June 6 has been a very busy day over through National Hockey League History. A pair of expansion drafts were held on this date, including the first one ever. Lord Stanley called California home for the first time and Bean Town acquired one of its most beloved players.
Expansion is the Word of the Day
Just one day after the NHL officially announced that it was doubling from six teams to 12, they held the first-ever Expansion Draft on June 6, 1967. Representatives from the California Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the St. Louis Blues gathered at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, in Montreal, to fill the rosters of their teams.
The six new teams each selected 20 players (two goaltenders and 18 skaters) off the current rosters of the “Original Six” clubs, who were allowed to protect one goaltender and 11 other players. Also excluded from the draft were “Junior” players, players who were young enough to still play junior hockey, but who were already playing professionally. Players who were sold to the minor league Western Hockey League and Central Professional Hockey League before June 1, 1966, were not eligible to drafted either.
After drawing for the draft order, the teams got down the business and the first 12 players picked were all goaltenders. The first three picks were future Hall of Famers: Terry Sawchuk (Kings), Bernie Parent (Flyers) and Glenn Hall (Blues). The first skater taken was center Gord Labossiere by the Kings with the 13th pick.
Five years later, on June 6, 1972, the New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames were in Montreal for another Expansion Draft. They got to select 21 total players with the existing 14 teams losing three players each. They were allowed to protect two goaltenders and 15 skaters. First-year pros were also exempt from the draft.
Just like in 1967, the first two picks for each team were goaltenders. Phil Myre of the Montreal Canadiens went first overall to the Flames. The Islanders took Billy Smith, from the Kings, as their second goaltender picked. He was their starting goaltender for all four of the Stanley Cup wins between 1980 and 1984.
Ducks Win One for California
The Anaheim Ducks beat the Ottawa Senators 6-2, on June 6, 2007, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final to win their first championship in franchise history. Despite being the last California team to join the NHL, they are first to win the Stanley Cup.
Andy McDonald’s power-play goal, with an assist from Ryan Getzlaf, gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. Travis Moen scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, with Corey Perry adding a goal and an assist. Daniel Alfredsson scored twice for the Senators in the losing effort. Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere only had to face 13 shots on the night.
Defenseman Scott Niedermayer was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player of the postseason. This was the fourth Stanley Cup win off his career after winning three with the New Jersey Devils.
Odds & Ends
On June 6, 1956, the NHL makes a big rule change at their annual Board of Governors meeting. The new rules called for a player serving a minor penalty to return to the ice after the opposing team scores a goal. Prior to this change, teams would get a full two-minute power play no matter how many goals they score.
On the same day as the 1967 Expansion Draft, the Blues made the first trade in their franchise history. They traded defenseman Rod Seiling back to the New York Rangers, after selecting him in the draft, in exchange for Tim Ecclestone, Gary Sabourin, Bob Plager and Gordon Kannegiesser. Seiling eventually did play for the Blues after signing as a free agent with them in 1976.
The Canadiens acquired Pete Mahovlich from the Detroit Red Wings, in exchange for Garry Monahan on June 6, 1969. Mahovlich played 580 games in Montreal, scoring 223 goals and 569 points, and won four Stanley Cups. Meanwhile, Monahan had just three goals and seven points with the Red Wings before being traded to the Kings.
Wayne Gretzky won the ninth and final Hart Trophy of his career, for being the NHL’s most valuable player, on June 6, 1989. He scored 54 goals and 168 points for the Kings. He won his nine Hart Trophies over a 10-year span, with 1988 being the only year of the 1980s in which didn’t win the award.
A year later, Gretzky’s former teammate, Mark Messier of the Edmonton Oilers, wins the Hart Trophy with 45 goals and 129 points. He is the first person other than Gretzky or Mario Lemieux to win the award since 1979. Gretzky did not go home empty-handed as he won the Art Ross Trophy, for leading the league in scoring, for the eighth time in his career.
On June 6, 1995, Vladimir Konstantinov scored the game-winning goal in double overtime as the Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. Keith Primeau, Stu Grimson and Paul Coffey all scored in regulation as the Red Wings took a 3-0 series lead.
Peter Forsberg scored the one and only playoff hat trick on June 6, 1996. The three goals came in the Colorado Avalanche’s 8-1 beating of the Florida Panthers, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. All of Forsberg’s goals come in the first period, along with Rene Corbet’s power-play goal, which proved to be the game-winner. Joe Sakic picked up four assists on the night.
The Blackhawks beat the Kings 3-2, on June 6, 2013, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. Marian Hossa broke a 2-2 deadlock just over a minute into the third period.
The Blackhawks held the Kings to just two shots on goal in the final frame and took a 3-1 series lead without the services of defenseman Duncan Keith, who served a one-game suspension for a high-sticking incident in Game 3.
Two years later, on June 6, 2015, the Blackhawks lost Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lighting. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy came into a relieve an injured Ben Bishop twice and stayed in after second time, less than eight minutes into the third period. He was in net when Jason Garrison broke the 3-3 to secure the win. Vasilevskiy became just the fourth goaltender to win a Stanley Cup Final game that he didn’t start and the first since Frank Pietrangelo did it for the Penguins in 1991.
Happy Birthday to You
Hall of Famer and current Boston Bruins president Cam Neely was born on June 6, 1965. He scored 396 goals and 694 points in 726 games over a 13-season career. He was the prototypical power forward, big and bruising, with a hard and accurate shot to go with the physical play.
Neely became a Bruin on 21st birthday, on June 6, 1986. The Vancouver Canucks traded him, an their first-round pick (third overall) to Boston for Barry Pederson. The Bruins used the draft pick to select Glen Wesley. It is easy to say that the Bruins won that trade.
Other players who were also born on this date include Ed Giacomin (81), Jean Hamel (68), Wayne Babych (62), Anson Carter (46), Niklas Sundstrom (45), Niklas Hjalmarsson (33), Markus Nutivaara (26) and Caleb Jones (23).