Today in Hockey History: Aug 18

The New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks have been the busiest teams on Aug. 18 throughout NHL history. In addition, on this date, a new captain was named in Toronto. Let’s begin our daily trip back in time to enjoy all the best memories this date has given us over the years.

Gilmour Gets the “C”

On Aug. 18, 1994, the Toronto Maple Leafs named Doug Gilmour the 15th team captain in franchise history. He replaced Wendel Clark, who was traded to the Quebec Nordiques for Mats Sundin two months earlier.

Gilmour led the Maple Leafs in scoring with 127 and 111 points in each of the previous two seasons; both ending with losses in the Western Conference Final. He would remain as captain until 1997 when he is traded to the New Jersey Devils, along with Dave Ellett, for Jason Smith, Steve Sullivan and the rights to Alyn McCauley.

Doug Gilmour Toronto Maple Leafs
Gilmour added the “C” to his Leafs sweater on this date in 1994.
(Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)

He is traded back to Toronto, by the Montreal Canadiens, for a sixth-round draft pick. He only played in one game after the trade and retired before the 2003-04 season. He scored 131 goals and 452 points in 393 total games with the Maple Leafs.

The Wheeling, Dealing Rangers

The Rangers made three different trades over the years on this date. The first one came on Aug. 18, 1952, when they acquired defenseman Leo Reise Jr. from the Detroit Red Wings, in exchange for Reg Sinclair, John Morrison, and cash. Reise played in 131 games for the Rangers over the next two seasons before retiring. Sinclair scored 11 goals and 23 points in his lone season in Detroit. Morrison never played in the NHL.

Three years later, on Aug. 18, 1955, these two teams made another trade. The Rangers sent Billy Dea and Aggie Kukulowicz to the Red Wings for Dave Creighton and Bronco Horvath. Creighton didn’t miss a single game during his three seasons in New York. He scored 55 goals and 142 points in 210 games. Horvath had 12 goals and 29 points during the 1955-56 season before he was traded to the Canadiens for cash. Dea scored 19 goals and 38 points in 98 games for the Red Wings before he was part of an eight-player trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. Kukulolwicz never played for Detroit.

Fast forward to Aug. 18, 1986, the Rangers swapped forwards with the Maple Leafs when they traded Mike Allison for Walt Poddubny.

Walt Poddubny
Poddubny moved to the Big Apple on Aug. 18, 1986. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)

After scoring 28 goals for the Maple Leafs during the 1982-83 season, Poddubny scored just 28 goals combined over the three previous seasons, which were split between the NHL and American Hockey League (AHL).

Poddubny exploded for 40 goals and 87 points in his first season with the Rangers. He followed that up with another 38 goals and 88 points in 1987-88. He was traded to the Nordiques in the summer of 1988, along with Jari Gronstad and Bruce Bell for Jason Lafreniere and Normand Rochefort. Meanwhile, Allison scored seven goals and 26 points for the Maple Leafs before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Sean McKenna.

Sharks Nab a Pair of Goalies

The Sharks landed a pair of veteran goaltenders, on this date, a year apart. On Aug. 18, 1996, they signed free agent Kelly Hrudey. He spent the previous eight seasons with the Kings and was their starter when they reached the Stanley Cup Final in 1993. He appeared in 48 games for the Sharks during the 1996-97 season.

Hrudey’s workload was dramatically cut the following season because the Sharks acquired Mike Vernon from the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings for a second and third-round draft pick. He won 30 games in his first season with the Sharks with a .896 save percentage (SV%), 2.46 goals-against average (GAA) and five shutouts. He played in another 54 games with the team before he was traded to the Florida Panthers, in 1999, for Radek Dvorak.

The Red Wings eventually traded both of the drafts received from the Sharks in the Vernon deal. One of the them went to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who selected current Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe.

Odds & Ends

Long before Dallas Stars’ head coach Rick Bowness started his lengthy career behind the bench, he played 173 NHL games. On Aug. 18, 1977, the right winger was traded to the Red Wings, by the Atlanta Flames, for cash. He scored a career-high eight goals and 19 points in his lone season in Detroit.

On Aug. 18, 1985, Petr Klima defected from the Czechoslovakian national team to join the Red Wings. He made his NHL debut in 1985 at the age of 21. He played his first four full seasons with the Red Wings.

He was traded to the Edmonton Oilers, during the 1989-90 season, along with Joe Murphy, Adam Graves and Jeff Sharples for Jimmy Carson, Kevin McClelland and a fifth-round draft pick. Klima played 306 games in Detroit, where he scored 130 goals and 223 points.

Just ahead of their inaugural season, the Minnesota Wild signed undrafted free agent Pascal Dupuis on Aug. 18, 2000. Nobody drafted the left winger after scoring 80 goals in his final two seasons with the Shawinigan Cataractes in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He played in 334 games for the Wild before he was traded to the Rangers in 2007. After a stop with the Atlanta Thrashers, he was part of the trade that brought Marian Hossa to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was part of the 2009 Stanley Cup championship team in Pittsburgh.

The Colorado Avalanche signed veteran free agent Vincent Damphousse on Aug. 18, 2004. He spent the previous five seasons with the Sharks. He never got to play for the Avalanche due to the owners’ lockout wiping out the 2004-05 season. He retired in September of 2005 after 18 seasons in the league.

The Red Wings signed winger Todd Bertuzzi on Aug. 18, 2009. He went on to play the final five seasons of his 18-season NHL career with the Red Wings. He was rather productive with 61 goals and 150 points in 308 games. Bertuzzi’s nephew, Tyler, was drafted by the Red Wings in 2013 and has become a regular in their current lineup.

On Aug. 18, 2020, two teams advanced into the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In Edmonton, Alex Tuch’s third-period goal proved the be the series-clincher in the Vegas Golden Knights’ 4-3 Game 5 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Later that evening in Toronto, the Boston Bruins closed out their series against the Carolina Hurricanes in five games. David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron’s second-period goals were the difference in a 2-1 win.

Happy Birthday to You

There are just 12 players who were born on Aug. 18 to ever play in the NHL. The first was John Sleaver, who was born on this date in 1934. He played in 13 games, scoring one goal, for the Blackhawks, between 1954 and 1957. The most recent is Stars forward Joel L’Esperance, who turns 27 today.

Joel L'Esperance Texas Stars
L’Esperance is celebrating his 27th birthday. (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Geoff Courtnall had the best career out of the 12 birthday boys. He scored 367 goals and 799 points in 1,048 games for the Boston Bruins, Oilers, Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks over 17 seasons.

Other notable players born on this date include Forbes Kennedy (87), Petr Cajanek (47), Peter Worrell (45), and Ossi Vaananen (41).

*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen and updated by Matthew Zator

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