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  • Writer's pictureDerek Ochej

Hockey players that ain't no dummies

In doing some quick research for this post, I wanted to see what percentage of players who play in the three leagues (WHL, QMJHL, and OHL) that make up the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) go on to play in the NHL. The best number I could find was under five per cent, but needless to say it is a small amount of junior hockey players who will play in the NHL, let alone carve out a career lucrative enough to retire financially after their playing days are over.

These long odds make getting an education either while or after playing in the CHL even more important. CHL teams now provide funding and support to current and former players to ensure their high school education is complete and that post-secondary education is an option; for example, here is what the OHL does.

Beginning with the 1987-88 season, the CHL has handed out the Scholastic Player of the Year award to the player who best combines success on the ice with success in the school. The award is chosen from the winner of the three constituent leagues’ scholastic player of the year: the Daryl Seaman Trophy (WHL), the Marcel Robert Trophy (QMJHL) and the Bobby Smith Trophy (OHL). Some fun facts about these awards include:

  • Darrin Shannon of the Windsor Spitfires (OHL) won the first ever CHL award.

  • Overall the WHL has won the award 13 times, followed by the OHL with 12 and the QMHL with 9.

  • Two players have won the award twice: Jeff Nelson of the Prince Albert Raiders (1989 & 1990) and Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters (2014 & 15)

  • Ken Baumgartner (featured this week), won the first ever Daryl Seaman Trophy in 1984. Other notable winners include Scott Niedermayer, Devan Dubnyk and Jordan Eberle.

  • Francois Lecomte won the first Marcel Robert Trophy in 1981. Other notable winners include Daniel Briere, Marc Denis and Yanic Perreault.

  • Steve Konroyd won the first Bobby Smith Trophy in 1980. Dustin Brown won the award three straight years (2001-03) while attending Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Guelph. This fun fact comes courtesy of my university roommate who went to the same high school as the former Kings captain.

Card 399 - Lou Franceschetti

A right winger, Franceshetti was drafted 71st overall by Washington in the 1978 amateur draft. He turned pro following the draft, scoring 105 points in the IHL with Port Huron. From 1979-80 to 1983-84 Franceshetti played primarily with Hershey in the AHL, averaging just under a point per game and winning a Calder Cup in 1980. During this time he played in 32 games with the Caps, 30 of them in the 1981-82 season, scoring 12 points.

Franceschetti’s rookie NHL season came in 1985-86, playing in 76 games, scoring seven goals and 21 points. He played three more seasons with the Capitals before a trade to Toronto in June 1989 for a draft pick. In his one and only full season with the Leafs Franceschetti played in a career-high 80 games, scoring 21 goals and 36 points, aided by a 27.6% shooting percentage.

December 1990 saw Franceschetti move to Buffalo in a trade for Mike Foligno. He played 35 games with the Sabres, recording eight points. His final NHL game came in 1991-92 with the Sabres, wrapping up the season in the AHL. in 10 NHL seasons, Franceschetti played in 459 games, scoring 59 goals and 140 points.

In retirement he quickly moved into coaching, first with the Jacksonville Bullets of the Sunshine Hockey League during the 1992-93 season, then the following season with Detroit in Colonial League (he also suited up in a handful of games for both teams). Following those two seasons Franceschetti moved back into playing full time, spending time in the 1994-95 season in Italy, the IHL and the Colonial League, retiring for good after the 1995-96 season with Nashville in the ECHL.

YouTube clip: scoring in Game 5 of the 1991 Adams Division Semi-Finals for Buffalo, the final goal of his NHL career.

Card 400 - Checklist

Card 401 - Kevin Todd (RC)

A centre, Todd was drafted 129th overall by New Jersey in 1986. He played two seasons with Prince Albert in the WHL following the draft, scoring 121 points in 1987-88. Todd turned pro in 1988-89 with Utica in the AHL, where he played the next three seasons. In 1990-91 he led the AHL in points with 118, winning league MVP and was named a first-team all-star.

Todd’s AHL success carried over to his NHL debut with the Devils in 1991-92, where he scored 21 goals and 63 points (both would be career-highs), and finished second in rookie scoring behind Tony Amonte. He was named to the all-rookie team and finished fifth in Calder voting. Despite this early success, Todd was traded to Edmonton in January 1993 with Zdeno Ciger for Bernie Nicholls. Less than a calendar year after the trade and 25 games with the Oilers, Todd was traded again, this time to Chicago.

Todd’s 1993-94 season was split between Chicago and Los Angeles following a March 1994 trade for a draft pick. After getting a chance to settle with a team for the first time in a while, Todd experienced a career revival in 1995-96, scoring 16 goals and 43 points in 74 games for the Kings. In July 1996 he signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent, but never suited up with the Pens as he was claimed off waivers by Anaheim prior to the start of the season. Todd played 92 games with the Mighty Ducks over two seasons, scoring 13 goals and 41 points. 1998-99 was the final season of his pro career, played in Switzerland.

In 9 NHL seasons, Todd played in 383 games, scoring 70 goals and 203 points. Todd held the New Jersey Devils’ franchise record for most points scored in a rookie season before being surpassed by Scott Gomez in 1999-00.

YouTube clip: Ken Daneyko talking about Todd’s exploits off the ice, including a time Daneyko stepped in to save Todd during a dispute in a bar.

Card 402 - Ken Baumgartner

A left winger, Baumgartner was drafted 245th overall by Buffalo in 1985. A teammate of Kevin Todd’s in Prince Albert, Baumgartner played defence in junior, where he won scholastic player of the year in 1984 and the Memorial Cup in 1985.

He turned pro in 1986-87, splitting the season between New Haven in the AHL and Switzerland, where thanks to his Swiss-citizenship, he could play as a non-import player. Baumgartner made his NHL debut in 1987-88 with the Kings, playing in 30 games, recording five points and 189 penalty minutes. He played parts of two more seasons with the Kings, recording a career-high 286 penalty minutes in only 49 games in 1988-89. November 1989 saw Baumgartner moved to the New York Islanders with Hubie McDonough for Mikko Makela.

Baumgartner played parts of three seasons on Long Island before a trade to Toronto in March 1992. The Maple Leafs would be his longest career stay, lasting five seasons from 1991-92 to1995-96. Baumgartner scored a career-high four goals in 1993-94, adding his only career playoff goal in the 1994 playoffs.

March 1996 saw a trade to Anaheim, where in his only full season as a Mighty Duck he recorded a career high 11 points, all assists. Baumgartner signed with Boston for the 1997-98 season, where he was assistant captain during his two seasons. He retired following the 1998-99 season.

In 12 NHL seasons Baumgartner played in 696 games, scoring 13 goals and 54 points. He recorded 2242 career penalty minutes, 38th all-time. Following his retirement he was an assistant coach with the Bruins for one season. Throughout his playing career he earned a degree in finance and business from Hofstra University and then earned his MBA from Harvard in retirement. Baumgartner currently works in the US financial sector.

YouTube clip: staggering Stu Grimson with the first punch in one of Baumgartner’s 185 career fights.

Card 403 - Peter Douris

A right winger, Douris was selected 30th overall by Winnipeg in 1984 after his freshman season at the University of New Hampshire. He played one more season with the Wildcats before joining the Canadian National Team for the 1985-86 season. Douris also made his NHL debut that season, playing in 11 games with the Jets.

The next two pro seasons Douris played mostly in the AHL with Sherbrooke and Moncton, playing in 10 games with Winnipeg, recording two assists. In September 1988 he was traded to St. Louis, playing the entire season with Peoria in the IHL.

Douris signed with Boston the following season, where he would spend the next four seasons split between the Bruins and the AHL. 1991-92 was his best NHL season, playing in 54 games scoring 10 goals and 23 points. In the 1992 playoffs Douris scored two goals and five points in seven games.

In July 1993 he signed with the expansion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, where in his first season he scored a career-high 12 goals and 34 points. Douris played two more seasons in California, then played the 1996-97 season in the IHL with Milwaukee. During the 1997 off-season he signed with Dallas, playing one game for the Stars in 1997-98. From 1998 to 2002 Douris played in Germany, winning a league title in 2000.

In 11 NHL seasons, Douris played in 321 games, scoring 54 goals and 121 points. He coached one season of pro hockey in Denmark in 2013-14 and currently works in real estate in Maine.

YouTube clip: scoring the overtime winner in Game 2 of 1992 Adams Division Finals against Montreal.

Card 404 - Jiri Latal

A defenceman, Latal was drafted 106th overall by Toronto in 1985. Following the draft he played five seasons of pro hockey in his home country of Czechoslovakia, coming to North America for the 1989-90 season. Prior to his coming across the pond, Latal was traded to Philadelphia for a draft pick. His rookie season was split between Hershey in the AHL and the Flyers, with Latal scoring six goals and 19 points in 32 games in the NHL.

1990-91 saw Latal play in 50 games, scoring a career-high 26 points. His third season would be his last in the NHL, playing in 10 games and scoring three points. Latal finished the season in Norway, then played one season in Finland. His final three pro seasons were played at home in the Czech Republic, retiring following the 1995-96 season.

In 3 NHL seasons Latal played in 96 games, scoring 12 goals and 48 points. Despite a short NHL career, he boasts an impressive hockey resume, having won two World Junior silver medals (including being named to the tournament all-star team in 1987), a World Championships bronze and league titles in Norway and Czech Republic.

In retirement Latal has coached in Slovakia and Czech Republic, including as general manager of the Czech World Juniors team in 2010.

Card 405 - Marc Potvin

Potvin, the cousin of Denis and Jean Potvin, was drafted 169th overall by Detroit in 1986. He played four seasons of college hockey at Bowling Green, turning pro for the 1990-91 season. Potvin’s first two pro seasons were he played primarily in the AHL with Adirondack, where he racked up 300+ penalty minutes in each season. During the 1991-92 season he was team captain and led those Red Wings to a Calder Cup victory.

During his time with the NHL's Red Wings, Potvin appeared in 14 games, scoring his first NHL goal and recording 104 penalty minutes. In January 1993 he was traded to Los Angeles as part of the Jimmy Carson - Paul Coffey trade. Potvin lasted 20 games with the Kings before being moved to Hartford for Doug Houda. Split between the two teams, he recorded career-highs in games played (54), goals (2), points (5) and penalty minutes (272, 9th in the league).

Potvin signed with Boston for the 1994-95 season, playing 33 games for the Bruins between 1994 and 1996. His final two pro seasons were split between the AHL and IHL, winning a Turner Cup with Chicago in 1998.

In 6 NHL seasons, Potvin played in 121 games, scoring three goals and eight points while racking up 456 penalty minutes. He led the NHL in fighting majors in 1994 with 34. In retirement Potvin coached at various levels including the AHL (1998-99 with Adirondack, 2000-02 with Springfield), ECHL (1999-00 with Mississippi) and with Adirondack in the UHL from 2003-2006. Potvin died by suicide in January 2006 while coaching Adirondack.

YouTube clip: with 52 career fights, Potvin’s most frequent partner was Bob Halkidis, whom he fought four times. Fights 2 & 3 took place in a February 1994 game.

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