When Pat Price was tearing it up with the Saskatoon Blades as a junior hotshot, those prone to hyperbole were talking about the unquestionably talented blueliner from Nelson B.C. as the next Bobby Orr and a potential Hockey Hall of Fame candidate. In that regard, he was a total bust.
Drafted first overall by the WHA’s Vancouver Blazers in 1974 and 11th by the New York Islanders in 1975, it turned out Price wasn’t even the next Bobby Baun. Price would, however, eventually end up in the B.C. sports hall of fame after an NHL career spanning 726 games, including 134 with the Edmonton Oilers after being acquired in the 1979 expansion draft.
Pat Price #26
|BIRTHDATE||March 24th, 1955|
|BIRTHPLACE||Nelson, BC, Canada|
|DRAFTED||NYI / 1975 NHL Amateur Draft|
|ROUND||1st (11th overall)|
BY THE NUMBERS
|1975-76||FORT WORTH TEXANS-CHL||72||6||44||50||119|
CAREER PLAYOFF STATISTICS
When the Blazers threw a contract worth $1.3 million over five years at Price – the most lucrative deal for a rookie at the time — he happily took it, but struggled mightily in Vancouver. Price drew criticism for being lazy and out of shape. He was better known for racing around Vancouver in his new Ferrari, and crashing it, than for anything he accomplished on the ice.
Price jumped to the Islanders in 1975-76 and spent four years trying to live up to the hype that surrounded him turning pro. He never came close. By the time he arrived in Edmonton for the 1979-80 season, Price was 24 and the buzz was gone. The question by the time the Oilers got him prior to their first NHL season was if Price could stick in the NHL at all.
Price would stick, settling in with the Oilers, a collection of unproven draft picks, WHA veterans and marginal NHL cast-offs, starting to take shape as the rugged and serviceable, if unspectacular, blueliner he’d become for the balance of his career.
Occasionally during his tenure with the Oilers, Price would flash bits of the play-making ability he’d shown as a junior. He managed 32 points in each of this two seasons in Edmonton, managing it in 1980-81 in just 59 games with rookie Paul Coffey as one of his defensive partners before being traded to Pittsburgh for Pat Hughes. Price had 10 more points with the Penguins to give him 42 on the year, his best NHL season offensively.
Price also played with some edge – as he would most of his career. His 134 penalty minutes in 1979-80 was fifth on the Oilers. He led the Oilers with 193 PIMs in 1980-81 before the trade to Pittsburgh.
There’s no question Price never lived up to the ridiculous advance billing that accompanied him when he turned pro, but the parts of two seasons he spent in Edmonton after outright fails in Vancouver and New York set the stage for a pretty decent career.
This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up.
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