This date, in 1995, proved to be a very eventful one with the National Hockey League’s annual Entry Draft and the usual dealings that go with it. Over the years, it has also seen some veteran players end up in new places and a successful coach getting his first job in the league.
A Busy Day in 1995
Due to the late start and finish of the 1994-95 season because of a lockout, the NHL Entry Draft was held much later than usual, on July 8, 1995. The 26 teams of the NHL gathered in Edmonton, AB for the nine-round draft.
A Bevy of Moves
Before the draft began, there was plenty of action with teams swapping players and picks. The biggest traded saw the Vancouver Canucks obtain Alexander Mogilny from the Buffalo Sabres, in exchange for Mike Peca, Mike Wilson, and their first-round pick.
Mogilny scored 55 goals and 107 points in his first season with the Canucks, but his numbers declined going forward. He was eventually traded to the New Jersey Devils, in 2000, for Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson, after 139 goals and 308 points in 312 contests.
Peca went on to play 363 games for the Sabres, scoring 96 goals and 217 points. Wilson, a defenseman, made his NHL debut in the 1995-96 season and played 231 games in Buffalo before getting traded to the Florida Panthers, in 1999, for the draft pick that turned into Ryan Miller. The draft pick acquired from the Canucks (14th overall) was used to take Jay McKee, who played 10 seasons on the Buffalo blue line.
On that same day, The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired veteran defenseman, Larry Murphy, from the Pittsburgh Penguins, in exchange for Dmitri Mironov and a second-round pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
Murphy scored 19 goals and 100 points in 151 games for the Maple Leafs before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings during the 1996-97 season. Mironov played in 87 games for the Penguins. He was dealt to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in November of 1996. The second-round pick was eventually traded to the Devils and was used on Josh DeWolf, who never played in the NHL.
The St. Louis Blues signed veteran center Dale Hawerchuk, on this date too, after he spent the previous five seasons with the Sabres. The future Hall of Famer scored 13 goals and 41 points in 66 games for the Blues before he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers, on March 15, 1996, for Craig MacTavish.
A Run of Defenseman
When the actual draft began, the first three picks were used on defensemen. The Ottawa Senators selected Bryan Berard, who joined Brain Lawton (1983) and Mike Modano (1988) as the only American-born players to be selected with the first overall pick. The New York Islanders drafted Wade Redden ahead of the Aki Berg going to the Los Angeles Kings at number three.
The top two picks, Berard and Redden, never play for the teams they are drafted by. After refusing to sign with Ottawa, the Senators trade Berard to the Islanders, in January of 1996, with Don Beaupre and Martin Straka for Redden and Damian Rhodes
Berard went on to win the Calder Trophy, for being the top rookie in the league, after the 1996-97 season. He’s eventually traded to the Maple Leafs, in 1999, for goaltender Felix Potvin. Redden became a fixture for a decade on the Senators blue line, playing 838 of his 1023 career NHL games in Ottawa.
Other notable first-round picks in 1995 included Shane Doan (7th, Winnipeg Jets), Jarome Iginla (11th, Dallas Stars), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (13th, Hartford Whalers), Petr Sykora (18th, Devils) and Brian Boucher (22nd, Flyers).
Some of the better picks after the opening round were Sami Kapanen (87th, Whalers), Marc Savard (91st, New York Rangers), Michal Handzus (101st, Blues), Miikka Kiprusoff (116th, San Jose Sharks), Brent Sopel (144th, Canucks), Stephane Robidas (164th, Canadiens) and Filip Kuba (192nd, Panthers).
Odds & Ends
On July 8, 1988, the Boston Bruins signed free agent defenseman Garry Galley, who played for the Washington Capitals the previous season. He played in 257 games for the Bruins, scoring 24 goals and 106 points from the back end. In January of 1992, he was traded to Flyers, along with Wes Walz and a third-round draft pick, for Gord Murphy, Brian Dobbin and a pair of mid-round draft picks.
Ed Olczyk signed with the Kings on July 8, 1996. Los Angeles was the fifth of six different teams he would play for during his 16-season NHL career. Olczyk’s tenure with the Kings lasted only 67 games, where he scored 21 goals and 44 points. He was moved to the Penguins, at the 1997 trade deadline, for Glen Murray.
The Rangers signed Theoren Fleury to a three-year, $21 million contract, with an option for a fourth-year, on July 8, 1999. The outspoken winger struggled to live up to the pressure of the big deal by scoring just 15 goals in his first season with the Rangers.
Fleury bounced back in the 2000-01 season. He was leading the team in scoring and was fourth in the league with 74 points, 62 games into the season. However, his season came to an end when he entered the league’s substance abuse program. He scored 24 goals and 63 points during his final season with the Rangers, one that was plagued with plenty of controversies. The team did not exercise their option and traded Fleury to the Sharks for a sixth-round pick.
Also, on this date in 1999, Dave Tippett got his first NHL coaching job. He is brought on by the Kings as an assistant coach after leading the Houston Aeros to an International Hockey League (IHL) championship. He remained on the Kings’ staff before getting his first head coaching job with the Stars in 2002. He coached the Arizona Coyotes for eight seasons before taking the Edmonton Oilers job prior to the 2019-20 season. Tippett’s 590 career wins are the fifth-most among active coaches.
Happy Birthday to You
There are 27 current or former NHL players who were born on this date through the decades. The most accomplished of the lot include Greg Smith (65), Brad Maxwell (63), Jan Erixon (58), Mike Ridley (57), Alex Gusarov (56), Glen Featherstone (52), Karl Dykhuis (48), Rich Peverley (38), Nikita Gusev (28), Dean Kukan (27), Andrew Copp (26), Zack MacEwen (24) and Haydn Fleury (24).