This is Daniel Bouchard. He was an excellent goaltender in the 1970s and early 80s for various teams, including the Flames, Nords and Jets. This makes him somewhat unique in that each of the teams he played for moved (the Flames actually moved to Calgary while he was still employed by the club).
Daniel Bouchard is quite famous now as being the hero of one Patrick Roy who saw him weave some magic as a Nordique.
Bouchard’s place in NHL history was secured much earlier than that though, as he was a main player in the events that cost Boston General Manager Milt Schmidt his job in the early 1970s.
Schmidt had a problem in the summer of 1972. The expansion draft was not far away (his team went deep in the playoffs, actually they won the Stanley so they were the last man standing) and he needed to submit a protected list to the NHL. He had some major problems, there was no doubt of that. In goal alone, he had the de facto #1 in Gerry Cheevers, along with a very capable backup in Eddie Johnston. Down on the farm (Boston Braves, AHL) was the young Bouchard who put in a nice season (50gp, 2.51 4so) in hockey’s highest minor league.
Added to the pressure of the moment was the big, bad WHA and the fact that NHL teams had treated their players like dogmeat for 2,000 years. Schmidt had the most famous team on the planet and not enough money to go around. He had Orr and Phil Esposito and Johnny Bucyk and all of those players cost money, too.
So he protected Cheevers, maybe hoping Eddie Johnston would be attractive to one of the new NHL teams. Atlanta (GM: Cliff Fletcher) and the Islanders (GM: Bill Torrey) were a tad smarter than that and pulled two quality goalie prospects from the minor leagues that day (Daniel Bouchard to Atlanta, Billy Smith to the Islanders from Los Angeles).
The rest of the summer must have been a nightmare for Schmidt. Gerry Cheevers went to the WHA for money and glory, as did Derek Sanderson, Ted Green and Johnny McKenzie. He lost Eddie Westfall (a fine checking RW) in the expansion draft as well and by the time training camp came around fall 1972 it looked like some kind of weird scorched earth policy had been put in place by Bruins management.
And you know what’s really weird? Schmidt had done it before. In 1967, he protected Gerry Cheevers in hopes that one of the 6 new expansion teams would find Eddie Johnston suitable, but Philadelphia drafted Bernie Parent.
That’s a whole lotta goaltending Schmidt allowed to walk out the door. It contributed to his finally being fired, and to Boston’s falling off the pace because they didn’t have good enough goaltending. In fact, for much of the 72-73 season, minor league veteran Ross Brooks (a 35-year old rookie in 1972) was the backup goalie to Eddie Johnston. In the spring of 1973, knowing goaltending needed an upgrade, the Bruins traded for Jacques Plante. He was 44 years old at the time, played in 8 regular season and 2 playoff games for the Bruins and cost them this:
- Traded to Boston by Toronto with Toronto’s 3rd round choice (Doug Gibson) in 1973 Amateur Draft for Boston’s 1st round choice (Ian Turnbull) in 1973 Amateur Draft and future considerations (Eddie Johnston, May 22, 1973), March 3, 1973