Greg Boysen The Hockey Writers
Today in Hockey History: Aug. 27
A very impressive group of players were enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame on his date in 1996. Aug. 27 also saw some trade action out of Motown as well as the birth of possibly the best undrafted player to ever skate in the National Hockey League.
’66 Class Packs a Punch
The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted a large class on Aug. 27, 1966. Among the group of 10 were Toe Blake and Elmer Lach, who formed the “Punch Line” with Maurice Richard for the Montreal Canadiens. The duo joined their old linemate, who inducted into the Hall five years earlier.
Blake scored 235 goals and 529 points in 577 games for the Canadiens. He scored 24 goals and a league-leading 47 points during the 1938-39 season, winning the Hart Trophy for being voted the league’s most valuable player. He won three Stanley Cups as a player and eight more during his 13-season stint as Canadiens’ head coach.
Lach spent his entire 14-year playing career in Montreal. He scored 215 goals and 623 points in 664 games. He won the Hart Trophy for his 26 goals and 80 points during the regular season. In 1948, he was the first player to ever win the Art Ross Trophy for leading the NHL in scoring with 61 points. He was also part of three championship teams.
Detroit Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay was also part of this class. The four-time Stanley Cup winner scored 379 points and 851 points in 1,068 career games. He scored at least 30 goals in a season four times during his career. The NHL now gives out the Ted Lindsay Award every season to the player voted as the most outstanding by the members of the players’ association.
The other players who entered the Hall of Fame in 1966 were Canadiens’ defensemen Butch Bouchard and Ken Reardon, Boston Bruins goaltender Frank Brimsek, defenseman Babe Pratt, who played for the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Bruins, Maple Leafs forward Ted Kennedy and Max Bentley, who played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Maple Leafs and Rangers. Former NHL President Clarence Campbell was also inducted in the builder category.
Red Wings Pull Off Two Trades
On Aug. 27, 1974, the Red Wings traded Henry Boucha, and his trademark headband, to acquire Danny Grant from the Minnesota North Stars. Grant won the Calder Trophy for being the league’s top rookie during the 1968-69 season. He exploded for 50 goals in his first season in Detroit. A ruptured thigh muscle limited him to just 12 goals and 81 games over the next two seasons before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1978. Boucha played just one season for the North Stars, scoring 15 goals and 29 points in 51 games.
Fast forward to Aug. 27, 1996, and the Red Wings traded veteran winger Dino Ciccarelli to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a conditional draft pick.
Ciccarelli scored 107 goals and 240 points in his four seasons with Detroit. The future Hall of Famer scored 35 goals and 60 points during the 1996-97 season for the Lightning. He was later traded to the Florida Panthers midway through the following season. The draft pick, a fourth-rounder in 1998, was eventually traded to the Maple Leafs and they selected Alexei Ponikarovsky.
Odds & Ends
On Aug. 27, 1992, the Canadiens traded Shayne Corson, Brent Gilchrist and Vladimir Vujtek to the Edmonton Oilers for Vincent Damphousse. He had instant success in Montreal with 79 goals and 196 points in his first two seasons there. He scored 184 goals and 498 points in 519 games before he was traded to the San Jose Sharks in 1999.
Corson had the best run of the three players acquired by the Oilers. He scored 53 goals and 137 points in 192 games. Gilchrist was traded to the North Stars, before the end of the 1993-94 season, for center Todd Elik. Vujtek scored just five goals in 70 games for the Oilers. He was traded to the Lightning in the summer of 1997.
One year later, on Aug. 28, 1993, the Kings traded Marty McSorley to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Shawn McEachern. This trade was essentially voided on Feb. 16, 1994, when McSorely was traded back to the Kings, along with Jim Paek, for McEachern and Tomas Sandstrom.
The Buffalo Sabres signed forward and future Canadiens head coach, Randy Cunneyworth, to a multi-year deal on Aug. 27, 1998. Cunneyworth played the first two seasons of his career with the Sabres after they drafted him in the eighth round (167th overall) of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. His second stint only last 14 games, the final 14 games of his 16-season career that saw him play for six different teams.
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim signed free-agent defenseman Fredrik Olausson, on Aug. 27, 1998, less than two years after they traded him to the Penguins. He scored 31 goals and 90 points over the next two seasons. He won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings during the 2001-02 season before returning to Anaheim for one final season in the league.
Happy Birthday to You
A total of 23 players who have skated in the NHL were born on this date. The first was Moylan McDonnell, born on Aug. 27, 1889, who played 22 games for Hamilton Tigers during the 1920-21 season. The most recent is Blackhawks forward Brandon Hagel, turning 22 today, who made his debut late in the 2019-20 regular season.
Adam Oates, by far, had the best career out of this group. Born on Aug. 27, 1962, in Weston, Ontario, Oates was never drafted in the NHL. He was signed as a free agent by the Red Wings, in 1985, after rewriting the record books at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
His career takes an upward turn when he is traded to the St. Louis Blues, in 1989, for Bernie Federko. He has 90 assists and 115 points for the Blues during the 1990-91 season. During the following season, Oates is dealt to the Bruins for Craig Janney and Stephane Quintal. It is in Boston where he as his best season with 45 goals, 97 assists and 142 points; all career highs.
He also spent time playing for the Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Ducks and Oilers. He retired in 2004 after 1,337 games where he scored 341 goals and 1,420 points. Oates was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.
Other notable players celebrating birthdays today are Doug Robinson (80), Manny Fernandez (46), Aaron Downey (46), Karel Rachunek (41) and Troy Grosenick (31).
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