July 3 has seen a lot of activity by numerous Hall of Famers. Some of the best players in National Hockey League history were either changing teams, retiring or being born on this date.
The Captain Says Farewell
July 3 is not the happiest day for Detroit Red Wings fans. It was on this date in 2006 when one of the most beloved players in franchise history called it a career when Steve Yzerman officially announced his retirement after playing 22 seasons with the team.
Yzerman was selected by the Red Wings with the fourth pick of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft and he was in the lineup, as an 18-year-old, to start the 1983-84 season. He scored 39 goals in his rookie campaign, the first of 11 seasons with at least 30 goals.
The Red Wings named Yzerman team captain heading into the 1986-87 season. At just 21-years-old, he was the youngest captain in NHL history, at the time. He wore the “C” on his sweater for the next 19 seasons, the longest captaincy in the history of the league.
Yzerman captained three Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1997, 1998 and 2002. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1998, for being the most valuable player of the postseason, by scoring six goals and 24 points in 22 games.
The 65 goals and 155 points he scored during the 1988-89 season are still the all-time franchise single-season record. Yzerman is the Red Wings’ all-time leader in assists, with 962. His 692 goals and 1.755 in the regular season are second only to the legendary Gordie Howe. He holds the team’s playoff records with 70 goals and 185 points.
Stars Making Moves
On July 3, 1998, the Dallas Stars signed future Hall of Famer Brett Hull. The 33-year-old forward was the final piece of a championship puzzle for the Stars. He scored 32 goals during his first season in Dallas. Hull added eight more during the playoffs, including the Stanley Cup-clinching overtime goal versus the Buffalo Sabres. He scored 95 goals and 196 points in his three seasons with the Stars.
Four years later, on July 3, 2002, the Stars signed another veteran goal scorer in Bill Guerin. He scored 25 goals in his first season in Dallas and followed that up with 34 more during the 2003-04 season.
Exactly one year later, Mike Modano was named captain after 14 seasons with the franchise. The move was made because Derian Hatcher signed with the Red Wings on this date. He had been the team captain for the previous eight seasons.
Odds & Ends
After 11 seasons with the Boston Bruins, defenseman Ted Green jumped over the World Hockey Association (WHA) on July 3, 1972. He signed a deal with the New England Whalers and became the first captain in franchise history.
The Toronto Maple Leafs made a pair of coaching changes, a decade apart, on this date. On July 3, 1986, they named John Brophy their new head coach, replacing Dan Maloney. He made the playoffs in each of his two full seasons with the Maple Leafs. He was fired after an 11-20-2 start to the 1988-89 season.
The team made another move behind the bench on July 3, 1996. This time it was Mike Murphy getting the head coaching job. He replaced Nick Beverly, who took over late in the 1995-96 season after Pat Burns was fired. Murphy failed to make the playoffs in his two seasons as head coach and was replaced by Pat Quinn in 1998.
Bob Pulford announced his retirement as general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, on July 3, 1997, after 20 years with the team. Bob Murray was named as his replacement. However, this was far from the last time he held that position. He had two more stints as Blackhawks general manager before stepping away for good in 2005.
It was Murray who brought free agent Doug Gilmour to the Blackhawks, on July 3, 1998. The future Hall of Famer scored 38 goals and 112 points in his 135 games with the team. He took over as team captain after Chris Chelios was traded to the Red Wings. He played in the final game at Maple Leafs Garden, in 1999, scored a goal and was given a standing ovation by his former fan base. Gilmour was eventually dealt to the Sabres, along with J.P. Dumont, in 2000, for Michael Grosek.
The Maple Leafs signed free agent Alex Mogilny on July 3, 2001. He had two rather productive seasons with a combined 57 goals and 136 points in 2001-02 and 2001-03. His third and final season in Toronto was limited to just 37 games, where he still put up 30 points.
On July 3, 2006, the Anaheim Ducks acquired defenseman Chris Pronger from the Edmonton Oilers for Joffrey Lupul and Ladislav Smid. He played three seasons with the Ducks and was a big part of their Stanley Cup championship in 2007.
Happy Birthday to You
The greatest hockey Finland ever produced, Teemu Selanne, was born on July 3, 1970. The Winnipeg Jets used the 10th pick of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft to select Selanne. He did not come over to North America until 1992, but it was worth the wait. He set an all-time rookie record with 76 goals and 132 points during the 1992-93 season.
Injuries limited his production over the next two seasons and he was traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for Chad Kilger, Oleg Tverdovsky and a third-round draft pick. Selanne had great success in Anaheim, including back-to-back seasons with at least 51 goals. He was traded to the San Jose Sharks, at the 2001 trade deadline, for Jeff Friesen, Steve Shields and a second-round draft pick.
On July 3, 2003, Selanne’s 33rd birthday, he and his former teammate, Paul Kariya, both signed one-year contracts with the Colorado Avalanche. However, their dream of winning a Stanley Cup together came to an end with a second-round loss to the Stars.
When the NHL returned from the lockout 2005, Selanne was back in Anaheim and remained there for the final nine seasons of his career. He scored 48 goals during the 2006-07 season and then added another five during the playoffs as he and the Ducks won their first Stanley Cup championship. He is still the Ducks all-time leader with 457 goals and 988 points.
Selanne retired after the 2013-14 season with 684 goals and 1,457 points, the most all-time by any player born in Finland. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.
Other current and former NHL player born on this date include Dave Lewis (67), Hakan Loob (60), Teppo Numminen (52), Adrian Aucoin (47), Wade Belak (44), Antti Miettinen (40), Anders Lee (30) and the late Hall of Famer Ace Bailey.