Steve Brklacich was a hockey lifer, a minor pro player, coach, and eventually -- as longtime hockey writer Andy O'Brien called him -- "a keen-eyed scout with a name like an optician's chart." In 1966, while scouting for the New York Rangers, Brklacich watched junior defenseman Brad Park skate for the Toronto Marlboros and wrote in his report to general manager Emile Francis that this particular 17-year-old "would be an earlier-than-expected All-Star whose style could keep him in the NHL for 20 years."
Now that was some pretty good scouting. Brklacich's assessment led Francis to select Park with the No. 2 pick in the 1966 NHL Draft, launching a Hall of Fame career that confirmed Brklacich's vision: After finishing third in voting for the Calder Trophy, given to the League's top rookie, Park made the NHL First All-Star Team in his second season at age 21, showing the world what Brklacich saw: "a rare combination of aggressiveness with poise beyond his years."
For more of Brad Park's 100 Greatest Players bio, please click here.