July 27 has not been a very newsworthy day in National Hockey League history. However, there was a big trade of Hockey Hall of Famers that ended rather one-sided when we look back on it 25 years later.
A Mid-summer Blockbuster
The St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers pulled off a huge deal on July 27, 1995, when they did a one-for-one swap of future Hall of Famers. The Blues traded forward Brendan Shanahan to the Whalers for 20-year-old defenseman Chris Pronger.
Shanahan was an established star at the time of the deal. He had scored 156 goals and 306 points in his four seasons with the Blues. Pronger, who was the number two overall all pick at the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, had yet to establish himself as a star. He had 10 goals and 44 points in the first 124 NHL games of career, at this point.
The Blues were the big winners of this trade. Shanahan scored 44 goals during the 1995-96 season for the Whalers. He was traded to the Detroit Red Wings just two games into the 1996-97 season, along with Brian Glynn, for Paul Coffey, Keith Primeau and a first-round draft pick that was used to select Nikos Tselios.
Meanwhile, Pronger played 598 games, over nine seasons, with the Blues. That’s 425 more games than Shanahan, Coffey, Primeau and Tselios played for the Whalers franchise combined. The 1999-00 season made Pronger a superstar when he scored 14 goals and 62 points to go along with his plus-52 rating. He won both the Norris and Hart Trophies that season for being voted both the best defenseman and most valuable player of the NHL.
Pronger was traded to the Edmonton Oilers prior to the 2005-06 season. After helping the Oilers reach the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks where he won the only championship of his career in 2007. He made a third trip to the Stanly Cup Final in 2010 with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Odds & Ends
On July 27, 1986, the Red Wings signed veteran free-agent defenseman Dave Lewis after spending the previous three seasons with the New Jersey Devils. Lewis played just 64 games over the next two seasons with the Red Wings before retiring.
After he retired in 1988, Lewis became an assistant coach in Detroit. He served as interim head coach for five games during the 1998-99 season. He was then the bridge between two big-name coaches when he took over for Scotty Bowman following his retirement in 2004. He was fired after two seasons and was eventually replaced by Mike Babcock.
Frank Zamboni died at the age of 87 on July 27, 1988. He, of course, invented the ice resurfacing machine that is used in ice rink all across the globe. He created his ice resurfacer in 1949. The Zamboni shaves off the ice surface, collects the shavings, washes the ice and puts down a fresh coat of water onto the rink. The iconic vehicle made a time-consuming task be done by one person in about 15 minutes. The Boston Bruins were the first NHL team to incorporate the machine in 1954.
The Flyers signed free-agent winger Shjon Podein, on July 27, 1994, who had spent the previous two seasons with the Oilers. Podein played 301 games for the Flyers of the next five seasons, scoring 44 goals and 92 points. He was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, on November 12, 1998, for defenseman Keith Jones. He was part of the 2001 Avalanche team that won the Stanley Cup.
Happy Birthday to You
Of the 26 current and former NHL players born on July 27, defenseman Andre Dupont played in the most games. Born on July 27, 1949, Dupont played in 810 career games, scoring 59 goals and 244 points, for the New York Rangers, Blues, Flyers and Quebec Nordiques. He never finished any of 13 NHL seasons with a minus rating and retired as a plus-302.
Dupont was drafted eighth overall by the Rangers in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft. He was traded to the Blues in 1971 and, just over a year later, he was moved to the Flyers. He had his best years in Philadelphia, playing in 549 games and winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. Dupont was traded once more, in 1980 to the Nordiques, where he played for three seasons before retiring in 1983.
The late George Allen, born on this date in 1914, is the leading goal scorer of the group. He lit the lamp 82 times during his career, which spanned between 1938 and 1947, for the Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens.
Defenseman Jason Woolley leads the July 27 birthday boys with 246 assists and 314 points. He played in 718 games for the Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres and Red Wings. He had a career-high 33 assists and 43 points for the Sabres during the 1998-99 season.
Doug Grant had the most goaltending wins, with 27 for both the Blues and Red Wings during the 1970s. Bill Johansen and Andy Barbe both only played in one NHL game with the Toronto Maple Leafs, in 1950 and 1951, respectively.
Other notable players born on this date include Craig Wolanin (53), Pavel Trnka (44), Andrew Desjardins (34), Simon Despres (29) and Carson Soucy (26).