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Red Wings' Drafts: 1973-82

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
In the decade leading up to a change in ownership, the Red Wings selected 114 amateur players in the NHL draft from 1973 to ’83. Of those, only 61 prospects made it to “The Show” with only two – Mike Foligno and Murray Craven – logging more than 1,000 career games. Yet neither forward made’s list of top five draft picks from that era.

In total, 61 prospects eventually played in 15,418 NHL games, including the Hanson brothers from the 1977 motion picture “Slap Shot”. All three – Dave Hanson and ‘real’ brothers Jack and Steve Carlson – were drafted by the Wings in the mid-70s.

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 between 1973 and '82.

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

  • 904 Games
    Reed Larson
  • 222 Goals, 685 Points
  • Three-time NHL All Star
  • Won NCAA national championship at University of Minnesota
Larson sure dismissed the stigma about U.S. collegiate players when he blazed his way into the Red Wings’ record book during the 1977-78 season, his rookie campaign. The 6-foot defenseman had a booming shot from the point. His shot was so hard that it occasionally broken opponents’ sticks. He set franchise marks for most goals (19) and points (60) by a rookie defenseman. In the seasons that followed he set defensive records for single-season goals (27), power-play goals (11) and game-winners (5). By his fifth NHL season, Larson joined Bobby Orr and Denis Potvin as the only defensemen in league history to record 20 or more goals in five straight seasons.

In his sophomore season, Larson produced 18 goals and 49 assists, thus tying an NHL record for points (67) in a season by a U.S. born player. By Oct. 1984, he had set a new Wings’ record for points by a defenseman when he collected point No. 473 to past Hall of Famer Red Kelly. Injuries and several surgeries began to take a toll on Larson’s productivity and in 1986 he was traded to Boston for defenseman Mike O’Connell.
  • 928 Games
    John Ogrodnick
  • 402 Goals, 827 Points
  • Five-time NHL All Star
  • Scored 55 goals in the 1984-85 season
A two-time Memorial Cup champion as a right winger with the New Westminster Bruins, Ogrodnick switched to left wing when he joined the Red Wings and new linemates Dale McCourt and Mike Foligno for the 1979-80 season. And it didn’t take long for him to become a prolific scorer, leading the Wings in goals for six consecutive seasons beginning in 1980-81 when he potted 35 goals. Four seasons later, Ogrodnick’s name was added to the record book when he joined Mickey Redmond and Danny Grant as the only players in franchise history to reach the 50-goal plateau when he scored a team-high 55 in 1984-85 – a mark that stood until Steve Yzerman scored 65 in 1988-89. In 1984, Ogrodnick was voted a starter to the All-Star Game, breaking a 14-year drought for Detroit players in the All-Star starting lineup.

Ogrodnick was later traded to Quebec, where he helped the Nordiques to the 1987 division finals against Montreal, tying for the team lead in goals (nine) with Michel Goulet. After a five-season stint with the New York Rangers, Ogrodnick returned to Detroit for his 14th and final NHL season. 

  • 532 Games
    Dale McCourt
  • 194 Goals, 478 Points
  • Finished second in NHL rookie scoring race in 1977-78
A highly-decorated and speedy center, McCourt was no stranger to winning, and in the 1977 draft the Red Wings were winners when, with the franchise’s second overall No. 1 pick in draft history, they selected the top rated amateur prospect. Unfortunately, things got rough for the 1976 Memorial Cup MVP when the Los Angeles Kings, as compensation for Detroit signing restricted free agent goalie Rogie Vachon, wanted McCourt in return. McCourt was a one-point per game producer for the Wings, but an arbitrator sided with the Kings, who then offered McCourt a $3 million contract. A month later, the Wings received a temporary restraining order from a U.S. court that allowed McCourt to play the 1978-79 season in Detroit. McCourt then sued the NHL, the NHLPA, the Wings and the Kings in an effort to prevent him from ever being sent to L.A. as compensation.

A year later, the Kings made a deal with the Wings, sending McCourt’s right back to Detroit for Andre St. Laurent and first-round picks in 1980 and ’81. The 1980 pick ended up being future Hall of Fame defenseman Larry Murphy, who won four Stanley Cups, including two with the Red Wings.

McCourt, who later was traded to Buffalo, then signed a free agent deal with Toronto, said that he had lost his love for playing in the NHL after his lengthy legal battle.

  • 615 Games
    Gerard Gallant
  • 211 Goals, 480 Points
  • Named to NHL All-Star Second Team in 1988-89
Not known in the same vane as Bob Probert and Joey Kocur, Gallant certainly had a no-nonsense streak about him and even at 5-foot-10, he wasn’t afraid to drop the gloves, especially when it came to protecting his centerman, Steve Yzerman, during the late 80s and early 90s. In the years that Yzerman was scoring goals by the bushel, it was Gallant who was doing the dirty work as his linemate, digging pucks out of the corners and along the boards. So when Yzerman set the franchise mark for single-season goals, Gallant certainly benefited, collecting a career-best 54 assists in 1988-89.

Hip and back injuries followed Gallant through the later years of his playing career. He signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent in 1993, but only played in 52 games over two seasons.

Gallant turned to coaching in 2000, joining coach Dave King’s staff with the Columbus Blue Jackets. In 2004, Gallant was named Jackets’ head coach, a position he held until he was fired during the 2006-07 season. Last week, Gallant was named an assistant coach for the Montreal Canadiens.

  • 33 Games
    Dave Hanson
  • 1 Goal, 2 Points
  • Played Jack Hanson in Hollywood classic movie “Slap Shot”
How many NHL teams can honestly say that they drafted all three Hanson Brothers from the 1977 motion picture movie “Slap Shot”? If you guessed anyone other than the Red Wings, you’re wrong.

But only Dave Hanson, who played the role of Jack Hanson in the Paul Newman classic film, saw action with the Red Wings, having played in 11 games in the 1978-79 season before Detroit loaned him to the Birmingham Bulls of the WHA.

Hanson was the last of the three players-turned-actors taken by the Wings. Jack Carlson was a seventh-round pick in 1974, and his brother Steve Carlson went in the eighth-round in 1975 – three picks ahead of Hanson, who also played 22 games for the Minnesota North Stars.

Hanson played in 103 WHA games with the Minnesota Fighting Saints, New England Whalers and the Bulls, where he played alongside such notables as Rick Vaive, Michel Goulet and former Red Wings forward Paul Henderson.

The Carlson never played for the Red Wings, though combined Jack and Steve played in 288 NHL games for the North Stars, St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings.

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