Today in Hockey History: Aug. 19

Aug. 19 has been a very busy date for two of the National Hockey League’s “Original 6” franchises. We have seen multiple Hall of Fame players wind up on new teams through the decades, even one returning to the game after his induction. So, let’s hop aboard the THW time machine and relive all the best memories from this date.

Lafleur Makes His Comeback

Guy Lafleur retired in 1985 after scoring 1,246 points in 961 games, over a span of 14 seasons, with the Montreal Canadiens. On Aug. 19, 1988, the New York Rangers talked the five-time Stanley Cup winner out of retirement and signed the 37-year-old forward to a one-year contract.

When he took the ice for the Rangers later that fall, he joined Gordie Howe as the only other player to play in the NHL after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Mario Lemieux joined this group in 2000.

Lafleur scored 18 goals and 45 points in his 67 games for the Rangers. He ended up playing two more seasons with the Quebec Nordiques before retiring for good in 1991.

More Rangers Moves

Signing Lafleur was not the only move the Rangers made on this date over the years. On Aug. 19, 1947, they traded forwards Joe Bell and George Robertson and defenseman Hal Laycoe to the Canadiens for center Buddy O’Connor and defenseman Frank Eddolls.

O’Connor went on to have a huge first season with the Rangers. He scored a career-high 24 goals and 60 points in 60 games, helping New York reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 1942. He won both the Hart (league MVP) and Lady Bing (most gentlemanly player) Trophies, becoming the first player in NHL history to win both awards in the same season.

He played three more seasons with the Rangers, scoring 38 goals and 104 points, before retiring in 1951. The two-time Stanley Cup winner (with the Canadiens in 1944 and 1946) was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, in the same class as Lafleur.

Fast forward to 55 years later, on Aug. 19, 2016, the Rangers signed free agent forward Jimmy Vesey. He was originally a third-round pick of the Nashville Predators in 2012, but he elected not to sign with them after a successful collegiate career at Harvard University.

Vesey played in all but six games over the next three seasons for the Rangers. He scored 50 goals and 90 points during his time with New York. On July 1, 2019, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.  

Howe Lands in Philadelphia

On Aug. 19, 1982, the Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, and Hartford Whalers completed a big three-team trade. The centerpiece of the deal was defenseman Mark Howe, who went from the Whalers to the Flyers, along with a third-round draft pick. The Whalers received Greg Adams, in addition to a first and third-round pick from the Flyers. They also received Risto Siltanan and Brenty Loney from the Oilers, who obtained Don Nachbaur from Hartford and Ken Linseman from Philadelphia.

Mark Howe Philadelphia Flyers
Howe had a very successful decade with the Flyers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Howe played in 594 games for the Flyers over the next 10 seasons. He scored 138 goals and 480 points while playing solid defense. He had a big part in the Flyers reaching the Stanley Cup Final in both 1985 and 1987.

He signed with his hometown Detroit Red Wings as a free agent in 1992. He played three seasons with them before retiring in 1995. Howe played 16 professional seasons between the NHL and World Hockey Association (WHA). In 2011, he joined his father, Gordie, in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Canadiens Make Pair of Moves

The Canadiens swapped goaltenders with the Winnipeg Jets on Aug. 19, 1986, as they received Brian Hayward in exchange for Steve Penney. Hayward appeared in 141 games for the Canadiens over the next four seasons. He went 71-48-17 with a .889 save percentage (SV%) and 2.96 goals-against average (GAA). Montreal got the better end of this deal as Penney played in just 15 games for the Jets over the next two seasons, picking up two wins.

Related – The Montreal Forum 1908-1996

On Aug. 19, 1994, the Canadiens traded future Hall of Famer Guy Carbonneau to the St. Louis Blues for Jim Montgomery. Carbonneau played in 42 games in his lone season with the Blues, scoring just five goals and 16 points. He was traded to the Dallas Stars the following offseason, where he played until retiring in 2000. Montgomery played in just five games for the Canadiens before being claimed off of waivers by the Flyers.

Odds & Ends

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its newest induction class on Aug. 19, 1952. The group included Bill Cook, Dickie Boon, Frank “Moose” Goheen, Ernie Johnson, and Mickey MacKay.

On Aug. 19, 1983, Blues sent the rights to defensemen Gord Donnelly and Claude Julien to the Nordiques as compensation for their signing of Jacques Demers as their new head coach just two days earlier. Donnelly played 213 games for the Nordiques over the next season. Julien played all 14 games of his NHL career in Quebec before going on to a much more successful coaching career.

Claude Julien
Julien was traded to the Nordiques on this date in 1983.
(Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Stars signed free-agent goaltender Arturs Irbe on Aug. 19, 1996, after spending the previous five seasons with the San Jose Sharks. He went 17-12-3 in his only season in Dallas, posting a .893 SV% and 2.69 GAA. He signed with the Vancouver Canucks the following summer before a successful six-season run with the Carolina Hurricanes.

On Aug. 19, 2020, the Colorado Avalanche picked up their second straight 7-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes in the Edmonton bubble. The blowout victory closed out their First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series in five games. Nazem Kadri and Nathan MacKinnon each had two goals with MacKinnon adding a pair of assists to lead the way with four points.

Later that night in Toronto, the Tampa Bay Lightning got their revenge on the Columbus Blue Jackets by knocking them out of the postseason with a 5-4 overtime win in Game 5 of their First Round series. Kevin Shattenkirk and Anthony Cerelli both scored late in regulation to force overtime. Brayden Point, who assisted on both of those third-period tallies, scored 5:12 into extra time to move the Lightning into the Second Round.

Happy Birthday to You

A total of 17 players born on Aug. 19 have skated at least one game in the NHL. The first was Bobby Rowe, born on this date in 1885. He scored one goal in four games for the Boston Bruins during the 1924-25 season. The most recent was Los Angeles Kings prospect Quinton Byfield, who was on Aug. 19, 2002.

Taylor Pyatt, who is celebrating his 41st birthday today, played the most games of this group. He suited up for 859 contests over 13 seasons, with the New York Islanders, Sabres, Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes, Rangers, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Born on Aug. 19, 1958, Darryl Sutter scored the most goals, 161, before venturing into a successful coaching career. Current Blues assistant coach Steve Ott, turning 39 today, had the most career assists with 179 and was the highest scorer with 288 points.

Other notable birthday boys today include Jimmy Watson (70), Mike Fidler (66), Don Waddell (64), Andreas Karlsson (47), David Rittich (30), and Joey Daccord (26).

*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen and updated by Matthew Zator

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