Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Forgotten All-Star Game

The NHL All-Star Game has been a fixture on the NHL schedule almost every year since 1947 (with exceptions in 1979 and 1987 when NHL All-Stars played the Soviet national team in the Challenge Cup and Rendez-vous '87 instead, 2006, 2010 and this year due to the Olympics, and 1995, 2005 and 2013 due to… labour problems). The game owes its existence to a game played on February 14, 1934. On that day a team of NHL All-Stars played the Toronto Maple Leafs in an exhibition. The financial proceeds from the game were gifted to Maple Leafs' forward Ace Bailey, who was critically injured in a game a couple months earlier. He would recover from his injuries and live to the ripe old age of 88 but he never played pro hockey again.

The NHL played a couple more benefit games before it began playing an annual game: in 1937 Habs star Howie Morenz died after breaking his leg, and so the NHL played a 'memorial' game on November 3 to benefit Morenz's family. In the summer of 1939 Babe Siebert drowned in Lake Huron, and on October 29 a benefit game was played for his family between a team of Montreal All-Stars (players from the Canadiens and Maroons) and an NHL All-Star team of players from the other six teams.

There was another such benefit game played on February 17, 1959, but you've probably never heard of it. That's why I call it the forgotten All-Star Game. It was Bill Dobbyn Night.

"Who is Bill Dobbyn?" you ask. He was a hockey player but never played a game in the NHL. He never got the chance.

Bill Dobbyn was born in Melita, Manitoba in the summer of 1935. He grew up to play junior hockey in the SJHL for the Flin Flon Bombers. He won two league championships with the Bombers in 1953 and 1954. He made the transition to professional hockey in 1955, spending his first two seasons of pro hockey in Victoria, BC playing for the Western Hockey League's Cougars. In 1957 he took his services across the Georgia Strait to Vancouver and played for the Canucks.

The Vancouver Canucks were the class of the WHL that year and Dobbyn had a decent regular season (10 goals and 20 assists in 70 games), but it was in the playoffs in 1958 that Dobbyn really shined. He scored three goals and five assists in 11 games that spring, including two of the most important goals in Canucks history up to that point.

The day was April 30, 1958 and the venue was the Stampede Corral, home of the Calgary Stampeders hockey club. The Canucks and Stamps were playing for the President's Cup, the WHL championship, and the Canucks were up 3-0 in their best-of-seven series. The game began with a wild first period; each team tallied four times in the opening 14 minutes and 14 seconds. After that the play settled down and the scoring was tight. Calgary's Sid Finney (who finished third in regular season scoring with 88 points in 58 games, behind the Canucks' Phil Maloney's 94 points and Seattle's Guyle Fielder's 111) scored at 10:58 of the second period to put the Stampeders up 5-4 and it looked like they were going to hold on to force a fifth game in Vancouver.

That was until the Stampeders' Merve Kuryluk took a hooking penalty about midway through the third period. On the powerplay the Canucks peppered Stamps' goalie Al Rollins with shots and Bill Dobbyn pounced on a rebound off a shot by teammate Jackie McLeod and buried the puck in the net to tie the game. This game was going to overtime.

At 3:47 of OT rookie Orland Kurtenbach passed the puck to Dobbyn and Dobbyn secured his place in Vancouver Canucks lore when he scored again. 6-5 Canucks. President's Cup champions (the first of four such championships until the Canucks made the jump to the NHL in 1970). Dobbyn scored the game-tying and game-winning goals.

Dobbyn signed a contract with the New York Rangers on September 22, 1958 (the same day the Rangers signed two other WHL players: Les Colwill and Earl Ingarfield) and he attended their training camp but he didn't quite make it to the big league. He showed a lot of promise though and was placed on the top farm team in Buffalo. It was playing for the AHL's Bisons that Dobbyn's pro hockey career would come to a catastrophic halt.

In the third period of a game in Hershey between the Bears and Bisons on December 27, 1958 Dobbyn went into a corner to battle for the puck. Bears' captain Ellard "Obie" O'Brien was battling with Dobbyn for the puck and his stick was errantly swung high and hit Dobbyn in his left eye. The damage was so severe doctors decided that the eye could not be saved, and so it was removed. And that was seemingly that for Bill Dobbyn. He was only 23 years old.

The following month Red Wings GM Jack Adams, having read about the tragedy, decided to organize a benefit game for Dobbyn and his family. He convinced the other NHL teams to each send a small contingent of players to play for an all-star team against the Buffalo Bisons at The Aud. Slowly but surely support for the idea grew and by February everybody was on-board.

Bill Dobbyn Night, February 17, 1959, was a great success. A sell-out crowd of 9,368 packed the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium to watch the game between the Bisons and the NHL All-Stars. AHL president Dick Canning was there. Buffalo mayor Frank Sedita dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening face-off. Everyone from Canning and Sedita down to the ticket-takers, ushers, concessions vendors and members of the press paid for their tickets instead of accepting the usual passes, all in the hopes of raising money for Bill Dobbyn.

At the second intermission Dobbyn received proceeds of about $25,000 (minus taxes, of course). The Bisons lost the game but they finished atop the AHL's regular season standings in 1959. Unfortunately for them they lost the Calder Cup championship to the Hershey Bears.

Determined to continue playing hockey Dobbyn moved to Europe, playing for Steatham of the British National League in 1959-60, Langnau of the Swiss National League B in 1960-61 and Vienna of the Austrian League in 1961-62; he won league championships with each. After he returned to North America he moved to Waterloo, Iowa and played for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. The Black Hawks won five straight championships in the '60s, from '64 to '68.

Bill Dobbyn coached the Black Hawks in 1971-72 and has been involved with hockey in Waterloo, Iowa in some capacity ever since.

The AHL mandated that all players must wear visors beginning in 2006, almost 48 years after Bill Dobbyn lost his eye. The NHL enacted a rule mandated visors for all players with less than 25 games of NHL experience as of the beginning of the 2013-14 season.

Buffalo BisonsNHL All-Stars
Goaltenders
Marcel PailleJohnny Bower (Maple Leafs)
Bruce Gamble (Rangers)
Glenn Hall (Black Hawks)
Defencemen
Doug BarkleyIan Cushenan (Canadiens)
Ron IngramFern Flaman (Bruins)
Ivan IrwinLou Fontinato (Rangers)
Frank MartinBill Gadsby (Rangers)
Gus MortsonWarren Godfrey (Red Wings)
Albert "Junior" Langlois (Canadiens)
Pierre Pilote (Black Hawks)
Forwards
Bruce ClineAndy Bathgate (Rangers)
Billy DeaJohnny Bucyk (Bruins)
Bill DineenBrian Cullen (Maple Leafs)
Gerry FoleyBobby Hull (Black Hawks)
Dick GambleEarl Ingarfield (Rangers)
Wally HergesheimerForbes Kennedy (Red Wings)
Eddie KachurTed Lindsay (Black Hawks)
Orland KurtenbachEddie Litzenberger (Black Hawks)
Parker MacDonaldDon Marshall (Canadiens)
Bill SweeneyDon McKenney (Bruins)
Larry WilsonBert Olmstead (Maple Leafs)
Ron Stewart (Maple Leafs)
Jerry Toppazzini (Bruins)


NHL All-Stars 6 at Buffalo Bisons 2
Bill Dobbyn Night—February 17, 1959

First Period
NHL – Lindsay (Litzenberger) 1:11
NHL – Bathgate (Ingarfield, Olmstead) 5:30
NHL – Cullen (Bathgate, Olmstead) 12:28
Penalties: Wilson (Buffalo; tripping) 8:24, Toppazzini (NHL; tripping) 17:46, Langlois (NHL; holding) 17:46

Second Period
NHL – Lindsay (Litzenberger, Hull) 6:48
NHL – Olmstead (Cullen) 11:51
NHL – Langlois (Toppazzini, Cushenan) 18:00
Penalties: none

Third Period
Buffalo – Dineen (Mortson, MacDonald) 4:31
Buffalo – Dineen (Irwin) 19:06
Penalties: none

Shots on goal
NHL All-Stars: 10 18 12 – 40
Buffalo Bisons: 8 7 10 – 25
Referee: Eddie Powers
Linesmen: Bob Barnes and Jack Bell
Attendance: 9,368 at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium


Bilych, George. (1958, May 1). "Canucks claim western puck crown: Dobbyn scoring hero". Calgary Herald, p. 42. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=fWZkAAAAIBAJ&sjid=aXwNAAAAIBAJ&pg=6809%2C231024

Thursday, December 26, 2013

1993 NHL Expansion Draft

The Backgrounds


In 1992, only a couple months into the 1992-93 NHL season and fresh off the addition of the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning to the league, the NHL decided to expand again.

It came as a surprise to many. In stark contrast to the long, drawn-out process by which the Senators and Lightning were added—they were awarded new franchises almost two years before they began play—the new franchises conditionally awarded on December 10, 1992 involved no formal application process at all.

If you've read my post about the Senators and Lighting's expansion process you might stop now and ask yourself why the NHL would award the next two franchises so quickly and seemingly so easily. The answer, of course, is money.

In 1990 Jerry Buss, former owner of the Kings, applied for an expansion franchise to play out of a new arena being constructed in Anaheim, California. At the same time John W. Henry applied for a franchise in Miami. Neither Buss nor Henry had lease agreements with their prospective arenas, Buss's application was not even considered, and Henry's was rejected on the basis that he wouldn't pay the full $50 million expansion fee on schedule.

The NHL wouldn't consider Buss and Henry's applications for franchises but that did not mean that the league was not interested in expansion to Anaheim and Miami. Two years after the failed bids the NHL was approached by two businesspeople who wanted expansion franchises—one in Anaheim and one in Miami. Those two people were Michael Eisner, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Wayne Huizenga, chairman and CEO of Blockbuster Entertainment.

In a matter of weeks the idea of having a team in Anaheim owned by Disney and a team in Miami owned by Huizenga became a reality. The NHL announced that it would expand again, to Anaheim and Miami, and the teams would begin play as early as the 1993-94 season. The $50 million expansion fees were of little import; Disney and Huizenga cut the league cheques almost immediately.

To be ready for the 1993-94 season the ownership groups needed to establish firm lease agreements with their respective venues and hire front office personnel in less than half a year.

Coincidentally The Walt Disney Company released a movie about hockey in October, 1992 called The Mighty Ducks. It was the story of a Minneapolis lawyer played by Emilio Estevez who was caught drunk-driving and ordered by a court to coach a hapless pee-wee team as his "community service" punishment. It was a modest hit that had over $50 million in North American domestic box office receipts. Eisner attended the press conference announcing the franchise awarding wearing a Ducks jersey. He made no bones about his desire to name the team "Mighty Ducks", and they officially did so at a press conference on March 1, 1993. 'Anaheim' had to be included in the team's operating name as a condition of the lease agreement with the City of Anaheim so the team was officially christened the "Mighty Ducks of Anaheim". It was the first and only time an NHL club went by nickname first and city (or state) name last.

Huizenga never had any intention of naming his franchise after the city of Miami. Blockbuster was based in Fort Lauderdale, a Miami suburb, and Huizenga was particularly sensitive about being as inclusive in the naming of his team as possible. They held a "name the team" contest with no intention whatsoever of using 'Miami' in the name. 'Florida', "South Florida" or "Tri-County" (as in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties) perhaps, but definitely not 'Miami'. He had already secured the rights to the expansion baseball franchise in the area and named it the Florida Marlins. On April 19, just a couple months before the expansion draft, Huizenga announced that he had hired long-time New York Islanders GM Bill Torrey as his hockey club's new president and the club would be known as the Florida Panthers. (The Florida panther is a critically-endangered subspecies of cougar, and the official state animal.)

Torrey was not the first Panthers employee though. Bobby Clarke was hired as GM on March 1. The announcement was a little lost among the news that the other expansion club was going to be named Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

The Ducks hired Jack Ferreira as their first general manager and Pierre Gauthier as his assistant on March 23.

Expansion Draft Rules


At the time of the Anaheim-Miami expansion announcement the Tampa Bay Lightning were 10-19-2 and the Senators—oh, the Senators… The Senators were 3-26-2. They were on pace to be the worst expansion team ever. The Sharks were a year older but they weren't much better at 5-23-1.

It was clear that the expansion plans in the previous two seasons were far too onerous on the new clubs, despite the measures put in place that would force the existing clubs to expose a minimum number of nominally 'experienced' players in the expansion drafts.

It was going to be different in 1993. In 1992 the new clubs were owned by a small group of Ottawa real estate developers and a mysterious group of Japanese businessmen who some questioned even existed. They had to scrounge to make their $50 million expansion fee payments. They had to fight to get their arenas built. '93 was completely different. '93 was "big money". Disney and the head of Blockbuster didn't need to scrounge to pay for anything, and they sure as hell wouldn't accept the sort of deal that the Senators and Lightning got.

In the 1992 Expansion Draft the established clubs could protect 14 skaters, regardless of position, and a pair of goalies, and the clubs that lost defencemen and goalies in the '91 Expansion Draft couldn't lose any in '92. In '93 the existing clubs (including the Sharks, Lightning and Senators) were allowed to protect the same number of skaters, but it was further specified to only nine forwards and five defencemen. They were also allowed to protect only one goalie. First-year pros on all teams were exempt but second-year pros were not, except on the Sharks', Senators' and Lightning's reserve lists.

Each existing club had to offer at least one goalie on a pro contract (with no stipulations for NHL experience), at least one defenceman with 40 games' experience in the 1992-93 season or 70 over the course of 1991-92 and 1992-93, and at least two forwards with the same experience requirements as the defenceman. The Mighty Ducks and Panthers would choose three goalies, eight defencemen and 13 forwards each, one more in each category than the Senators and Lightning chose in 1992. Each of the existing clubs could lose only a maximum of one goalie or one defenceman: a team that lost a goalie could not lose a defenceman. This meant that six clubs would lose a goalie and a forward, sixteen would lose a defenceman and a forward, and two would lose two forwards. In 1992 the teams were allowed to pick one impending free agent apiece; in 1993 they were allowed to pick up to four each, with no more than one goalie, two defencemen or two forwards among those four.

These conditions clearly favoured the Ducks and Panthers by comparison to the plight the Lightning, Senators and Sharks faced in 1991 and 1992 so in order to help the other three recent expansion clubs a second phase was added to the 1993 Expansion Draft. The Sharks, Senators and Lightning would be allowed to pick players from the Panthers and Ducks.

"Phase II" of the draft would see the Panthers and Ducks each protect one goalie, five defencemen and 10 forwards. The Sharks, Lightning and Senators would also protect two goalies, five defencemen and 10 forwards. No pro players would be exempt, even first and second-year players. Phase II would last two rounds, with the order of selection being Lightning, Senators and Sharks. Now here's where it gets tricky…

When one of the Lightning, Senators or Sharks picked a player from the Panthers or Ducks the team that picked the player had to drop a player from their protected list of the same position (goalie, defenceman or forward) as the player that was claimed. The player that was dropped and every other player in the same position and not on his team's protected list was then offered to the other two '91/'92 expansion clubs. If either of those two teams claimed a player they in turn had to drop a player of the same position, and the process started over again. If the '91/'92 teams passed on claiming a player from the team that originally picked one from the Ducks or Panthers then the right to claim an unprotected player fell to the team that lost a player in the first place. If that team passed the other '93 expansion team was given a chance to claim a player from the '91/'92 team that claimed a player. The last club to claim a player in the whole rigamarole was designated the "ultimate claiming club", and the ultimate claiming club had to pay $100,000 to the '93 expansion club that lost a player in the first place. The fee dropped to $50,000 in the second round.

Let me try to explain this ridiculously convoluted process with an example. Let's say the Lightning chose "Player W" from the Panthers with the first pick in Phase II. Let's say 'W' was a forward. The Lightning would then drop a forward from their own protected list. Let's call that player 'X'. 'X' and any other forward not protected by the Lightning was then offered to the Sharks and Senators. Let's say the Sharks claimed an unprotected forward from the Lightning, 'Y'. They would have to drop a forward from their own protected list. That forward, 'Z', would be offered along with all the other unprotected Sharks forwards to the Lightning and Senators.

Let's say the Lightning and Senators passed on claiming 'Z' or any other unprotected forwards from the Sharks. The Panthers would then get first dibs on an unprotected forward from the Sharks because they lost 'W' in the first place. Let's say they passed, and so too did the Ducks afterward. The "ultimate claiming club" in this case would be the Sharks, and the Sharks would pay the Panthers $100,000.

The Lightning would have acquired 'W' from the Panthers, the Sharks would get 'Y' from the Lightning, and the Panthers would get $100,000 from the Sharks. The Sharks' selection of 'Y' from the Lightning would count as their selection in that round, and the next choice would pass to the Senators.

In the course of Phase II of the draft the Panthers and Ducks could lose a maximum of one goalie, one defenceman and one forward.

The protected lists for Phase I were to be filed by 5:00 pm eastern time on Sunday June 20, and Phase I would be held on Thursday the 24th. Phase II was held the next day, June 25. Both phases of the expansion draft were held in the Salle Octave-Crémazie at the Grand Théâtre de Québec in Quebec City (the 1993 Entry Draft was held in Quebec City on the 26th, at the Colisée).

Protected Lists


Boston BruinsBuffalo SabresCalgary FlamesChicago Blackhawks
Goaltenders
Andy MoogGrant FuhrMike VernonEd Belfour
Defencemen
Ray BourqueDoug BodgerKevin DahlChris Chelios
Glen FeatherstoneKeith CarneyAl MacInnisFrantisek Kucera
David ShawGord DonnellyFrank MusilBryan Marchment
Don SweeneyKen SuttonGary SuterCam Russell
Glen WesleyPetr SvobodaTrent YawneySteve Smith
Forwards
Ted DonatoDonald AudetteCraig BerubeDirk Graham
Steve HeinzeDale HawerchukTheoren FleurySteve Larmer
Joe JuneauPat LaFontainePaul KruseJocelyn Lemieux
Stephen LeachBrad MayJoe NieuwendykStephane Matteau
Daniel MaroisAlexander MogilnyJoel OttoJoe Murphy
Glen MurrayRob RayPaul RanheimBrian Noonan
Cam NeelyBob SweeneyRobert ReichelJeremy Roenick
Adam OatesScott ThomasGary RobertsChristian Ruutu
Dave ReidRandy WoodRonnie SternBrent Sutter
Dallas StarsDetroit Red WingsEdmonton OilersHartford Whalers
Goaltenders
Jon CaseyTim CheveldaeBill RanfordSean Burke
Defencemen
Paul CavalliniSteve ChiassonIgor KravchukAdam Burt
Enrico CicconePaul CoffeyDave MansonBrad McCrimmon
Derian HatcherVladimir KonstantinovLuke RichardsonAllen Pedersen
Jim JohnsonNicklas LidstromDave MansonEric Weinrich
Mark TinordiYves RacineBrad WerenkaZarley Zalapski
Forwards
Shane ChurlaShawn BurrKelly BuchbergerAndrew Cassels
Russ CourtnallDino CiccarelliZdeno CigerMark Janssens
Mike CraigSergei FederovShayne CorsonRobert Kron
Ulf DahlenSheldon KennedyLouie DeBruskNick Kypreos
Dave GagnerKeith PrimeauScott PearsonSergei Makarov
Brent GilchristBob ProbertSteven RiceJim McKenzie
Trent KlattRay SheppardCraig SimpsonGeoff Sanderson
Mike McPheeMike SillingerKevin ToddJim Sandlak
Mike ModanoSteve YzermanDoug WeightPat Verbeek
Los Angeles KingsMontreal CanadiensNew Jersey DevilsNew York Islanders
Goaltenders
Kelly HrudeyPatrick RoyChris TerreriRon Hextall
Defencemen
Rob BlakePatrice BriseboisTommy AlbelinUwe Krupp
Charlie HuddyEric DesjardinsKen DaneykoScott Lachance
Marty McSorleyKevin HallerBruce DriverWayne McBean
Darryl SydorLyle OdeleinScott NiedermayerRich Pilon
Brent ThompsonMathieu SchneiderScott StevensDennis Vaske
Forwards
Jimmy CarsonBrian BellowsBill GuerinBrad Dalgarno
Mike DonnellyBenoit BrunetBobby HolikRay Ferraro
Tony GranatoVincent DamphousseClaude LemieuxPatrick Flatley
Wayne GretzkyPaul DiPietroJohn MacLeanTravis Green
Jari KurriGilbert DionneRandy McKayBenoit Hogue
Corey MillenMike KeaneBernie NichollsDerek King
Luc RobitailleStephan LebeauStephane RicherMarty McInnis
Tomas SandstromJohn LeClairAlexander SemakSteve Thomas
Brandy SemchukKirk MullerValeri ZelepukinPierre Turgeon
New York RangersOttawa SenatorsPhiladelphia FlyersPittsburgh Penguins
Goaltenders
Mike RichterCraig BillingtonDominic RousselTom Barrasso
Defencemen
Jeff BeukeboomChris LuongoTerry CarknerLarry Murphy
Brian LeetchNorm MaciverGarry GalleyJim Paek
Kevin LoweKent PaynterGreg HawgoodKjell Samuelsson
James PatrickDarren RumbleDan KordicUlf Samuelsson
Brad TileyBrad ShawRyan McGillPeter Taglianetti
Forwards
Tony AmonteDave ArchibaldJosef BeranekJeff Daniels
Mike GartnerJamie BakerClaude BoivinRon Francis
Adam GravesJody HullRod Brind'amourJaromir Jagr
Joey KocurBob KudelskiDave BrownMario Lemieux
Mark MessierMark LambJim CumminsShawn McEachern
Sergei NemchinovDarcy LoewenKevin DineenJoe Mullen
Ed OlczykTroy MallettePelle EklundMike Needham
Esa TikkanenMike PelusoBrent FedykKevin Stevens
Darren TurcotteSylvain TurgeonMark RecchiRick Tocchet
Quebec NordiquesSt. Louis BluesSan Jose SharksTampa Bay Lightning
Goaltenders
Stephane FisetCurtis JosephJimmy WaiteJ.C. Bergeron
Defencemen
Steve DuchesneJeff BrownLink GaetzBob Beers
Adam FooteGarth ButcherJayson MoreMarc Bergevin
Alexei GusarovBret HedicanJeff NortonShawn Chambers
Dave KarpaStephane QuintalNeil WilkinsonDonald Dufresne
Curtis LeschyshynRick ZomboRob ZettlerJoe Reekie
Forwards
Martin GelinasBob BassenDave CapuanoMikael Andersson
Valeri KamenskyNelson EmersonEd CourtenayBrian Bradley
Claude LapointeDenny FelsnerGaetan DuchesneMarc Bureau
Owen NolanBrett HullDean EvasonDanton Cole
Mike RicciCraig JanneyJohan GarpenlovAdam Creighton
Martin RucinskyBasil McRaeIgor LarionovRob DiMaio
Joe SakicKevin MillerDavid MaleyPetr Klima
Mats SundinBrendan ShanahanJeff OdgersJohn Tucker
Scott YoungRon SutterMike SullivanRob Zamuner
Toronto Maple LeafsVancouver CanucksWashington CapitalsWinnipeg Jets
Goaltenders
Felix PotvinKirk McLeanRick TabaracciBob Essensa
Defencemen
Dave EllettGerald DiduckSylvain CôtéPhil Housley
Todd GillRobert DirkKevin HatcherDean Kennedy
Sylvain LefebvreJyrki LummeAl IafrateTeppo Numminen
Jamie MacounDana MurzynCalle JohanssonFredrik Olausson
Bob RouseAdrien PlavsicJason WoolleyIgor Ulanov
Forwards
Glenn AndersonGreg AdamsPeter BondraStu Barnes
Dave AndreychukPavel BurePat ElynuikLuciano Borsato
Ken BaumgartnerGeoff CourtnallDale HunterEvgeny Davidov
Wendel ClarkMurray CravenDimitri KhristichTie Domi
Mike EastwoodTrevor LindenTodd KrygierKris King
Doug GilmourSergio MomessoAlan MayDarrin Shannon
Kent MandervillePetr NedvedKelly MillerThomas Steen
Rob PearsonGino OdjickMichal PivonkaKeith Tkachuk
Peter ZezelCliff RonningMike RidleyPaul Ysebaert

Available Players


The shenanigans that occurred prior to the 1992 Expansion Draft, especially with respect to starting a goalie for one game so that he'd qualify as an 'experienced' goaltender for the purposes of the draft, weren't repeated in 1993. There were however a few relevant trades made prior to the expansion draft that affected the players who were protected and exposed.

The best known example of this was John Vanbiesbrouck's trade to the Vancouver Canucks on the 20th, the day the protected lists had to be finalized and filed. Vanbiesbrouck was traded by the Rangers to the Canucks for future considerations (on June 25, after Phase II of the draft, the Canucks sent Doug Lidster to the Rangers to complete the trade). Vanbiesbrouck and Mike Richter had been sharing the duties in the Rangers' goal for a few years by that point but given they were only allowed to protect one of them and Richter was younger they elected to protect Richter. Rather than leave Vanbiesbrouck exposed they dealt him to the Canucks so that the Canucks could expose him. The Canucks in turn wanted to keep Kirk McLean and Kay Whitmore, and by having Vanbiesbrouck on offer as well they could limit their losses. If Whitmore was chosen instead of Vanbiesbrouck at least they would have had Vanbiesbrouck to fall back on.

The Nordiques also faced the same conundrum as the Rangers. They wanted to protect young goalie Stephane Fiset, which would almost assuredly mean they'd lose more experienced starter Ron Hextall in the draft. The Islanders' starter, Glenn Healy, was an impending free agent and they weren't going to re-sign him anyway. So the Nordiques and Islanders came to an agreement: the Nordiques would trade Hextall and their first round entry draft pick (#23 overall) to the Islanders in exchange for goalie Mark Fitzpatrick and their first round pick (#14 overall). The Islanders had a new starting goaltender and the Nordiques got something in return for him instead of losing him for nothing in the expansion draft. (The Nordiques used the 14th overall selection to pick Adam Deadmarsh and the Islanders used the 23rd pick to select Todd Bertuzzi.)

Other trades before the June 20th deadline included:

  • Brad McCrimmon from the Red Wings to the Whalers for a sixth round pick in the '93 Entry Draft (Tim Spitzig) on June 1, 1993
  • Dennis Vial from the Red Wings to the Lightning for Steve Maltais, June 8, 1993
  • Stephane Beauregard from the Flyers to the Jets for the Flyers' third round pick in 1993 (previously acquired; traded to the Penguins, who selected Dave Roche, as a compensatory pick) and the Flyers' fifth round pick in 1994 (previously acquired; traded to the Red Wings, who selected Frederic Deschenes), June 11, 1992
  • Paul Ysebaert and future considerations (Alan Kerr—June 18, 1993) from the Red Wings to the Jets for Aaron Ward and a fourth round pick in 1993 (John Jakopin), June 11, 1993
  • Kevin Kaminski from the Nordiques to the Capitals for Mark Matier, June 15, 1993
  • Petr Klima from the Oilers to the Lightning for a third round pick in 1994 (Brad Symes), June 16, 1993
  • Jimmy Waite from the Blackhawks to the Sharks for future considerations (Neil Wilkinson—July 9, 1993), June 18, 1993
  • Peter Ahola from the Sharks to the Lightning for Dave Capuano, June 19, 1993
  • Paul Cavallini from the Capitals to the Stars for future considerations (Enrico Ciccone—June 25, 1993), June 20, 1993
  • Jim Cummins and the Flyers' fourth round pick in 1993 (previously acquired; Charles Paquette) from the Red Wings to the Flyers for Greg Johnson and a fifth round pick in 1994 (Frederic Deschenes), June 20, 1993
  • Gaetan Duchesne from the Stars to the Sharks for a sixth round pick in 1993 (later reacquired by the Sharks, who selected Petri Varis), June 20, 1993
  • Mike Hough from the Nordiques to the Capitals for Reggie Savage and Paul MacDermid, June 20, 1993
  • Sergei Makarov from the Flames to the Whalers for future considerations (the Capitals' fourth round pick in 1993, used to select Jason Smith), June 20, 1993
  • Gord Murphy and future considerations (Andy Moog—June 25, 1993) from the Bruins to the Stars for future considerations (Jon Casey—June 25, 1993), June 20, 1993
  • Jeff Norton from the Islanders to the Sharks for a third round pick in 1994 (Jason Strudwick) and future considerations, June 20, 1993
  • Scott Pearson from the Nordiques to the Oilers for Martin Gelinas and a sixth round pick in 1993 (Nick Checco), June 20, 1993
  • Peter Sidorkiewicz, a fourth round pick in 1994 (traded to the Flames, who selected Nils Ekman) and future considerations (Mike Peluso—June 26, 1993) from the Senators to the Devils for Craig Billington, Troy Mallette and a fourth round pick in 1993 (Cosmo Dupaul), June 20, 1993

Boston BruinsBuffalo SabresCalgary FlamesChicago Blackhawks
Goaltenders
Mike BalesTom DraperJason MuzzattiRoch Belley
 Dominik HasekJeff ReeseRay LeBlanc
 Clint Malarchuk  
 Bill Pye  
Defencemen
Jamie HuscroftDale DeGrayChris DahlquistAdam Bennett
Mark KrysBill HoulderAlexander GodynyukKeith Brown
Stéphane J. G. RicherGrant LedyardPaul HoldenDavid Hakstol
Gordie RobertsRandy MollerRoger JohanssonCraig Muni
Jim WiemerSean O'DonnellMichel PetitMike Speer
 Dirk RueterKen SabourinMilan Tichy
 Chris SnellGreg SmythKerry Toporowski
 Hannu VirtaKevin Wortman 
Forwards
Darren BanksPeter CiavagliaBrent AshtonRob Brown
Brent HughesBob CorkumRich ChernomazShawn Byram
Darin KimbleBob ErreyKerry ClarkDave Christian
Dmitri KvartalnovFrançois GuayThomas ForslundRob Conn
Andrew McKimJeff HamiltonTodd GillinghamTracy Egelund
Dave PoulinDave HannanTodd HarkinsGreg Gilbert
Vladimir RuzickaGates OrlandoTim HarrisMichel Goulet
Tim SweeneyWayne PresleyShawn HeaphyStu Grimson
Chris WinnesBrad RubachukPatrick LebeauTony Horacek
C.J. YoungJoel SavageChris LindbergBrad Lauer
 Jason WinchGreg PaslawskiTroy Murray
  Brian SkrudlandBill Watson
  Carey Wilson 
Dallas StarsDetroit Red WingsEdmonton OilersHartford Whalers
Goaltenders
Darcy WakalukDave GagnonNorm FosterMario Gosselin
 Vincent RiendeauPeter IngFrank Pietrangelo
  Ron Tugnutt 
Defencemen
Colin BauerSerge AnglehartBrian BenningJim Agnew
Brad BerryBob BoughnerJeff BloembergCorey Beaulieu
David JensenBobby DollasBrian GlynnDoug Houda
Paul JerrardMark HoweChris JosephKarl Johnston
Craig LudwigSteve KonroydFrançois LerouxDan Keczmer
Roy MitchellGord KruppkeSelmar OdeleinRandy Ladouceur
Gord MurphyStewart MalgunasReijo RuotsalainenJohn Stevens
Mark OsieckiJason YorkJason SoulesJukka Suomalainen
Ville Siren   
Brian Straub   
Forwards
Doug BarraultTroy CrowderDean AntosDenis Chalifoux
Todd BergenGerard GallantRichard BorgoYvon Corriveau
James BlackAlan KerrTodd ElikRandy Cunneyworth
Neal BrotenSteve MaltaisCraig FisherScott Daniels
Kevin EvansPete StauberMike HudsonChris Govedaris
Stewart Gavin Fabian JosephMark Grieg
Alan Haworth Marc LaforgePaul Guay
Yves Heroux Tommy LehmannScott Humeniuk
Cal McGowan Craig MacTavishTim Kerr
Kip Miller Scott MellanbyJamie Leach
George Servinis Shjon PodeinTrevor Steinburg
Derrick Smith Scott ThorntonMike Tomlak
Ross Wilson  Terry Yake
Los Angeles KingsMontreal CanadiensNew Jersey DevilsNew York Islanders
Goaltenders
David GoverdeFrederic ChabotChad EricksonGlenn Healy
Robb StauberLes KuntarCorey SchwabDanny Lorenz
 André RacicotPeter SidorkiewiczJamie McLennan
Defencemen
Jeff ChychrunJ.J. DaigneaultViacheslav FetisovKevin Cheveldayoff
Kevin GrantLuc GauthierAlexei KasatonovDean Chynoweth
Mark HardySean HillPeter KuchynaJeff Finley
Jim MaherRob RamageTapio LevoTom Kurvers
Dave TretowiczDarcy SimonDean MalkocJoni Lehto
Tim Watters Brent SeverynGary Nylund
Forwards
Bob BergJesse BelangerMike BodnarchukDave Chyzowski
Scott BjugstadGuy CarbonneauDoug BrownWayne Doucet
Tim BreslinTodd EwenTom ChorskeDean Ewen
Marc FortierSteve LaroucheJeff ChristianTom Fitzgerald
Kyosti KarjalainenGary LeemanJim DowdPaul Gagne
Lonnie LoachMats NaslundDavid EmmaBrent Grieve
Dave TaylorMario RobergeBen HankinsonClaude Loiselle
Jim ThomsonEd RonanJason MillerBrian Mullen
Mike VukonichDenis SavardKent NilssonDavid Volek
Sean WhytePierre SevignyJanne OjanenMick Vukota
 Lindsay VallisMatt Ruchty 
  Jarrod Skalde 
  Peter Stastny 
  Brian Sullivan 
  Claude Vilgrain 
New York RangersOttawa SenatorsPhiladelphia FlyersPittsburgh Penguins
Goaltenders
Boris RoussonMark MichaudYanick DegraceRob Dopson
   Bruce Racine
   Ken Wregget
Defencemen
Joe CirellaMark FernerBill ArmstrongPaul Dyck
Per DjoosKen HammondShawn CroninBryan Fogarty
Peter Fiorentino Corey FosterGrant Jennings
Mike Hurlbut Willie HuberPaul Laus
Dave Marcinyshyn Gord HynesRobert Melanson
Jay Wells Steven MorrowTodd Nelson
  Ric NattressMike Ramsey
  Lance PitlickPaul Stanton
  Tony Porkka 
  Bob Wilkie 
Forwards
Rick BennettLaurie BoschmanKeith ActonJamie Heward
Don BiggsNeil BradyLen BarrieTroy Loney
Phil BourqueMark FreerAl ConroyMark Major
Paul BrotenMarc LabelleJames CookeKen Priestlay
Craig DuncansonAndre McBainEric DandenaultJason Smart
Jan ErixonShawn McCoshDaniel DoréMike Stapleton
Lee GiffinRob MurphyAndrei Lomakin 
Mike HartmanMartin St. AmourGlenn Mulvenna 
Steven King Pat Murray 
Dan Lacroix Dave Snuggerud 
John McIntyre Wes Walz 
Brian McReynolds   
Mike Stevens   
Dave Thomlinson   
Quebec NordiquesSt. Louis BluesSan Jose SharksTampa Bay Lightning
Goaltenders
Mario BrunettaGuy HebertWade FlahertyMike Greenlay
Jacques Cloutier Jeff HackettPat Jablonski
Mark Fitzpatrick  David Littman
Patrick Labrecque  Wendell Young
John Tanner   
Defencemen
Mario DoyonMurray BaronMichael ColmanPeter Ahola
Steven FinnDoug CrossmanPat MacLeodEric Charron
Kerry HuffmanJason MarshallDavid WilliamsAlain Côté
Jon KlemmTom TilleyDoug WilsonRick Lanz
Andy RymshaAlain Vigneault Rob Robinson
Mikhail Tatarinov  Dennis Vial
Randy Velischek   
Craig Wolanin   
Forwards
Niclas AnderssonKelly ChaseRobin BawaTim Bergland
Gino CavalliniDerek FrenetteDavid BruceJock Callander
Stéphane CharbonneauDave LowryJohn CarterStan Drulia
Bryan DeasleyDave MackeyLary DePalmaRandy Gilhen
Murray GarbuttKevin MiehmTroy FrederickSteve Kasper
Bill LindsayBrian PellerinKelly KisioChris Kontos
Paul MacDermidRichard PionJon MorrisJason Lafreniere
Michel MongeauKyle ReevesMark PedersonKeith Osborne
Reggie SavageRich SutterMichel PicardHerb Raglan
Martin Simard J.F. QuintinJason Ruff
Steve Tuttle  Shayne Stevenson
Tony Twist   
Ed Ward   
Toronto Maple LeafsVancouver CanucksWashington CapitalsWinnipeg Jets
Goaltenders
Daren PuppaTroy GambleDon BeaupreStéphane Beauregard
Damian RhodesJohn VanbiesbrouckByron DafoeSean Gauthier
Rick WamsleyKay WhitmoreOlaf KolzigJim Hrivnak
   Mike O'Neill
Defencemen
Ted CrowleyDave BabychBob BabcockSteve Bancroft
Jerome DupontJason HerterChris FelixRandy Carlyle
Curtis HuntRick LessardRod LangwayRob Cowie
Guy LehouxDoug LidsterJim MathiesonMike Lalor
Bob McGillTroy NeumeierBrad SchlegelDan Lambert
Brad MillerRisto Siltanen Roger Ohman
Dmitri MironovPhil Von Steffenelli  
Darryl ShannonBehn Wilson  
Forwards
Normand AubinShawn AntoskiRandy BurridgeJason Cirone
Rob CimettaNeil EisenhutBob CarpenterKris Draper
John CullenTom FergusTrevor HalversonJohn Druce
Mike FolignoTim HunterMike HoughMike Eagles
Greg JohnstonJay MazurKevin KaminskiBryan Erickson
Mike KrushelnyskiAnatoli SemenovRandy PearceKen Gernander
Guy LaroseGarry ValkJohn PurvesScott Levins
Kevin McClelland Mike RichardCraig Martin
Dave McLlwain Alfie TurcotteRob Muray
Ken McRae  Russ Romaniuk
Mark Osborne   
Yanic Perreault   
Jeff Perry   
Rudy Poeschek   
Joe Sacco   
Dave Tomlinson  

Expansion Draft — Phase I


Over.PlayerPicked fromPicked by
Goaltenders
1John VanbiesbrouckVancouver CanucksFlorida Panthers
2Guy HebertSt. Louis BluesMighty Ducks of Anaheim
3Glenn HealyNew York IslandersMighty Ducks of Anaheim
4Mark FitzpatrickQuebec NordiquesFlorida Panthers
5Daren PuppaToronto Maple LeafsFlorida Panthers
6Ron TugnuttEdmonton OilersMighty Ducks of Anaheim
Defencemen
7Milan TichyChicago BlackhawksFlorida Panthers
8Alexei KasatonovNew Jersey DevilsMighty Ducks of Anaheim
9Sean HillMontreal CanadiensMighty Ducks of Anaheim
10Paul LausPittsburgh PenguinsFlorida Panthers
11Bill HoulderBuffalo SabresMighty Ducks of Anaheim
12Joe CirellaNew York RangersFlorida Panthers
13Alexander GodynyukCalgary FlamesFlorida Panthers
14Bobby DollasDetroit Red WingsMighty Ducks of Anaheim
15Gord MurphyDallas StarsFlorida Panthers
16Randy LadouceurHartford WhalersMighty Ducks of Anaheim
17David WilliamsSan Jose SharksMighty Ducks of Anaheim
18Steve BancroftWinnipeg JetsFlorida Panthers
19Dennis VialTampa Bay LightningMighty Ducks of Anaheim
20Stéphane J. G. RicherBoston BruinsFlorida Panthers
21Gord HynesPhiladelphia FlyersFlorida Panthers
22Mark FernerOttawa SenatorsMighty Ducks of Anaheim
Forwards
23Steven KingNew York RangersMighty Ducks of Anaheim
24Tom FitzgeraldNew York IslandersFlorida Panthers
25Jesse BelangerMontreal CanadiensFlorida Panthers
26Tim SweeneyBoston BruinsMighty Ducks of Anaheim
27Scott LevinsWinnipeg JetsFlorida Panthers
28Troy LoneyPittsburgh PenguinsMighty Ducks of Anaheim
29Stu GrimsonChicago BlackhawksMighty Ducks of Anaheim
30Scott MellanbyEdmonton OilersFlorida Panthers
31Terry YakeHartford WhalersMighty Ducks of Anaheim
32Brian SkrudlandCalgary FlamesFlorida Panthers
33Mike HoughWashington CapitalsFlorida Panthers
34Jarrod SkaldeNew Jersey DevilsMighty Ducks of Anaheim
35Dave LowrySt. Louis BluesFlorida Panthers
36Bob CorkumBuffalo SabresMighty Ducks of Anaheim
37Anatoli SemenovVancouver CanucksMighty Ducks of Anaheim
38Bill LindsayQuebec NordiquesFlorida Panthers
39Joe SaccoToronto Maple LeafsMighty Ducks of Anaheim
40Andrei LomakinPhiladelphia FlyersFlorida Panthers
41Randy GilhenTampa Bay LightningFlorida Panthers
42Lonnie LoachLos Angeles KingsMighty Ducks of Anaheim
43Doug BarraultDallas StarsFlorida Panthers
44Jim ThomsonLos Angeles KingsMighty Ducks of Anaheim
45Trevor HalversonWashington CapitalsMighty Ducks of Anaheim
46Marc LabelleOttawa SenatorsFlorida Panthers
47Robin BawaSan Jose SharksMighty Ducks of Anaheim
48Pete StauberDetroit Red WingsFlorida Panthers

Expansion Draft — Phase II


Unfortunately I'm not sure who was on the protected lists of the Sharks, Lightning, Senators, Ducks and Panthers in Phase II, other than that I know John Vanbiesbrouck was protected by the Panthers and Guy Hebert was protected by the Ducks.

Over.PlayerPicked fromPicked by
Round 1
1Glenn HealyMighty Ducks of AnaheimTampa Bay Lightning
2Dennis VialMighty Ducks of AnaheimOttawa Senators
 passed San Jose Sharks
Round 2
 Daren PuppaFlorida PanthersTampa Bay Lightning
 passed Ottawa Senators
 passed San Jose Sharks

Puppa's acquisition by the Lightning was actually pre-planned. The Lightning gave the Panthers their third round pick in the '93 Entry Draft (the Panthers selected Steve Washburn) in exchange for the Panthers taking Puppa from the Maple Leafs in Phase I, and the Panthers left Puppa exposed in Phase II so that the Lightning could choose him.

Healy was traded immediately following the conclusion of Phase II to the Rangers for the Lightning's third round pick in the '93 Entry Draft, and the Rangers signed him to a new contract.

The 1993-94 Season


The Panthers and Ducks finished ninth in their respective conferences at the end of the 1993-94 season, just on the outside of the playoffs looking in. The Panthers finished with 83 points, only a point shy of eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers hold the record for most points by a first-year expansion team. The Sharks dramatically improved over their results in the 1992-93 season and finished eighth in the west, making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The Lightning improved from 23-54-7 to 30-43-11. The Senators improved from their record-setting 10-70-4 (24 points) in '92-'93 to 16-61-9 (37 points) in '93-'94; still dead-last by a great margin.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

1992 NHL Expansion Draft

For more about the 1992 expansion click here.

The 1992 NHL Expansion Draft was held June 18, 1992 at 6:00 pm local time at one of the ballrooms at the Gouverneur Hotel in Montreal (two days before the Entry Draft, which was held at the Forum).

The Rules


The rules for this expansion draft were set well in advance. Given the teams were announced so early—December, 1990—it was already known that there would be an expansion draft in 1991 to stock the San Jose Sharks and another in 1992 to stock the Senators and Lightning. The rules for both were set at roughly speaking the same time in the spring of 1991.

The 1992 Expansion Draft would be similar to the 1991 draft with respect to teams having to expose goalies, defencemen and forwards with minimum levels of experience. At least one goalie with 60 minutes of NHL experience, at least one defenceman with 40 or more games played in 1991-92 or 70 over 1990-91 and 1991-92, and at least one forward with 40 or more games in '91-'92 or 70 in '90-'91 and '91-'92 had to be offered by each of the existing clubs. Protected lists would be only 14 skaters and a pair of goalies (two fewer skaters than in 1991), with first and second-year professionals exempt. The idea was that this would help to give the expansion clubs some half-decent players. The 1979 draft was not particularly helpful to any of the four former WHA clubs. Of the four only the Oilers had had much success: the Whalers had missed the playoffs five out of their first six years, the Jets were atrocious in their first couple years and as of the time of this expansion draft the Nordiques had missed the playoffs for five straight seasons and finished the preceding three in last place overall. The 1974 Expansion Draft was shockingly poor for the Capitals and Kansas City Scouts. In the Scouts franchise's first 10 seasons it had relocated to another city (twice; to Denver in 1976 and to New Jersey in 1982) more often than it had made the playoffs (only once, in 1978). The Capitals weren't much better, missing the playoffs for their first eight seasons.

The San Jose Sharks, being that they would have just finished their first season, were exempt from the proceedings entirely. The Minnesota North Stars, despite participating in the 1991 Expansion Draft alongside the Sharks, were not.

The rules of the 1992 Expansion Draft were also tied to the results of the 1991 Expansion Draft in that any team that lost a goaltender in 1991 (it turned out only one did, the Islanders) would not have to expose a goaltender, and any team that lost a defenceman in 1991 would not have to expose one in 1992. Similar to the 1991 draft the 1992 draft was split into goalies, defencemen and forwards rounds. The first four selections of the draft would be reserved exclusively for the selection of goalies, the following 14 exclusively for defencemen, and the final 24 for forwards. The Lightning and Senators would each pick two goalies, seven defencemen and 12 forwards for a total of 42 players between the two new clubs. Of their 21 selections each team could pick only one player who was or was about to become a free agent.

The order of selection was determined by a coin toss. The winner, "Team A", would get the choice of having the 1st and 4th goalie selections or the 2nd and 3rd. "Team B" would get the choice of 1st, 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 12th and 14th defencemen or could cede them to 'A' and have the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th, 10th, 11th and 13th picks. 'A' would choose between having the 1st, 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 20th, 22nd and 23rd forwards or 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 21st and 24th forwards. The Senators ended up being "Team A" and chose to keep the first picks of goalie and forward. The Lightning ceded the choice of 1st defenceman to the Senators as well.

The Available Players


The list of players available for selection was long but not particularly deep. The rules about providing players with minimum experience levels were designed to force the existing clubs to expose at least a few worthwhile players but those existing clubs worked very hard to skirt the rules as well as they could. Several free agent signings and trades were made in the days leading up to the draft, many of them designed to work around the rule about exposing a goalie with a minimum of one game played in the NHL.

For example the Jets had three goalies who saw significant playing time in 1991-92: Bob Essensa, Rick Tabaracci and Stéphane Beauregard. Mike O'Neill also played, but only 12 minutes and 27 seconds in a 7-4 loss to the Flames on December 19, 1991. The Jets could only protect two of them, and Mike O'Neill wouldn't count as a goalie with 'experience' because he didn't play a full 60 minutes. They stood a very real chance of losing one of Essensa, Tabaracci or Beauregard, whichever they didn't protect, and they didn't want to lose any of them.

Instead of losing one of them for nothing they acquired goalie Daniel Berthiaume from the Bruins for forward Doug Evans on June 10. They didn't really want to keep Berthiaume but he would count as their 'experienced' goalie and they could then trade one of Essensa, Tabaracci or Beauregard for an asset. Five days later they traded Beauregard to the Sabres for Christian Ruutu. The Sabres protected Beauregard and the Jets protected Ruutu, and on August 7 the Sabres traded Beauregard and a fourth round pick in the 1993 Entry Draft to the Blackhawks for (drumroll please) Dominik Hasek. Three days after that the Blackhawks traded Beauregard back to the Jets for (another drumroll please) Christian Ruutu! In effect the Jets stashed Beauregard with the Sabres, the Sabres stashed Ruutu with the Jets, and the Sabres got Hasek from the Blackhawks for Christian Ruutu and a fourth round draft pick (who ended up being Eric Dazé, by the way). Berthiaume went unclaimed in the expansion draft and the Jets released him over the summer. He signed with the Senators as a free agent in December of 1992.

That's just one example of many transactions that were made in efforts to keep certain players or entice the expansion clubs to take certain others. On June 13 the Devils acquired defenceman Brad Shaw from the Whalers for future considerations and left him exposed in the draft. They left several experienced defencemen available, including Tommy Albelin and Slava Fetisov, but by having Shaw they hedged their bets. If the expansion clubs took one of their other defencemen they could keep Shaw and if Shaw was chosen they could keep the defencemen they had in the first place. As you will see in the results they lost Shaw in the draft to the Senators.

The same thing occurred between the Detroit Red Wings and Quebec Nordiques. The Nordiques acquired Dennis Vial and Doug Crossman from the Wings for cash on June 15, and Crossman was selected from the Nordiques by the Lightning in the draft.

The Maple Leafs made another such trade with the Sharks on June 15. The Leafs had three goalies who played in the NHL in '91-'92: Grant Fuhr, Rick Wamsley and rookie Felix Potvin. They didn't have to protect Potvin, nor did they have to protect Damian Rhodes (who played in the AHL for the St. John's Maple Leafs). If you have read my post about the 1991 Expansion Draft you might recall that the Leafs put Rhodes in a game in the 1990-91 season in order to expose him in the '91 Expansion Draft and protect their other goalies with NHL experience (at the time, Peter Ing and Jeff Reese). As of the end of 1991-92 Rhodes could still be automatically protected by virtue of only being a second-year pro, but the Leafs had to expose somebody. So they cut a deal with the Sharks: they acquired Jarmo Myllys for future considerations, and exposed Myllys. That way they could keep Fuhr, Wamsley, Potvin and Rhodes.

Goalies were of particular importance, as they always are, and teams went to all sorts of lengths to hang on to the ones they had rather than lose them in the draft. The Capitals had three goalies play in the '91-'92 season too: Don Beaupre, Mike Liut and Jim Hrivnak. Ordinarily they might have just protected Beaupre and Hrivnak and expose Liut, who was 36 years old at the time and very well-paid. They had a problem though: Liut retired! The only other goalie they had with NHL experience was Olaf Kolzig, who was then only 22 years old and would normally have been automatically protected being that he had just finished his second year as a professional (he played two games with the Capitals at the very start of the 1989-1990 as a 19-year-old, but that didn't count as a 'pro' season; he was sent back to the Tri-City Americans of the WHL). They didn't want to lose Kolzig, Beaupre or Hrivnak, so Caps GM David Poile came up with a cunning, devious plan. He signed former Capitals goalie Bernie Wolfe to a contract on June 15.

"Bernie Wolfe?" you say. Bernie Wolfe played four seasons for the Capitals in the 1970s. By the time he signed a contract in 1992 he was 40 years old and hadn't played hockey in 13 years, but the NHL's rules didn't say when a goalie exposed in the expansion draft had to have played in the NHL, just they he had to have played at least one game.

The NHL wouldn't let that fly. President John Ziegler refused to allow the contract with Wolfe to be registered. It was clear in his eyes that the Capitals were deliberately trying to skirt the rules of the draft. Poile signed goalie Steve Weeks to a contract on the 16th instead; Weeks was 33 and had been a regular NHLer since 1981. (Weeks was not claimed in the draft and was traded to the Senators on August 13, 1992 for future considerations.)

Other teams didn't go to such lengths, instead electing to play a farmhand goalie for a single game in the 1991-92 season as the Leafs had done with Rhodes the year before. The Blackhawks didn't want to lose one of their three top goalies: Eddie Belfour, Jimmy Waite and Dominik Hasek. Hasek didn't have to be exposed—he had just finished his second pro year (in North America)—but they had to expose at least one goalie with one game of NHL experience. Enter Ray LeBlanc.

LeBlanc was a minor-league goalie who was never drafted and up until 1991-92 had spent almost his entire pro career in the IHL. He played in the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France and that's when his profile rose considerably. In Albertville he finished 4-0-1 with two shutouts in the round robin, and was named the top goalie in the tournament despite Team USA's loss to the Czechoslovak team in the bronze medal game. Not long after the tournament ended he was called up from the Blackhawks' IHL affiliate. Ray LeBlanc played his one and only NHL game on March 10, 1992. The Hawks beat the Sharks 5-1, and LeBlanc's career stats in the NHL are 21 saves on 22 shots and a 1.00 GAA. LeBlanc, having played a complete 60 minutes, was exposed in the expansion draft as the Hawks' 'experienced' goalie and as a result they were able to protect Belfour and Waite and didn't have to expose Hasek.

The Flames did the same thing. On April 16, 1992—the Flames' last game of the season— Scott Sharples played in his only NHL game, a 4-4 tie versus the Canucks (36 saves on 40 shots, a 3.69 GAA). The Flames exposed Sharples, protected Mike Vernon and Jeff Reese, and didn't have to expose Trevor Kidd.

Boston BruinsBuffalo SabresCalgary Flames
Goaltenders
Matt DelGuidiceClint MalarchukScott Sharples
Mike Parson  
Defencemen
noneDale DeGraynone
 Randy Hillier 
 Bill Houlder 
 Grant Ledyard 
 Brad Miller 
 Mike Ramsey 
 Dirk Rueter 
 Hannu Virta 
Forwards
Peter DourisGord DonnellyRich Chernomaz
Doug EvansJody GageKerry Clark
Jeff LazaroFrançois GuayBryan Deasley
Ted MiskolcziJeff HamiltonMarc Habscheid
Shayne StevensonDarcy LoewenTim Hunter
Jim VeseyGates OrlandoChris Lindberg
 Colin PattersonTodd Strueby
 Joel SavageTim Sweeney
 Rick VaiveCarey Wilson
Chicago BlackhawksDetroit Red WingsEdmonton Oilers
Goaltenders
Ray LeBlancAllan BesterNorm Foster
Defencemen
noneGord Kruppkenone
 Bob McGill 
 Bob Wilkie 
Forwards
Shawn ByramTroy CrowderNick Beaulieu
Greg GilbertKory KocurDan Currie
Michel GouletLonnie LoachDavid Haas
Stu GrimsonBrian MacLellanFabian Joseph
Tony HoracekMax MiddendorfTomas Kapusta
Tony HrkacKen QuinneyMarc Laforge
Brad Lauer Mark Lamb
Mike Peluso Tommy Lehmann
Dan Vincelette David Maley
Bill Watson Bill McDougall
Sean Williams Anatoli Semenov
  Shaun Van Allen
  Mike Ware
Hartford WhalersLos Angeles KingsMinnesota North Stars
Goaltenders
Mario GosselinDarryl GilmourSteve Guenette
Peter SidorkiewiczRobb Stauber 
Defencemen
noneJohn MinerDavid Jensen
 John Van KesselPaul Jerrard
 Tim WattersRoy Mitchell
  Dave Moylan
  Rob Ramage
  Ville Siren
Forwards
Blair AtcheynumScott BjugstadTodd Bergen
Paul CyrSylvain CouturierNeal Broten
Scott DanielsMal DavisStewart Gavin
Lane MacDonaldKyosti KarjalainenAlan Haworth
Mike McHughJay MillerTim Lenardon
Daniel ShankDave TaylorBasil McRae
Mike TomlakJim ThomsonMitch Messier
Terry YakeDarryl WilliamsBrian Propp
  Scott Robinson
  Warren Rychel
  George Servinis
  Derrick Smith
  Bobby Smith
Montreal CanadiensNew Jersey DevilsNew York Islanders
Goaltenders
Frédéric ChabotDoug Dadswellnone
Defencemen
noneTommy AlbelinDean Chynoweth
 Viacheslav FetisovJeff Finley
 Brent SeverynTom Kurvers
 Jeff SharplesGary Nylund
 Brad ShawJoe Reekie
Forwards
Todd EwenDave BarrBill Berg
John Ferguson Jr.Laurie BoschmanBrad Dalgarno
Mats NaslundNeil BradyRob DiMaio
Mario RobergeDoug BrownDean Ewen
Sylvain TurgeonPat ConacherTom Fitzgerald
 Jon MorrisPaul Gagne
 Kent NilssonRich Kromm
 Peter StastnySean Lebrun
 Claude VilgrainClaude Loiselle
  Hubie McDonough
  Graeme Townshend
  Mick Vukota
New York RangersPhiladelphia FlyersPittsburgh Penguins
Goaltenders
Mark LaForestBruce HoffortBruce Racine
  Wendell Young
Defencemen
Jeff BloembergDave FenyvesGilbert Delorme
Peter FiorentinoCorey FosterBryan Fogarty
John MokosakWillie HuberGrant Jennings
Normand RochefortMoe ManthaPeter Taglianetti
 Darren Rumble 
Forwards
Rick BennettMark FreerPeter Lee
Don BiggsChris JensenTroy Mick
Jan ErixonBrad JonesJoe Mullen
Lee GiffinDale KushnerKen Priestlay
Randy Gilhen  
Jody Hull  
Tim Kerr  
Dan Lacroix  
John Ogrodnick  
Mario Thyer  
Quebec NordiquesSt. Louis BluesToronto Maple Leafs
Goaltenders
Scott GordonDarrell MayJarmo Myllys
Defencemen
Doug CrossmanCurt Gilesnone
Mario DoyonDominic Lavoie 
Stéphane GuérardRob Robinson 
Tony TwistBruce Shoebottom 
 Tom Tilley 
 Alain Vigneault 
Forwards
Gino CavalliniKelly ChaseBrad Aitken
Kevin KaminskiRon HooverNormand Aubin
Steve MaltaisDarin KimbleBrian Bradley
Everett SanipassDave LowryMike Bullard
Wayne Van DorpDave MackeyMike Foligno
Mark VermetteKevin MiehmTodd Hawkins
 Michel MongeauGreg Johnston
 Richard PionKevin Maguire
 Rich SutterKevin McClelland
 Steve TuttleKeith Osborne
Vancouver CanucksWashinton CapitalsWinnipeg Jets
Goaltenders
Bob MasonSteve WeeksDaniel Berthiaume
  Mike O'Neill
Defencemen
Brian BladShawn AndersonRandy Carlyle
Ken HammondBob BabcockDallas Eakins
Risto SiltanenShawn ChambersMario Marois
Behn WilsonChris FelixRoger Ohman
 Rod LangwayKent Paynter
 Ken Sabourin 
Forwards
Robin BawaTim BerglandDanton Cole
Dave CapuanoJohn ByceMike Hartman
Paul GuayCraig DuncansonBob Joyce
Jay MazurJeff GreenlawJohn Leblanc
Rob MurphyMark HunterRob Murray
Ryan WalterJohn PurvesRudy Poeschek
 Mike Richard 
 Steve Seftel 
 Tim Taylor 
 Alfie Turcotte 

The Draft


Ovr.PlayerPicked fromPicked by
Goaltenders
1Peter SidorkiewiczHartford WhalersOttawa Senators
2Wendell YoungPittsburgh PenguinsTampa Bay Lightning
3Frédéric ChabotMontreal CanadiensTampa Bay Lightning
4Mark LaForestNew York RangersOttawa Senators
Defencemen
5Brad ShawNew Jersey DevilsOttawa Senators
6Joe ReekieNew York IslandersTampa Bay Lightning
7Shawn ChambersWashington CapitalsTampa Bay Lightning
8Darren RumblePhiladelphia FlyersOttawa Senators
9Peter TaglianettiPittsburgh PenguinsTampa Bay Lightning
10Dominic LavoieSt. Louis BluesOttawa Senators
11Brad MillerBuffalo SabresOttawa Senators
12Bob McGillDetroit Red WingsTampa Bay Lightning
13Ken HammondVancouver CanucksOttawa Senators
14Jeff BloembergNew York RangersTampa Bay Lightning
15Doug CrossmanQuebec NordiquesTampa Bay Lightning
16Kent PaynterWinnipeg JetsOttawa Senators
17Rob RamageMinnesota North StarsTampa Bay Lightning
18John Van KesselLos Angeles KingsOttawa Senators
Forwards
19Sylvain TurgeonMontreal CanadiensOttawa Senators
20Michel MongeauSt. Louis BluesTampa Bay Lightning
21Anatoli SemenovEdmonton OilersTampa Bay Lightning
22Mike PelusoChicago BlackhawksOttawa Senators
23Mike HartmanWinnipeg JetsTampa Bay Lightning
24Rob MurphyVancouver CanucksOttawa Senators
25Mark LambEdmonton OilersOttawa Senators
26Basil McRaeMinnesota North StarsTampa Bay Lightning
27Laurie BoschmanNew Jersey DevilsOttawa Senators
28Rob DiMaioNew York IslandersTampa Bay Lightning
29Steve MaltaisQuebec NordiquesTampa Bay Lightning
30Jim ThomsonLos Angeles KingsOttawa Senators
31Dan VinceletteChicago BlackhawksTampa Bay Lightning
32Lonnie LoachDetroit Red WingsOttawa Senators
33Mark FreerPhiladelphia FlyersOttawa Senators
34Tim BerglandWashington CapitalsTampa Bay Lightning
35Chris LindbergCalgary FlamesOttawa Senators
36Brian BradleyToronto Maple LeafsTampa Bay Lightning
37Keith OsborneToronto Maple LeafsTampa Bay Lightning
38Jeff LazaroBoston BruinsOttawa Senators
39Shayne StevensonBoston BruinsTampa Bay Lightning
40Darcy LoewenBuffalo SabresOttawa Senators
41Blair AtcheynumHartford WhalersOttawa Senators
42Tim HunterCalgary FlamesTampa Bay Lightning

Poor Mel Bridgman. This day and this draft were the auspicious start of the expansion Ottawa Senators' absolutely miserable first few seasons. Bridgman was a former player who retired in 1989 and went back to school, earning a business degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. By all accounts he was a bright guy, but he did not have a good day on June 18, 1992.

It all started with the Senators staff having brought all of the research they had done for the expansion draft on a laptop computer. It just so happened that when they got to the table at the draft meeting the computer's batteries were dead. They had no backup, and nothing to plug into to charge it. All of their prep work was stuck on a useless laptop. They had to make do with paper and select from memory, which proved to be very difficult.

With the 33rd overall pick they tried to select Todd Ewen from the Canadiens. The Senators had already selected Sylvain Turgeon from the Canadiens and they thought that Ewen was still available and eligible. They neglected to cross Frédéric Chabot's name off their lists when the Lightning chose him with the 3rd overall pick. The Habs had already lost the maximum of two players. Bridgman was told that Ewen was ineligible for selection and he had to walk back to his staff's table and figure out who they could take.

After a few minutes he walked back up to the stage and sheepishly apologized. They took Mark Freer from the Flyers instead.

Seven picks later and it was the Senators' turn again. Bridgman walked up to the mic and announced they would select Todd Hawkins from the Maple Leafs… except that the Lightning had selected Brian Bradley and Keith Osborne with the 36th and 37th picks. Another apology proffered and back he went to the conference table to discuss what to do next. He returned to the mic and called out C.J. Young's name. Young's rights were held by the Flames and the Flames hadn't lost two players yet.

But Young wasn't eligible for selection! He had just finished his second year of professional hockey. His name was mistakenly printed on the Senators' list of eligible players. The Senators (eventually) chose Darcy Loewen from the Sabres.

By contrast Phil Esposito and his crew sailed through the expansion draft proceedings. Esposito had no illusions about the quality of the players available though. He was asked by a reporter if he believed he had chosen any potential superstars; apocryphal stories say he turned to the board with the Lightning's list of players on it, pointed and asked the reporter "Are you blind?"

It didn't take Esposito long to start wheeling-and-dealing. The very next day he pulled the trigger on four trades: he traded goalie Chabot back to the Canadiens for goalie Jean-Claude Bergeron, he traded Tim Hunter to the Nordiques for future considerations, he acquired Danton Cole from the Jets for future considerations and acquired Darin Kimble, Rob Robinson, Steve Tuttle and goalie Pat Jablonski from the Blues for future considerations (which ended up being a fourth round entry draft pick in '94, a fifth round pick in '95 and a sixth round pick in '96).

Mel Bridgman made trades of his own over the summer. On June 22 he traded Chris Lindberg back to the Flames for Mark Osiecki. On July 20 he acquired Brad Marsh from the Leafs for future considerations. He also acquired Jody Hull from the Rangers, Steve Weeks from the Capitals and Neil Brady from the Devils for future considerations on July 28, August 13 and September 3 respectively.

The 1992-93 Season


The '92 Expansion Draft gave the Lightning and Senators a start to their franchises and for the briefest of moments it looked like it might have been a decent start. The Lightning opened their season at the Expo Hall in Tampa on October 7 in a game against the Blackhawks. Chris Kontos, a veteran winger who had experience in the NHL with the Rangers, Penguins and Kings but had been playing for the Canadian national team at the time, scored four goals (still a franchise record) to lead the team to a 7-3 victory. The next night the Senators opened their inaugural season at the Ottawa Civic Centre against the Canadiens and beat them 5-3.

The Lightning's record stayed respectable for the first couple months of the season but the Senators became a laughingstock. They won that first game but went on a 21-game winless streak after that. Their second victory didn't come until November 25. The Lightning finished 22nd out of 24 teams with 53 points, five points behind the Whalers. The Senators finished dead last with a 10-70-4 record good for only 24 points. They were only three points shy of tying the modern-day record of futility set by the expansion Capitals in '74-'75, but the Senators had the benefit of playing an 84-game schedule whereas the Capitals only played 80. The Sharks also finished the season with 24 points but finished ahead of the Senators by virtue of having one more win. At least the Senators didn't finish with the record for most losses in a season; the '92-'93 Sharks still own that record with an alarmingly terrible 71.

The Senators' corporate parent, Terrace Investments, was slowly taken over by CEO Rod Bryden over the course of the team's first season. Bryden became CEO of the Senators in January, 1993 and on April 15 he fired Mel Bridgman. The team's COO, Randy Sexton, took over as GM. Bruce Firestone sold his shares in Terrace to Bryden in August of 1993 and walked away.

1992 NHL Expansion

For more about 1992 Expansion Draft, click here.

In 1989 the National Hockey League was a 21-team league. It had been so since 1979, when the Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association joined. The decade that followed was the NHL's most stable since it began expanding in 1967. From 1967 to 1979 the NHL expanded five times adding sixteen teams in the process, had two teams relocate (the Golden Seals to Cleveland and Kansas City Scouts to Denver in 1976), and one that eventually effectively folded and ceased operations. From 1979 to 1989 the only franchise changes were the Atlanta Flames' move to Calgary in 1980 and Colorado Rockies' move to New Jersey in 1982, moves which solidified those franchises' foreseeable futures.

At the Board of Governors meeting in December of 1989 the NHL owners decided to change all that. They decided to expand again. The plan was the most ambitious since the first big expansion in 1967: the league would add seven teams by the year 2000, at least one by 1992. The league had just signed a new national broadcast agreement in the US with SportsChannel but it paled in comparison to what they had hoped it would be (SportsChannel ended up losing millions in the deal and became effectively defunct by the end of the broadcast agreement in 1992). It was hoped that expanding to new markets would solidify the NHL's case for demanding higher broadcast rights fees in its next negotiations. The NHL was after as big a TV deal as it could get and it was thought that more teams, particularly in the United States, would increase the league's exposure and potential TV market. Coincidentally this was the exact same reason that expansion in the 1960s was pursued in the first place (and a big reason why the California Seals remained in Oakland for nine forgettable years, but that's another story).

The most promising expansion site was San Jose, California. Howard Baldwin (former owner of the Hartford Whalers) and Morris Belzberg (Chairman and CEO of Budget Rent-a-car) were tentatively leading a push for a team in San Jose but the Gund brothers, owners of the Minnesota North Stars, announced their intention to move the North Stars there. The NHL reached a compromise with both groups in May, 1990 whereby the Gunds would get the expansion team in San Jose and Baldwin and Belzberg would buy the North Stars from them instead. That took care of the first team by '92.

The second and third expansion franchises were tentatively planned to begin play in 1992 or 1993, with the franchises being awarded by December, 1990. The three main criteria for acceptance were:

  • the ownership group must have at least $100 million net worth
  • the team must own or have a lease at an arena with at least 18,000 seats, and the team must receive the revenues from luxury boxes, concessions and other income streams from the arena
  • the expansion fee would be $50 million, with $5 million due upon awarding of the franchise, $22.5 million due by June of 1991 and the remaining $22.5 million due by December 15, 1991.

That last criterion—fifty million dollars—would prove to be the biggest sticking point for most of the applications. The sale of the North Stars to Baldwin and Belzberg was for only $31.5 million. $50 million for an expansion team seemed to be far more than an NHL team was really worth, but for the NHL it was absolutely non-negotiable. Applicants would pay $50 million for their new teams or they simply wouldn't get one.

The NHL sent out an open request for proposals for 1992 expansion franchises with a deadline for initial application set for midnight, August 15, 1990. At that time they received 11 bids from 10 cities:

  • Seattle, headed by Bill Ackerley. Ackerley was the son of Seattle SuperSonics owner Barry Ackerley. The Ackerleys planned to build a new arena in Seattle not far from the Kingdome. They proposed that their expansion team would play at the Seattle Center Coliseum, shared with the Sonics, until the new arena was complete. They did not want to front most of the money though and only wanted to retain a minority stake of the NHL team. They wanted a new NHL team to be a tenant in their arena more than anything.
  • Two groups from San Diego. One was headed by Harry Cooper, owner of the San Diego Sports Arena, while the other was headed by Jerry Buss, owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, former owner of the Kings (he sold the team to Bruce McNall in 1988) and owner of the Forum in which the Lakers and Kings played.
  • a group from Phoenix
  • Milwaukee, headed by Lloyd Pettit, the owner of the IHL's Milwaukee Admirals (and former Blackhawks broadcaster). He and his wife, Jane Bradley Pettit, donated the money to build the Bradley Center arena.
  • Houston, headed by Charlie Thomas, owner of the NBA's Houston Rockets and Ray Patterson, former GM of the Rockets. The team would play at The Summit, home of the Rockets, until a new arena was built.
  • Hamilton, fronted by promoter Gerry Patterson (who in the past had been a player agent, executive director of the Canadian Football League Player's Association and commissioner of the National Lacrosse League (the one in the 1970s, unrelated to the modern NLL)). The team would play at Copps Coliseum, completed in 1987. Patterson would not name his financial backers at the time.
  • Ottawa, headed by Bruce Firestone, Randy Sexton and Cyril Leeder of Terrace Investment Ltd. Terrace, a real estate development company, proposed to build a 22,000 seat arena in Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa.
  • St. Petersburg, Florida; headed by Peter Karmanos of Detroit, owner of Compuware, and fronted by former NHL player Jim Rutherford. The team would play in the Florida Suncoast Dome, a then-unfinished baseball stadium, until a hockey-specific arena was built later.
  • Tampa, Florida (just across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg); fronted by former NHL player Phil Esposito. Esposito's financial backers were the Pritzker family, owners of the Hyatt hotel chain. The team would play in a new hockey arena to be built near the existing Tampa Stadium, home of the NFL's Buccaneers.
  • Miami, represented by Boston businessman Godfrey Wood. His ownership group comprised several partners, including investment banker John W. Henry (then-owner of the Pacific Coast League's Tucson Toros baseball club). The team would play at Miami Arena.

Each bidder was to submit a $100,000 deposit, refundable in full until September 7 and thereafter only $65,000 refundable.

It didn't take long for one of the groups to drop out entirely. The Phoenix group was composed of a large group of small businessmen who didn't believe that they would be able to fund a team in Phoenix. On August 19, only days after submitting their application, they withdrew. (They didn't even pay the $100,000 deposit in the first place.)

The bid by Lloyd Pettit of Milwaukee seemed to be relatively strong. The new team would play at Bradley Center alongside the Bucks basketball team and Pettit was experienced and well-regarded in operating a hockey team. Despite the apparent strength of Pettit's bid he withdrew it on October 9, about a week before an interim presentation to the NHL Board of Governors. The reason was the money. Pettit's group analyzed the potential revenue of an NHL team in Milwaukee and found that it wasn't feasible, particularly given the non-negotiable $50 million expansion fee.

On November 28, 1990, only eight days before the final presentations, Charlie Thomas's group from Houston did the same, for the same reasons. They were open to being part of another round of expansion bids in 1993 or 1994 but at the time it just didn't make financial sense to them.

In the interim Jerry Buss had shifted the geographic focus of his bid from San Diego to Anaheim, a suburb of Los Angeles best known for being the home of the Disneyland amusement park and the California Angels of baseball's American League. A new arena in Anaheim was in the planning stages and Buss wanted to get his foot in the door there. Buss didn't actually have a tentative lease agreement at any arena; he planned on trying to get the best lease he could and his bid was an open-ended one for somewhere in southern California.

The least likely group to succeed in getting one of the new franchises seemed to be Esposito's Tampa group. The proposed team, already anointed with the moniker "Tampa Bay Lightning", had no home and no owner: the Pritzker family backed out of the deal on October 18 and the preliminary motion to fund the new Tampa Coliseum was voted down by Tampa's city council on December 4, two days before the final presentations. Esposito searched far and wide for new financial backers and had a tentative agreement with a group of Japanese companies led by Fuji Bank going in to the final presentation on December 6. They still had no firm plan for an arena but would continue pushing Tampa to build the new coliseum and would seek a temporary lease with another venue for the team's first couple years.

By contrast Karmanos's bid for St. Petersburg appeared to be the strongest. Funding wasn't a problem and the team secured a four-year lease with the Florida Suncoast Dome, which could have been extended to up to 20 years. The stadium would be modified to suit hockey; in fact a pre-season game between the Kings and Penguins was held there in September of 1990 using a temporary ice plant to create the ice surface, and they set a new record for attendance at an NHL game with 25,581 fans in the stands.

Hamilton's bid was eventually supported by Ron Joyce, owner of the Tim Hortons donut and coffee shop chain. Joyce would own 90% of the team with the rest split among several minority partners.

One by one the candidates presented to the NHL Board of Governors at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida on December 6, 1990. At the end of the day the news broke: there would be new NHL teams in 1992 in Ottawa and, surprisingly, Tampa.

The San Diego bid wasn't ever in consideration. Harry Cooper attended the meeting and presented anyway, hoping to emphasize that despite having no firm bid package put together in 1990 he was still interested in expansion at some time in the 1990s. Buss's non-committal bid for somewhere in southern California, probably Anaheim, wasn't given any serious consideration either.

The Seattle bidders didn't present at all. In the morning Bill Ackerley and his associate from First Chicago Bank, Bill Lear, withdrew their application. Their (former) partners were left in the lobby, stunned. The Ackerleys never built their arena and the Sonics continued to play at the Seattle Center Coliseum, heavily renovated in the mid-'90s and renamed KeyArena, until the team moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. Ackerley sold the Sonics in 2001.

The Hamilton, Miami and St. Petersburg bids were rejected for one reason: money. They refused to pay the expansion fees in full following the schedule given by the NHL. The Hamilton group wanted to put $5 million down immediately, pay $20 million in 1991, and the remaining $25 million over the course of the following seven years. They anticipated having to pay indemnities to the Maple Leafs and Sabres and felt that the $50 million up front, months before the team would even begin play, was too onerous given the uncertainty around territorial indemnifications.

The Miami bid was rejected because John Henry (who took over the Miami bid from Godfrey Wood) wanted to pay $30 million of the expansion fees by the end of 1991 and the remaining $20 million over the course of many years afterward. He also had no firm lease agreement at Miami Arena, although it was expected that anyone who could put together the financing would get an agreement to play there. Henry would go on to become owner of the Florida Marlins baseball club in 1999 (he sold the team to Jeffrey Loria in 2002), and has since founded Fenway Sports Group. Fenway Sports Group owns Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox, 80% of New England Sports Network (the other 20% is owned by Jeremy Jacobs's Delaware North Companies, owner of the Boston Bruins) and the Liverpool Football Club.

The St. Petersburg bid, the arguable front-runner that day, was rejected because they were only willing to pay the first $5 million immediately if it was refundable and the other $45 million over the course of several years.

The Ottawa bidders, who arrived at the hotel that day with local supporters including a marching band, were willing to pay the $50 million fee in full at the prescribed times. The arena project in Kanata was not yet finalized and approval had to go through the Ontario Municipal Board so the team would play at least its first couple seasons at the Ottawa Civic Centre, which had been the home of the WHA's Ottawa Nationals and briefly the home of the Ottawa Civics née Denver Spurs in 1976. (Trivia: the Ottawa Civic Centre was also home to the Ottawa 67's junior team and was built under the north stands of the much larger football stadium at Lansdowne Park. As of the writing of this post it is closed while renovations to Frank Clair Stadium are carried out.) Phil Esposito's Tampa bid was also willing to accept the expansion fee schedule; Esposito secured funding from the Japanese. Despite having no agreement to play anywhere and having only gotten the funding for the team in a scant few days before the presentation from dubious Japanese sources the NHL accepted the bid. The Tampa and Ottawa proponents were the only ones willing to pay the expansion fees on time and in full so they were the only ones accepted.

The two teams would have almost a year and a half to prepare for their expansion draft, shore up their finances and finalize their agreements to build new arenas. Over the course of 1991 Esposito lobbied to have the Tampa Coliseum plan resurrected but the plans never materialized. Esposito had a tentative agreement to play at the Florida Suncoast Dome, the stadium that the rival Karmanos bid would have used, instead but the deal fell through in January, 1992. He fell back on a two-year lease agreement with the Florida State Fairgrounds to play at their Expo Hall on April 23, 1992.

(Trivia: Ultimately the Lightning would play only one season at the small confines of the Expo Hall. They broke the lease and signed two-year lease at the Florida Suncoast Dome on July 30, 1993. The team would end up playing there for three seasons, finally moving to the new Tampa arena (built in Tampa's Channelside district, not near Tampa Stadium as originally intended) in 1996. The Suncoast Dome was renamed 'ThunderDome' during the Lightning's tenancy and is now known as Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team.)

Esposito also began hiring personnel. He would act as President and General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning; he hired his brother Tony to be his chief scout. They hired former Flames coach Terry Crisp as their head coach on April 23, 1992.

Meanwhile the Ottawa group, which named their team the Senators in honour of the former NHL team, hired Mel Bridgman as their GM on August 30, 1991. Former Rangers and Jets GM John Ferguson (Sr.) joined him as Director of Player Personnel on March 22, 1992. They hired Rick Bowness to coach on June 15, 1992.

The stage was set for the 1992 NHL Expansion Draft...

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© 2012-2013 Mark Parsons