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  • Writer's pictureDerek Ochej

Dave McLlwain and a single-season record

The 1990s was a great time for player movement via trades. Free agency would only truly become free after the lockout shortened season, so the majority of player movement was the result of trades. The current free agent structure, coupled with the restrictions of the salary cap era, makes player movement much more difficult.

In researching this week's post, I came across an interesting record: most NHL teams played for in a single season. The record is four teams, and it is shared by four different players. The exploits of Dave McLlwain during the 1991-92 season is detailed in his player profile below, but he was only the second player to ever pull off the four-pack during a single season. Below is a timeline for each of the three other players that have racked up significant frequent flier miles in one season:

Dennis O’Brien (1977-78)

O’Brien began the season with Minnesota, playing 13 games before being selected off waivers by Colorado in December. 16 games and a month later, he would be traded to Cleveland for Mike Christie. O’Brien’s final move would be to Boston via waivers, playing 16 games with the Bruins.

Mark Arcobello (2014-15)

Arcobello would move from Edmonton to Nashville in December 2014 in a trade for Derek Roy. After four games with the Predators, he would be claimed by Pittsburgh off waivers. A month later he would be claimed off waivers again, this time going to Arizona to end the season.

Jussi Jokinen (2017-18)

Like Arcobello, Jokinen would start the season with the Oilers, playing 14 games before a trade to Los Angeles for Mike Cammalleri. January 2018 would see Jokinen claimed off waivers by Columbus. He would play 14 games as a Blue Jacket before being traded in February 2018 to Vancouver with Tyler Motte for Thomas Vanek.

Card 219 - Vincent Riendeau

Before going into Vincent Riendeau's bio, I want to share that this was the card that lead to the creation of this blog. Let's appreciate both the great shots on the front and back: on the front, Riendeau is signing a stick for a fan, wearing some type of tarp, possibly in an airport hanger converted into a rink. On the back, we see both the goalie and the crowd reacting to a big play by the Blues. This card, to me, sums up the best of the 1990s hockey card boom.

Riendeau was signed as a free agent by his hometown Montreal Canadiens in 1985. He would play one season of junior and two seasons in the AHL before making his NHL debut in 1987-88, playing one game between the pipes for Montreal.

The summer of 1988 would see Riendeau traded to St. Louis with Sergio Momesso for two players and a draft pick. He would slot in as Greg Millen’s backup, appearing in 32 games, winning 11. The following season he would take over as starter, and in 1990-91 he would post career best numbers, with a 29-9-6 record and 3.01 goals against average. This would be good enough for Riendeau to finish fourth in the league in wins and sixth in Vezina voting.

A career-season wouldn’t be enough to fight off an upcoming Curtis Joseph, and part way through 1991-92 Riendeau would be traded to Detroit for Rick Zombo. He would spend most of the season in the AHL, returning in 1992-93 to play 22 games with the Wings, winning 13. January 1994 would see one final trade to Boston, with Riendeau appearing in 11 games in 1994-95 and 18 in 1995-96, his final NHL season.

Far from finished in pro hockey, Riendeau would play another seven seasons of pro hockey, primarily in Germany (4 seasons), but also in Russia and Switzerland. He would return to North America to play for Manitoba in the IHL in 1996-97 and finally Anchorage in the WHCL in 2000-01.

In an eight season NHL career, Riendeau appeared in 184 games, sporting a 85-65-20 record, 3.30 goals against and .880 save percentage. Since retirement he has worked as a goalie coach in the QMJHL, Germany and the AHL. From 2017-2021 he was the goalie consultant for the Canadiens until accepting a position as goalie coach with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in Russia.

YouTube: getting punched by Bob Probert during Game 2 of the 1991 Norris Division Semi-Finals. Let’s appreciate that Riendeau gets punched for pointing out to the referee that Probert had just given a two-handed slash to the chest of Garth Butcher. If you go back to the start of the clip, you will also see just how terrified the Blues were of Probert, as no one makes a real effort to go after the player who just punched out their goalie. Oh yeah, and Probert was given only two minors on the play, one for roughing and one for slashing.

Card 220 - Tim Hunter

A right winger who could also play defence, Tim Hunter was drafted 54th overall in 1979 by his hometown team Calgary. Also worth noting off the start is that he is not related to Dale, Dave or Mark Hunter, who also played in the NHL in the 1990s.

After an additional season in juniors, Hunter would make his pro hockey debut in 1981, splitting time over the next two seasons between the AHL and the NHL (18 games). In 1983-84 he would crack the Flames’ roster full-time, appearing in 43 games, scoring four goals and eight points. Hunter’s sophomore season would be his best statistically, scoring career-highs in goals (11) and points (22). The 1984-85 season would also be his first of six straight seasons recording 200+ penalty minutes. He would lead the league in penalty minutes twice during this span, with 361 in 1986-87 and 375 in 1988-89.

On some very good Flames teams Hunter would also get a chance to rack up penalty minutes in the playoffs, recording 108 penalty minutes in the 19886 playoffs, seventh most all time for a single post-season. In 1989 he would win the Stanley Cup with Calgary, playing in 19 playoff games.

Hunter would be selected by Tampa Bay in the 1992 expansion draft and quickly traded to Quebec. Hunter would last 26 games with the Nordiques in the 1992-93 before being claimed off waivers by Vancouver. He would play three full seasons with the Canucks, making it to the 1994 Cup Finals. For his final NHL season Hunter would play with San Jose, retiring after the 1996-97 season.

In a 16 year NHL career, Hunter would play in 815 games, scoring 62 goals and 138 points. He ranks 8th all-time with 3146 penalty minutes, and he recorded at least 100 penalty minutes in 14 seasons.

Since retiring he has been an assistant coach with Washington (1997-02, 2012-13), San Jose (2002-08) and Toronto (2008-11). In 2014 he became head coach of Moose Jaw in the WHL, remaining in that position until partway through 2020. During his time in Moose Jaw he was also an assistant for Team Canada at three world junior tournaments.

YouTube clip: pummeling Oilers tough guy Dave Semenko, one of Hunter’s 186 NHL fights.

Card 221 - Dave McLlwain

A forward, McLlwain was drafted 192nd overall by Pittsburgh in 1986. After an additional season with North Bay in the OHL, he would make his NHL debut in 1986-87, scoring 11 goals and 19 points. McLlwain would spend most of the following season in the IHL, winning a Turner Cup with Muskegon.

Prior to the 1989-90 season, he would be traded to Winnipeg in a six-player swap. His first season with the Jets would be a career year, with McLlwain scoring 25 goals and 51 points. He would lead the NHL with 7 short-handed goals and finish seventh in Selke Trophy voting.

McLlwain’s 1991-92 season would prove to be one for the record books. After three games with the Jets he would be sent to Buffalo in a five-player deal. After five games and two weeks as a Sabre, he would be shipped to the New York Islanders as part of the Pierre Turgeon - Pat LaFontaine trade. McLlwain would play 52 games on Long Island before a third trade that season, this time going to Toronto in a four-player deal. That season McLlwain became only the second NHL player in history to dress for four different teams in a single season.

1992-93 would see McLlwain stay in Toronto for a full season, but in October 1993 he would be on the move again, taking a short trip to Ottawa after being claimed in the waiver draft. He would finish third in team scoring (43 points), but also finish bottom ten in the league in plus/minus with a -40 rating.

The last two seasons of McLlwain’s career would see him shipped back to Pittsburgh in 1995-96, and then signing as a free agent with the Islanders in 1996-97. During both his seasons he played mostly in the IHL. Although his NHL career would be over, McLlwain would author a second act in Germany, playing from 2000-2009 with Kolner Haie, acting as team captain for five seasons. He would also lead the German league in scoring in 2006 and 2007.

In a ten year NHL career, McLlwain would play in 501 games, scoring 100 goals and 207 points. He is still involved with the Leafs and NHL alumni, playing in fundraising games throughout North America.

YouTube clip: getting sucker punched by Jim Kyte during the 1988-89 season, a man he would be traded for a season later.

Card 222 - Robert Reichel

The Czech centre was drafted 70th overall by Calgary in 1989. Reichel would make his NHL debut one season later, scoring 19 goals and 41 points as a 19 year old. Three years into his NHL career, Reichel’s production would take off; in 1992-93 he scored 40 goals and 88 points. The following season he would again score 40 goals, increasing his points total to 93, leading the Flames in scoring.

Wanting to be better compensated for his talents, Reichel would play the 1995-96 season in Germany while in a contract dispute with the Flames. After leading the German league in scoring, he would return to the Flames for the 1995-96 season, eventually being traded to the New York Islanders for Marty McInnis, a prospect and a draft pick.

1997-98 would be Reichel’s only full season as Islander, scoring 25 goals and 65 points. The following season he would be sent to Phoenix in a deal that saw the Islanders receive Brad Isbister.

In a case of history repeating itself, Reichel would not be able to find a NHL contract to his liking, and would spend the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 season in his native Czech Republic. In the summer of 2001 his rights were traded by Phoenix to Toronto in a four-player trade. Reichel would sign with the Leafs, and in 2001-02 would score 20 goals in Toronto, the seventh and final time he would reach that mark in his career.

Reichel would last two additional seasons with the Leafs before returning to the Czech Republic one final time, playing until the 2010 season. In 11 NHL seasons, Reichel played in 830 games, scoring 252 goals and 630 points. He was also a decorated international hockey player, captaining the Czech Republic at many tournaments and being named to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2015. He has also coached the Czech national team and pro teams in his home country since retirement.

YouTube clip: during the 2002 playoffs, Leafs head coach Pat Quinn confused Reichel with teammate Mikael Renberg (out with injury) when filling in his lineup card for the game. Isles coach Peter Laviolette pointed out the discrepancy to the referees shortly after puck drop, resulting in Reichel being kicked out of the game. The Leafs would go on to win the game 6-3, and eventually win the series, but Reichel is a big part of a unique hockey moment.

Card 223 - Glenn Healy

The goaltender was a four-year veteran at Western Michigan when he signed with the Los Angeles Kings. Healy would spend his first two pro seasons in the AHL, appearing in one game with the Kings during the 1985-86 season.

In the 1987-88 season he would play backup to Kings starter Rollie Melanson, appearing in 34 games, winning 12. The following season would see Healey become the starter, winning a career-high 25 games.

For the 1989-90 season Healy would sign with the New York Islanders, splitting the crease with Mark Fitzpatrick. With Fitzpatrick sidelined the majority of the following season due to a life-threatening illness, Healy would appear in a career-high 53 games, winning 18. For the duration of his time with the Islanders Healy would share the crease, winning 20+ games for the second time in his career in 1992-93. That season he would also help guide the Isles to an upset over heavily-favoured Pittsburgh in the Patrick Division Finals.

In June 1993 Healy would be selected by Anaheim in the expansion draft. In a unique quirk, the following day the three NHL teams that previously entered the league, San Jose, Tampa Bay and Ottawa, were given an opportunity to select players from Anaheim and Florida’s rosters. Healy was one of three players selected, going to Tampa Bay. He was then traded later that day to the New York Rangers.

Healy would play four seasons with the Rangers as Mike Richter’s backup, winning a Stanley Cup in 1994. In 1997 he would sign with Toronto to serve as Curtis Joseph’s backup; he would play four seasons as a Leaf, averaging 16 appearances per season. Healy would retire after the 2000-01 campaign.

In 15 NHL seasons, Healy appeared in 437 games, posting a 166-190-47 record, 3.37 goals against and .887 save percentage. In retirement he has been an analyst for CBC, TSN and most recently Sportsnet, until he was let go in 2016. Since 2017 he has been the executive director/president of the NHL Alumni Association.

YouTube clip: getting body-checked by future teammate Alexei Kovalev during Healy's final season with the Islanders.

Card 224 - Robert Kron

From Czechoslovakia, Kron was drafted 88th overall by Vancouver in 1985. He would play professionally in his home country until making his debut with the Canucks during the 1990-91 season as a 23 year-old. He would appear in 76 games, scoring 12 goals and 32 points. The following season Kron would play only 36 games, and in March 1993 he would be traded to Hartford for Murray Craven.

In his first full season as a Whaler, Kron scored a career-high 24 goals and 50 points, matching the point total in 1995-96. He would move with the franchise to Carolina, playing three seasons as a Hurricane before being selected by Columbus in the 2000 expansion draft.

Kron would play two seasons with Columbus, averaging 59 games per season, and playing one final season in Finland in 2002-03 before retiring. In 12 NHL seasons, Kron played in 771 games, scoring 144 goals and 338 points.

From 2008-2020 Kron was employed in Carolina’s scouting department. He was poached by former teammate and current Seattle GM Ron Francis to be the Kraken’s director of amateur scouting in 2020.

YouTube clip: scoring a shorthanded overtime goal against Florida, giving Columbus a 7-6 win during the 2000-01 season.

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