Today in Hockey History: June 24

Two National Hockey League seasons concluded on this date, one in a very memorable fashion. June 24 has also hosted four different NHL Entry Drafts over the years which welcomed in plenty of star power into the league.

17 Seconds

The term “17 Seconds” means two different things depending on which hockey team you are a fan of. To Chicago Blackhawks fans, it is a term that represents one of their favorite moments in team history, but for fans of the Boston Bruins, it reminds them of a devastating defeat.

On June 24, 2013, the Blackhawks won their second championship in four seasons by beating the Bruins 3-2, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Boston took a 1-0 lead into the second period thanks to a goal from Chris Kelly, his second of the playoffs. Jonathan Toews scored the lone goal of the middle frame to even the game at 1-1.

Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
June 24 has been very good to Toews. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Milan Lucic gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead with just under eight minutes to play in the game and as the time ticked off the clock, it seemed like the two teams would be returning to Chicago for a seventh game.

Then, with 1:16 left in the third period, Toews found Bryan Bickell in front of the net for the game-tying goal. The Blackhawks weren’t done because, 17 seconds later, they stunned the Bruins to take a 3-2 lead. Michal Frolik redirected a shot by defenseman Johnny Oduya that hit the post. Dave Bolland got inside position on Johnny Boychuk to sweep the loose puck home and give the Blackhawks the lead.

The Blackhawks held on for the final 59 seconds of the game to cap off a whirlwind season with hockey’s ultimate prize. Patrick Kane was given the Conn Smythe Trophy for being voted the most valuable player of the 2013 postseason. He scored nine goals and 19 points in 23 games. His playoff run started off slow, but he scored seven of his nine goals in the Western Conference and Stanley Cup Finals.

Devils Complete the Sweep

The New Jersey Devils finished off their sweep of the heavily-favored Detroit Red Wings, on June 24, 1995, by beating them 5-2, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. The win gave the Devils their first championship in franchise history, which started in Kansas City and had a stop in Colorado before finally calling New Jersey home in 1982.

Neal Broten got the home crowd going by putting the Devils up 1-0 just over a minute into the game. Sergei Federov answered to tie the game just 55 seconds later. Paul Coffey’s shorthanded goal gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead, but defenseman Shawn Chambers drew the Devils even before the end of the opening period.

Broten’s second goal of the game, midway through the second period, proved to be the game-winner. Sergei Brylin and Chambers added insurance goals in the second period to seal the deal.

Devils forward Claude Lemieux won the Conn Smythe Trophy for scoring 13 goals, including three game-winners, and 16 points in 20 playoff games.

Relocation and Expansion

The Atlanta Flames officially relocated to Calgary on June 24, 1980. The franchise spent eight seasons in Atlanta and made the Stanley Cup playoffs six times. However, they failed to win a single series. They played their first game in Calgary, at the Stampede Corral, on Oct. 9, 1980, and tied 5-5 with the Quebec Nordiques. Guy Chouinard was the first player in a Calgary Flames uniform to score a goal.

The brain trusts of the Florida Panthers and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim got together in Quebec City, on June 24, 1993, to fill out their rosters at the NHL Expansion Draft. The other 24 teams were able to protect one goaltender, five defensemen and nine forwards. All first-year pros were exempt from the draft. 48 players were chosen, two from each team, and only one goaltender or defenseman could be picked from each team.

The Panthers selected goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck of the Vancouver Canucks with the first pick, while the Mighty Ducks took St. Louis Blues netminder Guy Hebert. Both goaltenders started the first game in their respective franchise’s history later that fall.

Some of the Panthers more notable picks included Joe Cirella, Gord Murphy, Tom Fitzgerald, Scott Mellanby and Brian Skrudland. Ron Tugnutt, Stu Brimson, Joe Sacco, Bob Corkum and Terry Yake were among the players selected by the Mighty Ducks.

Welcome to the NHL

A total of four different NHL Entry Drafts have been held on June 24 over the years. The first occurred on this date in 2000 in Calgary. New York Islanders’ general manager Mike Milbury used the first overall pick to draft goaltender Rick DiPietro. It is the first time since the Montreal Canadiens took Michel Plasse, in 1968, that a netminder was picked first. The Islanders made room for him by trading Olli Jokinen and Roberto Luongo to the Panthers in exchange for Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish.

Dany Heatly went second to the Atlanta Thrashers before the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets made their first-ever draft picks in franchise history. Marian Gaborik went third to the Wild and the Blue Jackets selected defenseman Rostislav Klesla.

Other notable picks from this draft include Scott Hartnell (6th, Nashville Predators), Justin Williams (28th, Philadelphia Flyers), Niklas Kronwall (29th, Red Wings), Antoine Vermette (55th, Ottawa Senators), Dominic Moore (95th, New York Rangers), Deryk Engelland (194th, Devils) and Henrik Lundqvist (205th, Rangers).

Vancouver hosted the NHL Entry Draft on June 24, 2006. Before the draft, the Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs made a rather one-sided trade. The Bruins traded netminder Andrew Raycroft in exchange for goaltending prospect Tuukka Rask, who was selected 21st overall in 2005. Raycroft spent less than two seasons in Toronto while Rask is still playing at an All-Star level in Boston.

Tuukka Rask Boston Bruins
Rask became a Bruin on this date in 2006. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

At the actual draft, the Blues took defenseman Erik Johnson with the first overall pick. After the Pittsburgh Penguins drafted Jordan Staal, the Blackhawks altered their franchise by drafted Toews with the third overall pick. The top five was rounded out with the Washington Capitals taking Nicklas Backstrom fourth and Phil Kessel going to the Bruins.

Some other members of the 2006 draft class include Claude Giroux (22nd, Flyers) Semyon Varlamov (23rd, Capitals), Lucic (50th, Bruins), Brad Marchand (71st, Bruins), Cal Clutterbuck (72nd, Wild), James Reimer (99th, Maple Leafs) and Mathieu Perreault (177th, Capitals).

The 2011 NHL Entry Draft began on this date, in St. Paul, MN. The hosting Wild made a big trade as they sent defenseman Brent Burns to the San Jose Sharks for forwards Charlie Coyle and Devin Setoguchi and a first-round pick. That pick was used on Zack Phillips, who never made it to the NHL.

The Edmonton Oilers used the first pick of the draft to select Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Gabriel Landeskog went second to the Colorado Avalanche, while the Panthers used the third overall pick to grab Jonathan Huberdeau.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Edmonton Oilers
Nugent-Hopkins was drafted first overall on June 24, 2011. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Other impactful picks from this draft include Mike Zibanejad (6th, Senators), Mark Scheifele (7th, Winnipeg Jets), Sean Couturier (8th, Flyers), John Gibson (39th, Ducks), Brandon Saad (43rd, Blackhawks), William Karlsson (53rd, Ducks), Nikita Kucherov (58th, Tampa Bay Lightning), Vincent Trocheck (64th, Panthers) and Johnny Gaudreau (104th, Flames).

Auston Matthews officially became an NHL player, on June 24, 2016, when he was taken first overall by the Maple Leafs. The Jets used the second overall pick to take Patrik Laine out of Finland. A very impressive top three was rounded out when the Blue Jackets drafted Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews has lived up to the hype. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

A few of the better picks from the 2016 draft include Matthew Tkachuk (6th, Flames), Clayton Keller (7th, Arizona Coyotes), Charlie McAvoy (14th, Bruins), Jakob Chychrun (16th, Coyotes), Alex Debrincat (39th, Blackhawks), Samuel Girard (47th, Predators), Carter Hart (48th, Flyers), Victor Mete (100th, Canadiens) and Jesper Bratt (162nd, Devils).

Odds & Ends

Guy Lafleur signed to play junior hockey, on June 24, 1969, with the Quebec Ramparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In his two seasons with the team, he scored 233 goals and 379 points in just 118 games.

On June 24, 1976, defenseman Bobby Orr signed with the Blackhawks as a free agent, after 11 seasons with the Bruins. Unfortunately, Chicago only got a shell of the Hall of Famer the league had been used to seeing. Knee injuries limited him to just 26 games in a Blackhawks uniform over two seasons.

Bobby Orr, Chicago Blackhawks
Orr’s time with the Blackhawks was rather forgettable (THW Archives)

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its newest members on June 24, 1986. Leo Boivin, Dave Keon, Serge Savard and builder William Hanley were all inducted the following fall.

The Penguins became the first Stanley Cup championship team to visit the White House, on June 24, 1991. George Bush welcomed the team that had nine U.S. born players on the roster including Tom Barrasso, Joe Mullen and Kevin Stevens.

Happy Birthday to You

There is a rather impressive group of 21 current and former NHL players who were born on this date. Among those having June 24 birthdays are Wayne Cashman (76), Tom Reid (74), Bernie Nicholls (59), Gary Suter (56), Uwe Krupp (55), Shane Churla (55), Jere Lehtinen (47), Marek Malik (45), Jarret Stoll (38), Michael Del Zotto (30), Pierre-Luc Dubois (22) and the late Johnny Gottselig and Dave Creighton.