A pair of “Original ”6 National Hockey League rivals made a one-sided trade on this date. Also, July 23 saw a long-time executive take a new job, the face of a franchise get traded to a new team and a rare NHL Entry Draft take place. The THW time machine has plenty of fuel to take us back through the decades to relive all the memories.
Blackhawks Acquire Two Legends
The Detroit Red Wings made a deal on July 23, 1957, that they went on to regret. They traded forward Ted Lindsay and goaltender Glenn Hall to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forwards Forbes Kennedy and Johnny Wilson, defenseman Bill Preston, and goaltender Hank Bassen.
Lindsay was at the tail end of his Hall of Fame career and scored 29 goals and 84 points in his two seasons with the Blackhawks. He retired in 1960 but returned to the Red Wings for the 1964-65 season, where he scored 14 goals and 28 points at the age of 39.
Hall became one of the best goaltenders in league history during his 10 seasons with the Blackhawks. He started every single game during his first five seasons in Chicago. Overall, he went 276-229-107 with a .916 save percentage (SV%), 2.60 goals-against average (GAA), and 51 shutouts.
Hall was in goal when the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings in the 1961 Stanley Cup Final, the last championship for the franchise until 2010. He was lost to the St. Louis Blues in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft.
Wilson had the most successful stint with the Red Wings out of all of the players traded by the Blackhawks. He had 23 goals and 67 points in two seasons before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1959. Kennedy had three goals and nine points in 98 games over three seasons in Detroit. He was traded to the Boston Bruins in 1962.
Bassen appeared in 99 games for the Red Wings between 1960 and 1967. He had a record of 34-37-19 with a .898 SV% and 2.95 GAA. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins just before their inaugural season in 1967. Preston never played in the NHL.
Lou Goes North of the Border
After spending 28 seasons and winning three Stanley Cup championships with the New Jersey Devils, Lou Lamoriello made a career change on July 23, 2015. He resigned as president of the Devils to become the new general manager of the Maple Leafs. He was hired by team president Brendan Shanahan, who Lamoriello drafted in 1987, his first draft with the Devils.
The Maple Leafs finished in last place during the 2015-16 season, but they win the Draft Lottery and land Auston Matthews. The following season, they qualified for the playoffs for just the second time since 2004.
Lamoriello took a job as a senior advisor on May 11, 2018, when Kyle Dubas is promoted to general manager. He only held that job for 11 days before becoming the new president of hockey operations for the New York Islanders.
Nash Era Ends in Columbus
The Columbus Blue Jackets traded away the face of their franchise on July 23, 2012. They dealt Rick Nash to the New York Rangers for forwards Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, which was used to select Kerby Rychel.
Nash played 375 games with the Rangers before he was traded to the Bruins at the 2018 trade deadline. He scored 145 goals and 252 points during his time in New York. He was part of the 2013-14 team that lost to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final. His best season with the Rangers came in 2014-15 when he scored 42 goals.
Dubinsky played with the Blue Jackets through the 2018-19 season, scoring 72 goals and 225 points in 430 games. Anisimov was traded to the Blackhawks, in 2015, as part of the package that landed Brandon Saad. He had 40 goals and 84 points in his three seasons with the team.
Erixon played in 52 games for the Blue Jackets before he too was traded to the Blackhawks. He was sent to Chicago, in 2014, for Jeremy Morin, who, ironically, was also part of the package used in the Saad trade a year later.
Rychel has essentially been a career American Hockey League (AHL) player. He has appeared in 43 NHL games since being drafted 19th overall, 37 of those coming in a Blue Jackets uniform. He was traded to the Maple Leafs for Scott Harrington in 2016.
Rare NHL Entry Draft in July
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL Draft occurred in a month other than June for the second straight year, this time in July. It was again conducted virtually at the NHL Network studios with draft picks accepting their jerseys via Zoom instead of in-person at an NHL arena. Defenceman Owen Power of the Michigan Wolverines ended up going first overall to the Buffalo Sabres, Matty Beniers, also of the Wolverines, went next to the newly-minted Seattle Kraken and finally, Mason McTavish of the Peterborough Petes rounded out the top three by pulling on Anaheim Ducks colors.
As for surprises, goaltender Sebastian Cossa went 15th overall to the Detroit Red Wings ahead of Jesper Wallstedt (20th to the Minnesota Wild) who was universally thought of as the top goalie in the 2021 Draft. Also, Tyler Boucher (6th to the Ottawa Senators) and Nolan Allan (32nd to the Chicago Blackhawks) were selected in the first round when they were both slated for later in the draft.
Six of the top 15 have already played in the NHL, with Cole Sillinger leading the way with 16 goals and 31 points in 79 games as he stuck around the big leagues with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the entire season. Meanwhile, McTavish and William Eklund started the 2021-22 campaign with the Ducks and San Jose Sharks respectively but were sent back to their junior or European teams after the nine-game cutoff. Power, Beniers and Kent Johnson, on the other hand, joined the Sabres, Kraken and Blue Jackets respectively at the end of the year when their teams were eliminated from the playoffs.
Odds & Ends
Bob Probert signed with the Blackhawks on July 23, 1994, ending his nine-season run with the Red Wings. However, he did not make his debut for the Blackhawks until the 1995-96 season. He was placed on inactive status by commissioner Gary Bettman in September of 1994, while he entered rehab.
Probert’s first season in Chicago was his best with the Blackhawks, scoring 19 goals and 40 points. He played in all 82 games of the 1996-97 seasons, but his physical play and injuries eventually started to catch up with him. In the end, he played in 461 games with the Blackhawks, just 13 fewer than he did for the Red Wings, but scored 134 fewer points.
On July 23, 1997, the Phoenix Coyotes signed free agent Rick Tocchet, who split the previous season the Bruins and Washington Capitals. The veteran forward scored 64 goals and 130 points in 213 games for the Coyotes. He was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers, the team that drafted him in 1983, for Mikael Renberg in 2000. He spent the last four seasons as head coach of the Coyotes before they mutually parted ways on May 9, 2021.
Veteran goaltender Ken Wregget signed with the Red Wings on July 23, 1999. He appeared in 29 games during the 1999-00 season, posting a .900 SV% and 2.66 GAA. This was the 17th and final season of his NHL career, which had stops with the Maple Leafs, Flyers, Penguins, and Calgary Flames. He was part of the 1992 Penguins team that won the Stanley Cup.
This date in 2021 saw a big trade occur between the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets involving star defenceman Seth Jones and a 2021 first-round pick (Allan) going to the Windy City for a package that included Adam Boqvist and two first-round picks which became Sillinger in 2021 and David Jiricek in 2022. They also received a second-rounder in 2021 (Aleksi Heimosalmi). Jones immediately signed an eight-year contract with the club worth $9.25 million in average annual value along with a full no-movement clause. The trade also marked the second blockbuster he was a part of as he was dealt to the Blue Jackets in 2016 for center Ryan Johansen.
Happy Birthday to You
There are 23 current and former NHL players who were born on July 23, appropriately enough. Red Dutton is the lone Hall of Famer of this group. He was born in Russell, Manitoba, on July 23, 1898. He played in 449 NHL games as a defenseman with the Montreal Maroons and New York Americans, but it was his accomplishments after his playing days that are most remembered.
After spending his final season, 1935-36, as a player and head coach of the Americans, he eventually became the team’s owner. He was the first owner to use air travel to get his team from city to city. He suspended operations of the team in 1942 due to World War II, but they never rejoined the league.
Dutton became the president of the NHL after the sudden death of Frank Calder. He resigned in 1946, following a dispute about the fate of the Americans, and was replaced by Clarence Campbell. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958. He spent 37 years as a trustee for the Stanley Cup but did not attend an NHL event again until 1980.
Andrew Cassels, born on July 23, 1969, played in the most NHL games of this lot. He dressed in 1,015 games, between 1990 and 2006, for the Montreal Canadiens, Hartford Whalers, Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Blue Jackets, and Capitals. He also has the most assists (528) and points (732) of the July 23 birthday boys.
Dmitri Khrishtich, also born in 1969, is the leading goal scorer. He lit the lamp 259 times during his 12-season career with the Capitals, Kings, Bruins, and Maple Leafs. He had a career-high 36 goals with Washington in 1991-92 and followed that up with 31 goals the next season.
There are three players who only played in one game born on this date; Chuck Blair (Maple Leafs, 1949), Glenn Tomalty (Winnipeg Jets, 1980), and B.J. Young (Red Wings, 2000).
Other notable players born on July 23 include Shawn Thornton (45), Dmitry Orlov (31), Jakob Lilja (29), and Kasperi Kapanen (26).
*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen and updated by Matthew Zator