July 29 has been full of Hall of Fame names and players. One was born in Canada, one was traded for the first time in his career and another signed as a free agent in sunny Florida. Plus, a future Hall of Famer signed his first National Hockey League contract.
Robitaille Moved to Pittsburgh
Luc Robitaille is one of the greatest late-round draft picks in NHL history. The Los Angeles Kings drafted the future Hockey Hall of Famer in the ninth round (171st overall) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.
Robitaille made his league debut in 1986 and scored 392 goals and 803 points in his first eight seasons in the league. He scored a career-high 63 goals and 125 points for the Kings during the 1992-93 season, which ended with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
His time in Los Angeles ended, for the time being, on July 29, 1994, when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Rick Tocchet and a second-round draft pick. That pick was used to select forward Pavel Rosa, who played in just 36 career NHL games.
Robitaille’s lone season with the Penguins was a bit disappointing as he was limited to just 46 games. He did have 23 goals and 42 points in those games. The Penguins traded him to the New York Rangers the following offseason, with defenseman Ulf Sammeulsson, for Petr Nedved and Sergei Zubov.
The Kings and Robitaille had two more reunions before the end of his career. They traded Kevin Stevens to reacquire him in 1997. After pair of seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, he returned to Los Angeles, as a free agent, for the final two seasons of his career. He remains the highest scorer left wing in NHL history.
Rangers Solidify Their Net
The Rangers signed the greatest goaltender in their long franchise history on July 29, 2005. They inked Henrik Lundqvist to an entry-level contract five years after he was taken in the seventh round (205th overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He made the team out of training camp and became the full-time starter early in the 2005-06 season.
Lundqvist became a fixture between the pipes for the Rangers. He has appeared in 887 games over the past 15 seasons, including 30 games during the 2019-20 season. He won at least 30 games in every 82-game season between 2005-06 and 2016-17. He holds the franchise goaltending records for games played (887), wins (459), save percentage (.918) and shutouts (64).
Odds & Ends
On July 29, 1985, Jean Perron replaced Jacques Lemaire as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, after Lemaire resigned to take a front office position with the team. The Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in Perron’s first season. He coached for two more seasons before being replaced by Pat Burns in 1988.
The Red Wings traded Kelly Kisio, Lane Lambert, Jim Leavins, and a fifth-round draft pick, on July 29, 1986, to the Rangers for goaltender Glen Hanlon and two future draft picks. Neither player selected with those picks ever made it to the NHL. The Rangers made out the best as Kisio scored 110 goals and 305 in 336 games, over five seasons, with the team.
Denis Savard signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, on July 29, 1993, after spending the previous three seasons with the Canadiens. Savard scored 18 goals and 46 points during the 1993-94 season. He was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks during the following season, the team that originally drafted him and he had great success with.
On July 29, 2003, the Boston Bruins announced the retirement of Cam Neely’s No. 8. His number was raised to the rafters to join other greats in franchise history during a ceremony on Jan. 12, 2004.
Neely, who is the current president of the Bruins, scored 344 goals and 590 points in 525 career games for the team.
Happy Birthday to You
There are 26 NHL players born on July 29. The lone Hall of Famer of the group is the legendary Ted Lindsay, who was born on this date, in 1925, in Renfrew, Ontario. He made his NHL debut for the Red Wings in 1944, his first of 14 seasons in Detroit.
He eventually became the left wing on one of the best lines in league history. He joined Sid Abel and Gordie Howe on what was known as the “Production Line.” He led the league with 33 goals during the 1947-48 season. In 1949-50, he won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the NHL with 78 points. He scored a career-high 85 points, at age 31, during the 1956-57 season.
Lindsay was traded to the Blackhawks in 1957, along with goaltender Glenn Hall. He played three seasons in Chicago before retiring in 1960. He came out of retirement to play for the Red Wings again during the 1964-65 season. He finished his career with 379 goals, 851 points and four Stanley Cup championships. Since 2010, the Ted Lindsay Award is given to the player who was voted as the most outstanding by his fellow players.
Other notable players born on this date include Dirk Graham (61), Jan Rutta (30), Tye McGinn (30), Xavier Ouellet (27), Gage Quinney (25), Neal Pionk (25), Brendan Guhle (23) and Clayton Keller (22).