THE GREAT EXPANSION VOL 5

History tells us the Chicago Blackhawks won Stanley in 1961 and then pissed away the decade. The truth? They never had enough depth to contend with the big clubs. Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita were as good as anyone through the 60s, but the support group was never strong enough. Chicago boasted several impact players, but Montreal brought 9 forwards and 4 defensemen who were all well above average. Chicago never had it, not after 1961.

 

One of the things this series reminds us of is just how strong the two Canadian teams were during the original 6 era. Boston, Chicago and New York were second class, with only Detroit among the American teams reaching great success 1942-67.

There isn’t a lot interesting about Chicago’s expansion draft, but there is a phenomenal story about how they recovered from the Phil Esposito trade and found a talent stream that few were using effectively. More on that later.

 

The Hawks said goodbye to Glenn Hall at the expansion draft. He was playing about as well as the younger man (Denis DeJordy) and I expect GM Tommy Ivan did what most would have done: set free the older gent. Hall would play 140 more NHL games, DeJordy 231. The second goalie lost (Roy Edwards) would make the NHL in 67-68 at age 30 and play 236 more games–more than either Hall or DeJordy.

Chicago’s pullback–Dave Dryden–would play 191 NHL and 242 WHA games–and win the final WHA Player of the year award.

 THE ‘CUPBOARD IS BARE’ TEAM

CHICAGO’S PULLBACKS

  1. Eric Nesterenko 324
  2. Wayne Maki 246
  3. Matt Ravlich 223
  4. Paul Terbenche 189
  5. Doug Shelton 5
  6. Wayne Smith 0
  7. Mike Chernoff 1
  8. Roger Bellerive 0
  9. Al Lebrun 0
  10. Oscar Gaudet 0
  11. Jack Stanfield 0
  12. Brian McDonald 12
  13. Dick Meissner 0
  14. Ross Eichler 0
  15. Geoff Powis 2

The Hawks just didn’t have that much talent in their system. They pulled back the only real NHL player aside from Van Impe (who was plucked right off the top by the Flyers) and then it was kids and old men. The NHL games total (1,002) of the pullbacks trails Toronto by over 700, but I don’t think you can fault Ivan. Chicago didn’t have the horses. The Blackhawks did have tragedy, though. The Wayne Maki story would be an example.

 

SET FREE

  1. Ed Van Impe 639
  2. Lou Angotti 469
  3. Wally Boyer 277
  4. John Miszuk 190
  5. Len Lunde 27
  6. Bill Hay 0
  7. Art Stratton 70
  8. Elmer Vasko 145
  9. Murray Hall 126
  10. Tracy Pratt 580
  11. Pat Hannigan 72
  12. Billy Dea 251
  13. Alain Caron 60
  14. Mel Pearson 2
  15. Gerry Melnyk 73

Chicago gave up a total of 2,983 NHL games. Van Impe and Pratt were tough defensive defensemen and Angotti and Boyer had some talent but this is not a good group of players. Hay had retired and couldn’t be talked out of it, Melnyk lasted a season and was forced to retire due to injury and Vasko had been out of the league for a year on draft day.

NHL GAMES PLAYED BY THOSE ‘SET FREE’

  1. Boston 6,933
  2. Toronto 4,439
  3. Montreal 3,801
  4. Chicago 2,983

We’ll add in the two final teams and then I’ll post the pullback totals in the final installment of this segment. Chicago lost Van Impe, Angotti and Boyer. Beyond that, I don’t think there’s much they couldn’t have found readily available in the minors.

 

 WHAT SAVED THE BLACKHAWKS?

Several things saved the Hawks from a downturn. Some of their sponsor players emerged from US college–specifically Denver. Keith Magnuson (in photo) and Cliff Koroll were both on the 1968 team and Magnuson hung around for another season and then came right to the NHL. Denver won the NCAA championships in 1968 and 1969.

 

Second, Sam Pollock made a rare miscue when leaving Tony Esposito exposed in the 1969 Intra-League draft. Legend has it Esposito’s butterly style made Claude Ruel nervous (or, more nervous might be more to the point), and Chicago got their goaltender for a song.

 

Also, Ivan made some adept moves (acquiring Bill White in a trade for Gilles Marotte, and picking up Jim Pappin for a spent Pierre Pilote). Mikita and Bobby Hull were still top flight NHL players into the early 70s, and the supporting cast got them to the finals a couple of times.

Finally, a note on the previous thread and the Phil Espostio-Pit Martin trade. Although several comments expressed that the trade was not as lopsided as some estimate, I’ll leave you with this: in the 8 years after the trade, Phil Esposito scored 453 goals, Martin 193. Pit Martin was a fine player, Phil Esposito was something else again.

Up next: the ‘sponsorship’ system and why it killed New York City every damn year–until 1966.

 

 CLIFF KOROLL

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11 Responses to "THE GREAT EXPANSION VOL 5"

  1. Mr DeBakey says:

    and picking up Jim Pappin for a spent Pierre Pilote

    Punch Imlach strikes again!

    1. Eric Nesterenko 324

    Studs Terkel was long-time a radio man in Chicago, best known for his interviews.
    He interviewed everybody & anybody.
    CKUA ran the Studs Terkel show on Sunday evenings for years – terrific radio.

    Terkel published a few books which featured his interviews transcribed.
    One is called “Working” – conversations with farmers, priests, welders, yacht salesmen, hookers and one hockey player – Eric Nesterenko.

    The transcriber [and editor too] were working without maps apparently,
    the Nesterenko piece opens “I lived in a small mining town in Canada, a God-forsaken place called Flinflan.”

    Playing for the Flinflan Bombers, I presume.

  2. blackdog says:

    Didn’t Bobby Clarke play his junior in Flinflan? Or was that Flimflam?

  3. Lowetide says:

    If anyone in this thread calls Nesterenko Blane Youngblood I’ll lose it. LOSE IT!

  4. blackdog says:

    ‘Everything was fine in Flinflan until Blane went and got cancer’ Bob Clarke

  5. alice13 says:

    Not sure I’ve seen anyone mention it, but it would bear repeating: Nice job on the quantity and quality of old-time pics in this series. Awesome stuff.

    (This morning’s blonde was not too shabby either. Original six, I presume)

  6. Lowetide says:

    God, that was an awful thing for him to say. Do you think Clarke has tourettes? or brain damage? He speaks very slowly now and he’s not that old (he’d be 63 or so without looking).

    “We never told Roger to get cancer” and then kicking Flin Flon squarely in the nuts? Man. Hes going to have a few more before they don’t let him in front of the cameras too, even tsn drags him out once in awhile.

  7. blackdog says:

    Don’t know LT. He certainly isn’t shy about speaking his mind. They’re doing a 40 year reunion for the 72 series and he’s one of the only people in the world who still stands by Alan Eagleson. And when I’ve seen him on TV he actually makes sense, he’s pretty articulate.

    Bastard! Cockwalloper! Fuck fuck fuck!

    Or maybe I’ve been hit in the head too many times.

  8. hockeyguy10 says:

    Lowetide,

    Maybe Clarke’s problem is he learned to punch in a barn not survive on the ice……

  9. Lowetide says:

    I’m serious dammit! No YOUNGBLOOD references or you’re all going to bed without supper!

  10. hockeyguy10 says:

    Lowetide,

    Probably wouldn’t hurt me to miss a meal. But I still need a beer.

  11. unca miltie says:

    Interesting read. I was already cheering for the leafs by 1961. Carl Brewer was my favorite. I do remember the stanley cup in 61. Lived in Flin Flan in 1968 to 1970. Used to get the tv games one week late except the Grey Cup. It only took 3 days to get it flown up from Winnipeg.
    My room mate one year was Mike Sauter. He did all the punching needed. Clarke only slashed guys,, can’t ever remember him punching any one..

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