
First, the crowd. An adult male (second row, in the awful suit and 1975 haircut) appears to be the only person not paying attention to the play!
Hey! Dummy! The NUN is following the play! Blondie looks like she’s about to be physically ill because of something on the ice, and another woman (next to nun) is standing UP because there’s something happening! Boy next to her looks pensive, and then we have Efrem Zimbalist Jr himself who is staring at a stanchion.
Okay, the players. I don’t know the St. Louis player on the ice although I believe it to be Brian Lavender (seriously). Anyway, the player I’m interested in talking about now is the guy in the Seals uniform, Stan Gilbertson.
Stan Gilbertson turned pro in 1965. He played 375 games in the high minors before the Seals took him from the Bruins in the IL draft that summer. The Seals actually took THREE left wingers that day: Gilbertson, Frank Hughes and Wayne Carleton (who also played a lot of center).
Stan Gilbertson scored 31 goals in the AHL for the Hershey Bears in 70-71 and that got him drafted by Oakland. The Bruins had so much depth at left wing that they could have dressed another team and not gotten to Gilbertson (Bucyk, Cashman, Marcotte, Carleton, Garnet Bailey and they traded for Mike Walton) during the era when 3 lines (plus two extra forwards) were the only guys who dressed for a game.
Gilbertson had a career. Not a huge one, 428 games and 85 goals. If not for the Intra-League Draft this guy may never have seen the light of day. With the IL draft (and waiver draft) long gone, it is probable there are NHL-worthy players in the minors, in Russia, in the pressbox, who could help a major league team.
If the NHL was more interested in putting the best possible product on the ice, they might adopt rules similar to baseball’s Rule V draft. The aim of that draft is to prevent teams from stockpiling too many young players who are of big league calibre and would surely find employment on other MLB teams. It also forces trades because it is (and has been) effective in its goal.
Using baseball as a rule of thumb, I’d suggest the NHL adopt the following rules:
- exemption for draft picks for 3 years after player is drafted.
- exemption for minor league signings for 1 year after player is signed.
- Total player exemption: 20.
That includes junior players, Europeans, college kids, everyone on a team’s list of signed or drafted players. Using Edmonton as an example, this summer’s list might have looked like this:
- G-Roloson, Deslauriers
- D-Pitkanen, Staios, Greene, Gresbeshkov, Smid, Gilbert
- C-Horcoff, Stoll, Reasoner, Pouliot
- L-Torres, Sanderson, Moreau, Jacques
- R-Hemsky, Nilsson, Pisani, Brodziak
This list excludes free agents like Souray, Penner, Tarnstrom and Garon. Grebeshkov is included in the list because he would be Oilers property after the Bergeron trade despite not being signed. Any European player drafted or traded for who is not covered by the draft and minor league signing restrictions as listed above would be eligible.
NOTE: If I’ve forgotten someone, that’s fine. The idea isn’t to make this list bullet proof, but instead to make a point. Also ineligible would be anyone drafted 2004 to 2006 and then of course free agents.
However, college kids, juniors and Euro’s not covered by the rules above would be eligible. The list of eligibles:
- Patrick Thoresen
- Mathieu Roy
- Zack Stortini
- Alexei Mikhnov
- Colin McDonald
- Mikael Zhoukov
- Kalle Olsson
- David Rohlfs
- Dragan Umicevic
- Jozef Hrabel
- Troy Bodie
- Jesse Niinimaki
- Brock Radunske
- Jonas Almtorp
- Glenn Fisher
- Mikko Luoma
- Patrick Murphy
- Fredrik Johansson
Then draft in reverse order to last season’s standings. Do it on draft weekend before the Entry Draft. A team selecting a player would obviously have to drop a player from their roster who goes back into the pool.
- The Stan Gilbertson’s of the world get to play in the show
- Fans don’t have to watch “showcase” games
- The Dick Tarnstrom’s of the world don’t get screwed over because of #2.