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Red Wings' Drafts: 1963-72

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
This weekend the NHL will conduct its 50th amateur draft when the 30 clubs convene in Pittsburgh for the annual selection of young talent from around the world.

Each day this week, will present the top five draft picks for each of the five decades since the Original Six clubs first gathered for the inaugural draft on June 5, 1963 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.

Since that June day in Montreal, the Wings have selected 438 total players, many of whom enjoyed all-star careers and a few more that were fortunate to have won multiple Stanley Cup titles like Nicklas Lidstrom, Peter Mahovlich, Sergei Fedorov and Steve Yzerman.

Today we take a look at the top top Red Wings' picks from the first 10 years of the draft.

This week’s schedule:
Today – 1963-72
Tuesday – 1973-82
Wednesday – 1983-92
Thursday – 1993-2002
Friday – 2003-11

  • 1,348 Games
    Marcel Dionne
  • 731 Goals, 1,771 Points
  • Eight-time All Star
  • 1980 Art Ross Trophy winner
  • Two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner
  • Two-time Ted Lindsay Award winner
  • Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992
The Red Wings first real big catch in the draft was Dionne, a floating hit-and-run center, who scored more points (366) in his first four NHL seasons than did Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull or Phil Esposito. But in 1974, Dionne informed the struggling Wings that he planned to exercise the option year on his contract for the upcoming 1974-75 season. In a well-publicized attempt to appease their young star, the Wings made him the team captain and unretired Sid Abel’s No. 12 for him. Dionne responded with just the second 100-plus point season in franchise history. Still, the Wings were hopeless in retailing their star when his agent Alan Eagleson began to shop his client to other NHL suitors, including free-spending Los Angeles owner Jack Kent Cooke, who avoided arbitration to pull off a trade for the free agent in June 1975.

Dionne helped the Kings reach the playoffs eight times, but they never got past the second round. He also led the league with 137 points in the 1979-80 season.

  • 638 Games
    Yvon Lambert
  • 206 Goals
  • 479 Points
  • Four-Time Stanley Cup winner

The most successful Detroit pick to come out of the 1970 draft never played in a Wings’ sweater. In fact, only two of the eight draftees ever played for the Wings. Defensemen Serge Lajeunesse and Tom Mellor combined to play in 129 NHL games for Detroit.

But the good one that got away was Lambert, whom the Wings left unprotected in the 1971 reverse draft. Playing for the Port Huron Flags, Lambert, who didn’t learn to skate until he was 14-years-old, was claimed by Montreal on June 9. The Canadiens sent Lambert to Nova Scotia of the AHL, where he led the league with 104 points and helped the Voyageurs to the 1973 Calder Cup. The next season, he was promoted to the Canadiens where he won four Stanley Cup titles in nine NHL seasons.

The 6-foot-2 forward from Drummondville, Quebec, was a rugged two-way player, who made up for his skating deficiencies through hard work and gritty determination. He helped make up one of the league’s most heralded power forward lines with Doug Risebrough and Mario Tremblay.

  • 884 Games
    Peter Mahovlich
  • 288 Goals, 773 Points
  • Four-Time Stanley Cup winner
  • Two-Time All Star
  • Scored incredible goal on USSR goalie Vladislav Tretiak in 1972 Summit Series

From the time he joined the NHL, Peter Mahovlich was known as Frank’s little brother, though “Little M” was five-inches taller than his older sibling. Peter will forever be the answer to a trivia question as the first-ever draft choice in Wings’ history. But his time in Detroit was anything but memorable. Mahovlich produced 19 points in 82 games in four seasons with the Wings, who traded him to Montreal in 1969.

Six years later, he had helped the Canadiens to a pair of Stanley Cup victories and with Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt as linemates, he turned into a play-making machine, distributing 82 assists while collecting an incredible 117-points during the 1974-75 season. Both numbers remain Habs’ records for assists and points by a centerman in a single season.

After a two-season stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mahovlich returned to Detroit where he played his final 104 NHL games in the early 1980s.

  • 457 Games
    Jimmy Rutherford
  • 151-227-59 Career Record
  • 3.65 Goals-Against Average
  • Won 2006 Stanley Cup as GM with Carolina Hurricanes

Rutherford was the second goalie every selected by the Red Wings, after 6-foot-2 netminder Grant Cole, who never played in the NHL. And in 1969, Rutherford was the first of eight goalies – and the only one selected in the first two rounds – taken that year. Though Rutherford only played in eight career Stanley Cup games, he was instrumental in helping the Montreal Junior Canadiens win the 1969 Memorial Cup. Rutherford’s Jr. Canadiens – along with such notables as Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Rejean Houle and Andre Moose Dupont – swept the Regina Pats in four straight games. … Rutherford posted three consecutive shutouts for Detroit in 1975-76, and he also collected a pair of assists in one game during the 1978-79 season.

  • 247 Games
    Henry Boucha
  • 53 Goals, 102 Points
  • Red Wings Rookie of the Year, 1973
  • Inducted into U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, 1995

Boucha was considered one of the best high school hockey players to ever emerge from Minnesota. The powerful Ojibwa Indian was drafted No. 16 overall by the Red Wings and joined the team after starring on the 1972 U.S. Olympic team that won the silver medal. Boucha’s red and white headbands became his trademark as he formed a solid line with Red Berenson and Bill Collins. He had a successful first season that earned him Detroit’s Rookie of the Year award, scoring a goal in his first NHL game and tying the record for the second fastest goal by scoring six-seconds into the first period. 
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