Draft Horror Stories From the Past

When our first choice came, one player available was Laurie Boschman. He’d played with Brandon, centering a line with Brian Propp and Ray Allison on the wings.

Even though Boschman was the center, I said “Propp got all the goals. I think we should go with the goal scorers.” But the scouts said Boschman did all the work and was the smart one on the line. I’d been in that situation in Buffalo once, picking a kid named Claude Deziel who had scored a lot in junior on a line centered by Pierre Larouche. Later, Deziel never played in the NHL. Larouche did, and scored plenty. So when the Leafs scouts told me Boschman was the guy who made their line work, I had to think of Larouche.

“Can he skate?” I asked.

“Good skater,” they said.

So that’s how Boschman was taken and when you figure Propp got 34 goals for Philadelphia and Boschman got 16 for the the Leafs maybe we were wrong in the choice.

-Punch Imlach, Heaven and Hell in the NHL

Scouts don’t get to write history, and those who do (the General Managers and coaches) make a horrible mess. A few things about the quote above:

  • That item above is lifted directly, save for a small punctuation change to make more sense of the first two sentences.
  • “Claude Deziel” didn’t get drafted in 1974 by Buffalo, but Michel Deziel did get picked 47th overall. Pierre Larouche went 8th, three slots before Buffalo picked the first time. Imlach was just making stuff up, Larouche was never available to the Sabres.
  • He did get one thing right: the Leafs blew it. Boschman was taken 9th overall, in front of Propp, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Michel Goulet, Neal Broten, John Ogrodnick, Thomas Steen, Mats Naslund, Guy Carbonneau and a bunch of others who had better careers.

Is there a lesson here for scouts? Sure. Get it right, or become famous enough to write your own book. Chances are the Steve Tambellini version of the story will see the light of day before Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor is asked the question.

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