Fact, fiction and update on Hall


A comment by one of our readers in my last article piqued my interest, because I wasn’t sure it was accurate. I went looking for the answers and I was happy I did. I learned a lot during the research, and uncovered one of the oddest, and worst, trades that I’d never heard about.

Today we look at that trade, how a new owner and management team changed an entire organization and give an update on Taylor Hall.

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Let’s start with Hall. Hall broke a bone above his ankle on February 2nd against the San Jose Sharks. He saw the doctor within a few days and the diagnosis was that he would be out 4-6 weeks. Six weeks will be next Tuesday, and it looks like Hall will return to the lineup either next Wednesday vs. Columbus or Saturday the 21st vs. Philadelphia.

Hall resumed skating earlier this week I was told and is hoping to practice with the team when they return from their road trip. I spoke to Hall after he was injured and he said at that time he really wanted to get back on the ice, finish the season, and hopefully get an invite to play for Canada at the World Championships.

Barring a setback, it looks like Hall will play between 10-12 games down the stretch. I know some have suggested the Oilers should rest him, but if the doctor gives him a clean bill of health, the Oilers can’t sit him out. When we spoke in early February he was adamant he wanted to play, and after sitting out six weeks you can bet he is more anxious than ever to return to the lineup.

I’d guess we see him on the 21st against Philly, but maybe as early as the 18th against Columbus.

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  • Tough goal for Jets fans. Ondrej Pavelec gets beat by a wrist shot from centre with a minute to go, erasing a furious comeback by Winnipeg. The Jets occupy the second wild card spot with 78 points, but the Kings are only one point back with a game in hand. They were 63 seconds away from earning at least one point. The race in the west could come down to the final game of the season.
  • If I’m the Oilers I’d inquire about Nazem Kadri. Many players have needed a change of scenery. Kadri is only 24 years old. He had 44 points in 48 games in the shortened 2013 season, and had 50 points last year. It might be a bit of a risk, but I think it would be worth it. Just ask Dallas how they feel about Tyler Seguin. I’m not saying Kadri will be that good, but I’d make a call to Nonis if I was MacTavish.


One of the best parts about sports is how many differing opinions writers and fans have when it comes to players and the history of hockey. We all have our own bias regarding which players, coaches or prospects we like. Often we will take a stand and defend why we like or dislike a player. We can use numbers to back up our opinions, and often they are projections, but it makes for good fodder.

I enjoy reading different opinions, and while I don’t agree with all of them I try to see what angle they are coming from. Opinions based on feel or projection are hard to quantify, but it’s also difficult to say they are inaccurate.

Those discussions/debates will always happen on blogs, and I think they are great. However, I do believe when people make a statement based on past history and it is incorrect, we should correct it.

I’ve made many errors over the years and people point out them out, some graciously, others with a snide remark, but either way it is good because being accurate is important. Disagreeing with an opinion is different that clarifying a statistical error.

With that in mind, I felt it was necessary to look at the history of Red Wings drafting in the 1980’s.

In the comment section of my previous article, Ryan14 said the following about the Red Wings, and over 50 people “cheered” the comment, which suggests they agreed with the premise.

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“People tend to ignore the Red Wings of the 80s. Yeah they are patient
now, but when they were bad, they rushed their prospects just as
efficiently as the Oilers do. Yzerman went straight into the NHL.
Fedorov played one year in Russia before coming over. Lidstrom and
Konstantinov were wearing a Red Wing jersey two years after being
drafted. The Oilers are pretty much the Red Wings of the 80s. The Oil are just lacking a Fedorov, Lidstrom, Yzerman, Konstantinov.”

Ryan14 was correct on the timeline of Yzerman, Fedorov and Lidstrom’s arrival to the NHL after being drafted, however, Fedorov made his NHL debut at
20 in 1990/1991, Lidstrom was 21 1991/1992 while Konstantinov debuted the same season at 24 years of age. And they all debuted on teams that made the playoffs. None of them were rushed, they were all ready for the NHL. Fedorov had 79 points, Lidstrom had 60 as a D-man, while Konstantinov was a solid second pairing defender.

In fact, Fedorov, Lidstrom and Konstantinov never missed the playoffs while in Detroit, so I don’t see a comparison to the start of their careers to the current edition of the Oilers. Age makes a big difference when debuting in the NHL, not to mention three of them are Hall of Famers, their talent was pretty incredible, and as a bonus for Fedorov, he came in when Yzerman was in his eighth NHL season. He had the luxury of playing behind Yzerman and learning from him.

The other thing is the Red Wings didn’t rush many players in the 1980s. Here is their draft record, which is freakishly good, from the decade of the 1980s.

1980...Mike Blaisdell drafted 11th overall. He was 20 years old when drafted and played half a season in the AHL before finishing with the Red Wings. He played 343 NHL games, and might have benefited from more time in the AHL. Mark Osbourne was taken in the second round, and he made his NHL debut at 21 and played 919 NHL games. The other picks never played an NHL game.

1981. Despite missing the playoffs they didn’t have a first round pick. Traded it. Claude Loiselle (2nd round, 616 games) played two more years in junior, then split his time between the AHL and NHL over the next three seasons, playing 29, 30 and 48 NHL games. He became a regular in NHL when he was traded to the Devils in 1986. Gerard Gallant was their best pick (fourth round, 616 games). He played two more years of junior, then 1 1/2 years in AHL before being a regular in 1985/86. Rick Zombo (8th round, 652 games), Greg Stefan (seventh round, 299 games) and Robert Nordmark (tenth round, 236 games) also played over 200 NHL games.
1982...Murray Craven taken 17th and played 1071 NHL  games. He was drafted at 18, and spent the next two seasons, mainly in the WHL. He was similar to Draisaitl, played 30 NHL games and then went back to junior. The next year he played 15 NHL games, but spent most of the season in the WHL scoring 94 points in 48 games.  He was traded that summer and became an NHL regular at 21 in Philadelphia. Other draft picks that year that made it were Craig Coxe (fourth round, 235 games) and Brad Shaw (fifth round, 377 games). Coxe debuted in NHL at 21, while Shaw became a regular in 1989 with Hartford.
1983..Yzerman went 4th overall. Great pick. He made the playoffs his first season, ending a five-year drought for the Wings. They also had four other picks who went on to play 729+ NHL games. Bob Probert (5th round, 935 games), Petr Klima (5th round, 786 games) Joey Kocur (fifth round, 821 games) and Stu Grimson (10th round, 729 games). To be accurate, Grimson never signed with Wings and was drafted by Calgary in 1985. He played two years of University hockey before making NHL debut with Flames in 1989.

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You could make a strong argument they rushed their second round pick this year, Lane Lambert. He went directly to the Wings. He turned 19 a month into the season, but in hindsight might have benefited from staying in junior. He played 283 NHL games, but considering how many other draft picks from this class had long careers, I’d say they knew what they were doing the majority of the time.

1984…Shawn Burr taken 7th overall…Didn’t play in NHL until he was 20.
Played 878 games. Doug Houda, a 2nd rounder, played 561 games. Wasn’t a regular in NHL until 1988.
1985...Brent Fedyk was taken eighth overall…Didn’t play regular in NHL until
he was 23. Played 470 games. Steve Chiasson (3rd round, 751 games) and Randy McKay (5th
round, 952 games) also had solid NHL careers. Chiasson spilt his 19 year old year between NHL and AHL. Was a regular at 20. Mckay was a regular by 1990, after college and 1 1/2 years in the AHL.
1986Joe Murphy was the 1st overall pick. He played in the AHL at 19, and then was up and down between the AHL and NHL at 20 and 21. He was dealt to Oilers and won Cup in 1990. Adam Graves (2nd round, 1152 games) played two more years of junior and was then a regular in the NHL at 20.  He was traded in his 2nd year to the Oilers and won a Cup. Goalie Tim Cheveldae (4th round, 320 games) and Johan Garpenlov (5th round, 609 games) also had solid NHL careers.
1987…Off year for Wings. Only their first rounder, Yves Racine (11th
overall, 508 games), played more than 23 NHL games. He spent two more years in junior, one in AHL and was in the NHL regularly at 21. 
1988…Another off year, only Sheldon Kennedy (4th round, 308 games) played in the NHL. He was in the AHL at 20, played the next three years mainly in AHL, getting into 54 NHL games, and then he became a regular at 23. Their 1st round pick Kory Kocur, 17th overall, was drafted at 19, played one year in junior and then spent two seasons in the AHL and two more in the now-defunct IHL. He wasn’t rushed, he simply didn’t pan out.
1989…They drafted four players who played 1000 games. Mike Sillinger (11th
overall, 1049 games) played two more years in junior, one in AHL and was in NHL at 21. Lidstrom (3rd round, 1564 games), Fedorov (4th round, 1248 games) and Dallas Drake (sixth round, 1009 games) who debuted in NHL at 23.
They also drafted Bob Boughner (second round, 608 games), who didn’t play in NHL until 1995, and Konstantinov (11th round, 446 games) who had his career cut short due to a car accident.

The Red Wings didn’t rush many players to the NHL who weren’t ready, other than Lambert and Blaisdell, and none were a top-ten pick, but in throughout that decade they had an incredible amount of success drafting and developing players.

The major gaffe of the organization was that despite missing the playoffs in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983, the only top-five pick they had was Steve Yzerman. They traded their 1980 and 1981 picks to Los Angeles under odd circumstances.

The Wings signed 31-year-old goalie Rogie Vachon away from the Kings in the summer of 1978. An arbitrator ruled the Kings would get Dale McCourt, the Wings #1 overall pick from 1977 as compensation. McCourt refused to report so the Wings ended up having to trade their first pick in 1980 and 1981 to the Kings instead. In 1980, the Kings used the #4 pick to select Larry Murphy and in 1981 they selected Doug Smith with the  #2 overall pick. **The Kings had the option to use Detroit’s second pick in 1980 or the 1st in 1981 and chose the later.**

The Wings basically got a 31-year-old goalie for a #4 and #2 overall pick. It was a terrible deal.

They weren’t done wheeling and dealing though. In August of 1981, they wanted to try and improve so they traded their 1982 first round pick to Minnesota for Greg Smith, Don Murdoch and Minnesota’s 1st round choice in 1982 (Craven,17th overall). The Wings ended up finishing second last and Minnesota selected Brian Bellows with the #2 pick.

The Wings didn’t rush their top picks in the early 1980s, they traded those picks away before the season had begun.

The Red Wings overall drafting in the 1980s was very solid. Ted Lindsay (March 16th, 1977 to April 11th,1980) was the GM who gave up the 1980 and 1981 picks, while Jimmy Skinner (April 11th,1980 to July, 12th 1982) was the GM who traded the Bellows pick.

Jimmy Devellano was named GM in July 1982, after Mike Ilitch purchased the team from Bruce Norris. Devellano’s first draft landed the Wings Yzerman, Lambert, Boughner, Probert, Klima and Kocur. I’d say that was a pretty good draft class.

The Red Wings have only missed the playoffs three times, 1983, 1986 and 1990, since Ilitch purchased the team in the summer of 1982 and hired Devellano. Ilitch has become one of the best owners in pro sports, he hired good people and built a solid management group for the past 32 NHL seasons.

Leadership of great organizations starts at the top, and that is the area the Oilers need to improve.

Recently by Jason Gregor:         

  • toprightcorner

    Detroit Model:

    1)draft well in all rounds

    2)patience in developing players

    Oilers Model:

    1)pick a name out of a hat at the draft

    2)at training camp, throw the sticks in the middle and pick 4 teenagers to play in the NHL

    One of these is not like the other!

  • This is a very late comment Gregor (out of country) but I am anyway.

    I always laugh when people refer to the ‘Red Wing’ way when drafting & developing! I lived through those late 80’s & early 90’s in the NHL & it wasn’t any great plan on the Red Wings, Rangers, Flyers, Devils etc it was purely small market teams like the Oilers, Flames etc that got raided of their talent when they couldn’t pay the big $ that those teams could & did. What you failed to acknowledge is the quality FA’s or potential FA’s that these teams picked up at that time to fill in the holes where needed! Do you actually think a young player was going to supplant Brett Hull or Brendan Shanahan for that matter! This is where all the difference makers ended up. The 94 champion NYR was virtually full of ex-Oiler difference makers. Think about how long of a run if that Oiler team had stuck together if $’s didn’t rule the roost! No, it was no great plan of the RW’s, it was just a matter of opening up the wallet & buying the best team money could buy!