Today in Hockey History: June 18

Although there have been no games played on this date, there has still been plenty of National Hockey League history made over the years. One of the greatest players to ever play the game was honored following his last full season in the league. A head coach was traded for the first time, and a whole slew of goaltenders were on the move. So let’s begin our daily trip through the years to relive all the best moments from June 18.

Orr Wins One Last Norris

On June 18, 1975, the NHL gave out their postseason awards, and for the eighth straight season, the Norris Trophy, given to the best defenseman in the league, was won by Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins.

Orr also won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the entire league in scoring with 135 points. It was the second time he won this award in his career, and he is the only blueliner to lead the NHL in points. He finished the season with a remarkable plus-80 rating. This was Orr’s final full season in the NHL before knee injuries got the best of him and limited him to just 36 games over the next three seasons.

Other award winners on this date included Bobby Clarke of the Philadelphia Flyers, who took home the Hart Trophy for being the league’s most valuable player. Clarke’s teammate, Bernie Parent, won his second straight Vezina Trophy for being the goaltender with the fewest goals allowed in the league. Eric Vail of the Atlanta Flames won the Calder Trophy for being voted the top rookie of the season with 39 goals and 60 points. The Jack Adams Award for the best coach went to Bob Pulford of the Los Angeles Kings.

Rangers Pull Off Unique Trade

Just before the NHL Entry Draft on June 18, 1987, the New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques pulled off a trade that involved a head coach, the first of its kind in league history. The Rangers traded their first-round selection and $75,000 to gain the services of head coach Michel Bergeron.

Bergeron had coached the Nordiques for the previous seven seasons, qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of them. His teams were known for playing at a fast pace and scoring a lot of goals. However, the Rangers were looking for some stability behind the bench as they had made 12 coaching changes since the end of the 1972-73 season.

The move really doesn’t do much for either team in the long run. The Rangers missed the playoffs in 1988, and general manager Phil Esposito fired and replaced Bergeron with just two games remaining in the 1988-89 season. He returned to coach in Quebec the following season. Meanwhile, the Nordiques used that draft pick, the fifth overall in 1988, to select Daniel Dore, who scored two goals and five points in 17 career NHL games.

Goaltenders on the Move

For whatever reason, June 18 has seen a lot of goaltenders get traded over the years. For example, in 1975, the Rangers traded forwards Jerry Butler, Ted Irvine, and Bert Wilson to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for goaltender John Davidson and forward Bill Collins.

Davidson spent eight seasons in New York, going 93-90-25 with seven shutouts. He later became a Hall of Fame broadcaster before moving into the hockey operations business. In 2006, he was named the president of the Blues, a job held until 2012. He then served in the same position with the Columbus Blue Jackets until 2019, when he took the same role with the Rangers. He is back with the Blue Jackets after being relieved of his duties in New York at the end of the 2020-21 season.

John Davidson, president of the New York Rangers
Davidson first joined the Rangers on this date in 1975. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

On June 18, 1993, the San Jose Sharks acquired goaltender Jimmy Waite from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for future considerations, which later turned out to be defenseman Neil Wilkinson. Waite played 15 games for the Sharks during the 1993-94 season before being traded back to the Blackhawks in 1995. He currently serves as their goaltending coach.

The Sharks made another trade for a goaltender on June 18, 1998. This time they acquired goaltender Steve Shields and a fourth-round draft pick from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for netminder Kay Whitmore and a second-round draft pick. Shields won 48 games for the Sharks over three seasons while Whitmore never played in Buffalo.

The Washington Capitals traded veteran goaltender Bill Ranford on June 18, 1998, to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a third-round draft pick in 1998 and a second-rounder in 1999. Ranford played in 32 games, with just three wins, for the Lightning before he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings at the 1999 trade deadline.

The Capitals used the third-round pick on Todd Hornung, who never played in the NHL. The second-round pick in 1999 was used to take Michael Sivek, who was later part of the return for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the trade for Jaromir Jagr. He played in just 38 games for the Penguins.

One year later, on June 18, 1999, the Atlanta Thrashers acquired goaltender Damian Rhodes from the Ottawa Senators for future considerations. This trade occurred one week before the 1999 Expansion Draft, so Rhodes became the first player in Thrashers’ history. He played three seasons in Atlanta, his final three in the NHL.

On June 18, 2002, the Columbus Blue Jackets traded goaltender Ron Tugnutt, and a second-round draft pick to the Dallas Stars for their first-round pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Tugnutt spent two seasons as the Stars’ backup netminder.

The second-round pick was used on Janos Vas, who never made it to the NHL. Then, the Blue Jackets traded the Dallas pick, 20th overall, to the Buffalo Sabres for the 30th overall pick and the rights to Mike Pandolfo. The Sabres used it to draft Daniel Paille, while the Blue Jackets took Jim Slater.

Finally, on June 18, 2004, the Carolina Hurricanes received goaltender Martin Gerber from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in exchange for Tomas Malec and a third-round pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Gerber won 38 games for the Hurricanes during the 2005-06 season, his only one in Carolina. He eventually lost his starting job to rookie Cam Ward but still got his name on the Stanley Cup. Malec never played for the Mighty Ducks, and the draft pick was used on Kyle Klubertanz, who never skated in the NHL.

Odds & Ends

On June 18, 1975, the Blues traded Denis Dupere and Craig Patrick to the Kansas City Scouts for Lynn Powis and a second-round pick in the 1976 Amateur Draft. They used that draft pick one year later to select Brian Sutter.

The New Jersey Devils named Kirk Muller the 10th team captain in franchise history on June 18, 1987. He wore the “C” on his sweater for four seasons until he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens.

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its newest induction class on June 18, 1989, with Darryl Sittler, Herbie Lewis, and Russian goaltender Vladislav Tretiak getting the call.

Darryl Sittler Toronto Maple Leafs
Sittler received his call to the Hall on this date in 1989. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

The Devils signed undrafted free agent defenseman Brian Rafalski on June 18, 1999. He played four seasons in Europe after a successful college career at the University of Wisconsin. He was a part of two Stanley Cup-winning teams during his seven seasons in New Jersey. He won a third championship with the Red Wings before retiring after 11 seasons in the NHL.

Barry Trotz resigned as the head coach of the Capitals on June 18, 2018, just 11 days after he led the team to their first-ever Stanley Cup championship. He quickly agreed to become the new head coach of the New York Islanders.

Happy Birthday to You

Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis was born on June 18, 1975. At just 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, St. Louis was overlooked from the very beginning. However, he was signed by the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Vermont. After scoring 50 points in 56 games, he was signed to an NHL contract by the Flames on Feb. 19, 1998.

After just four goals and 19 points in 69 games over two seasons, he signed with the Lightning in the summer of 2000. He struggled during the first few weeks of the 2000-01 season but came on strong by scoring 34 of his 40 points after Dec. 1. After that, he played in 13 seasons for the Lightning, scoring 365 goals and 953 points in 972 games. He is still the franchise’s all-time leader in assists and points.

The 2003-04 season was when St. Louis became a legitimate star in the NHL. He scored 38 goals and 94 points to win the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in scoring. He also won the Hart Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Award, now known as the Ted Lindsay Award, for being voted as the most outstanding player by players. He scored nine goals and had 15 assists during the Lightning’s postseason run that ended with a Stanley Cup win.

St. Louis won a second Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in scoring, with 60 points, during the 48-game lockout-shortened 2013 season. He also won three Lady Byng Trophies for being the most “gentlemanly” player during his time in Tampa Bay.

Things got contentious in 2014 after Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left St. Louis off Canada’s Olympic team. It was right around this same time that he requested a trade. His no-movement clause allowed him to control where he went, and he reportedly only wanted to be traded to the Rangers. So on March 5, 2014, he was traded to New York, along with a second-round draft pick, for Ryan Callahan and a pair of first-round draft picks. He scored 22 goals and 60 points in 93 total games with the Rangers before retiring in 2015.

Other notable players who share their birthday with St. Louis include Bob Rouse (57), Doug Bodger (55), Kyle McLaren (44), Jan Hejda (43), Chris Neill (42), Derek Stepan (31), Joseph Blandisi (27), and Andreas Borgman (26).