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  • Writer's pictureDerek Ochej

The 1990s: when even 1st round picks weren't untouchable

In modern times, many teams have a franchise player that is 'untouchable', meaning they won't be traded for anything. Often these players have been drafted and developed by a team, representing a significant investment in draft capital, resources, and fan attachment. More often that not these players are former #1 draft picks, the anointed saviors after years of tanking and rebuilding.

The 1990s were different. Draft picks were thrown around like rice at a wedding, and being a #1 pick offered almost guarantee you would stay with a franchise more than two or three seasons. The tale of Joe Murphy, featured in this post, is a great example. With that inspiration, I decided to look at how many former # 1 picks were traded in the 1990s. The end result is a shocking eight, ranging between the 1987 and 1994 draft:

  • October 1991: Pierre Turgeon (1987) is traded to the New York Islanders in a seven-player swap, with Pat LaFontaine the key player going to Buffalo. Turgeon scored 132 points in 1992-93, and played parts of four season for the Islanders before a trade to Montreal. LaFontaine scored 148 points in 1992-93 (finishing second in the league), playing only one more full NHL season in a career marred by concussions.

  • June 1992: Eric Lindros (1991) is traded to Philadelphia for seven players, two first round picks and cash. Quebec would move to Colorado in 1995, and with the help of Peter Forsberg, win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Lindros would win a Hart Trophy in 1995 and lead the Flyers to the 1997 Cup Finals. A dispute with Flyers' management would see him traded, and his career would never be the same, again due to concussions.

  • June 1994: Mats Sundin (1989) is traded to Toronto in a six-player swap, including 1985 first round pick Wendel Clark. Sundin would become Leafs captain and a Hall of Famer; Clark played only 37 games with the Nordiques before an October 1995 three-way trade that saw him go to the New York Islanders.

  • October 1995: Owen Nolan (1990) is traded to Colorado for Sandis Ozolinsh. Nolan would became a leader on the emerging Sharks teams of the late 1990s. Ozolinsh was one of the best offensive defencemen in the NHL and would win a Stanley Cup that season.

  • January 1996: Bryan Berard (1995) is sent to the New York Islanders in a three-way trade after holding out from Ottawa. Included in the package are Don Beaupre and Martin Straka, with Ottawa receiving Wade Redden and Damian Rhodes. Rhodes would help the Sens to their first playoff appearances, and Redden would be a team fixture for a decade. Berard won the Calder Trophy in 1996-97, but suffered a career-threatening eye injury in a game against Ottawa in 1999. He missed the entire 2000-01 season, returning a year later to play another six NHL seasons.

  • December 1996: Roman Hamrlik (1997) is traded to Edmonton for a package of three players. Hamrlik last three seasons with the Oilers, and none of the players traded to Tampa Bay move the needle much for the franchise.

  • January 1998: Alexandre Daigle (1993) is traded to Philadelphia for Pat Falloon, Vaclav Prospal and a second round draft pick. Prospal had the best performance for any of the players on his new team, scoring 55 points in the 1999-2000 season.

  • January 1999: Ed Jovanovski (1994) is traded to Vancouver in a seven player trade, with Pavel Bure going to Florida. Jovanovski had seven solid seasons with the Canucks, while Bure would put up seasons of 58 and 59 goals in his first two seasons in Florida. He was traded shortly after to the New York Rangers, and his career ended due to back injuries.

472 - Paul Ranheim

A left winger, Ranheim was drafted 38th overall by Calgary in 1984 out of high school in Minnesota. He played four seasons of college at Wisconsin, scoring 36 goals and 62 points in his senior year. Ranheim turned pro in 1988-89, scoring 68 goals and 97 points with Salt Lake City in the IHL, winning rookie of the year, US born rookie of the year and earning a second team all-star berth.

He joined the Flames the following season, scoring 26 goals and 54 points, finishing eighth in Calder voting. Ranheim’s rookie scoring totals would be the highest of his career, although in the early 1990s he would record back-to-back seasons with 20 or more goals and 40 or more points. Late in the 1993-94 season he was traded to Hartford with Ted Drury and Gary Suter for Michael Nylander, James Patrick and Zarley Zalapski.

Ranheim played three seasons with the Whalers and three more with Carolina after the team located, scoring 10 goals and 30 points in the 1995-96 season. Developing into a defensive specialist with the Whalers/Hurricanes, Ranheim was traded to Philadelphia in May 2000 for a draft pick. He played parts of three seasons with the Flyers before a trade to Phoenix in December 2002. Ranheim finished the season, playing 40 games with the Coyotes before retiring.

In 15 NHL seasons, Ranheim played in 1013 games, scoring 161 goals and 360 points. He made the playoffs in only six seasons, never advancing beyond the first round. In retirement he coached high school hockey in Minnesota, for a decade with Eden Prairie, then in 2022-23 joining Richfield/Southwest Christian. Ranheim has also been active in a number of different business ventures according to his LinkedIn profile.

YouTube clip: scoring in Game 2 of the 1991 Smythe Division Finals against Edmonton.

473 - Martin Hostak

A centre, Hostak was drafted 62nd overall by Philadelphia in 1987. Following the draft he played three seasons in his native Czechoslovakia, coming to North America for the 1990-91 season. In his first NHL season Hostak played in 50 games, scoring three goals and 13 points. During the 1991-92 season, he played in 5 games with the Flyers, playing primarily with Hershey in the AHL, scoring 63 points in 63 games.

The 1991-92 would prove to be Hostak’s final season in North America. He moved on to Sweden in 1992-93, playing four seasons with MoDo before returning to his native Czech Republic in 1996-97. Sweden beckoned again partway through 1996-97, and Hostak returned, wrapping up his career in 2000-01.

In two NHL seasons, Hostak played in 55 games, scoring three goals and 14 points. Despite a limited North American career, he was successfully internationally, winning a world junior championship silver medal and two bronze medals at the Worlds. Hostak also won a Czech league title in 1990. In retirement he has coached off and on in Czechia, working as an assistant coach and general manager with the national junior team in the late 2000s. From 2017 to 2020 he was GM for Berani Zlin.

YouTube clip: getting jumped by Wayne Doucet during a February 92 game between the Capital District Islanders and Hershey Bears. The attack was in response to a questionable hit Hostak laid on one of Doucet’s teammates.

474 - Joe Murphy

A right winger, Murphy was selected first overall by Detroit in 1986 following his freshman season at Michigan where he won CCHA rookie of the year, scoring 24 goals and 61 points. He turned pro following the draft, appearing in five games with the Wings while scoring 59 points in 71 games with Adirondack in the AHL. Murphy played 50 games with the Wings in his second season, scoring 10 goals and 19 points. His playing time regressed for the 1988-89 season, playing in only 26 games with the Wings, however he did win a Calder Cup with Adirondack.

Murphy was given a fresh start early in the 1989-90 season when he was traded to Edmonton with Petr Klima, Adam Graves and Jeff Sharples for Jimmy Carson and Kevin McClelland. Earning more ice time as an Oiler, Murphy scored 27 goals and 62 points in his full full season (1990-91), adding six goals and 14 points in the playoffs as the Oilers won their fifth Stanley Cup in seven years. 1991-92 was Murphy’s best individual season, scoring a career-high 35 goals and 82 points. He missed most of the following season, sitting out a contract dispute, and was traded in February to Chicago for Igor Kravchuk and Dean McAmmond. In the next three seasons with the Blackhawks he scored 20+ goals each season, including 31 goals and 70 points in 1993-94. During the 1994-95 playoffs Murphy added nine goals in 16 games as the Hawks lost in the Western Conference Finals to his former team Detroit.

The balance of Murphy’s career saw him bounce around, signing with St. Louis in 1996, lasting a season and a bit before a trade to San Jose for Todd Gill. During the 1998-99 season he scored 25 goals, the seventh and final time he broke the 20 goal barrier. After starting the 1999-2000 season without a contract, he signed with Boston in November, playing 26 games before being claimed by Washington. Murphy played 14 games with the Capitals in 2000-01 before his erratic behaviour led to demotion to the minors. Murphy elected not to report and never again played in the NHL.

In 15 NHL seasons, Murphy played in 779 games, scoring 233 goals and 528 points. He had a knack for scoring in big moments, as evident by his four career playoff overtime goals. The erratic behaviour that led to the end of his hockey career continued off the ice. It began when Murphy took over as coach/general manager of a junior team in Alliston in 2013-14, resigning in short order under a cloud of controversy. He was then found living in Costa Rica, but was deported back to Canada. The Rick Westhead book ‘Finding Murph’ revealed Murphy was struggling with mental health and alcohol addictions, which he attributed to head injuries suffered during his hockey career. Murphy was last reported to be living on the streets of Canada, either in Ontario or Saskatchewan.

YouTube clip: scoring the overtime winner against the Canucks in Game 1 of 1995 Western Conference Semi-Finals.

475 - Claude Boivin

A left winger, Boivin was drafted 10th overall by Philadelphia in 1988. He played two additional seasons in the QMJHl, recording 75 points and 311 penalty minutes with Drummondville and Laval in his final season. Boivin turned pro in 1990-91 with Hershey, scoring 45 points and 159 penalty minutes in 65 games. During his rookie NHL season the following year he played in 58 games, scoring five goals, 18 points and 187 penalty minutes, all career-highs.

Over Boivin’s next two pro seasons he played in 56 games with the Flyers, scoring six goals and 11 points. Late in the 1993-94 season he was traded to Ottawa with Kirk Daubenspeck for Mark Lamb. Boivin played 15 games with the Senators that season, plus three games in 1994-95, the final games of his NHL career.

He was out of hockey for two seasons, returning in the 1997-98 season, playing in the IHL and ECHL. Boivin spent the 1998-99 season in Italy, playing one final pro season with Long Beach of the IHL the year after before retiring.

In four NHL seasons, Boivin played in 132 games, scoring 12 goals, 31 points and recording 363 penalty minutes. From 2013 to 2020 he coach youth hockey in Quebec.

YouTube clip: fighting Tony Twist in a 1994 game between the Flyers and Nordiques.

476- John Ogrodnick

A left winger, Ogrodnick was drafted 66th overall by Detroit in 1979 after winning back-to-back Memorial Cups with New Westminster. He turned pro after the draft, splitting the season between Detroit and Adirondack in the AHL.

In Ogrodnick’s first full NHL season he scored 35 goals and 70 points in 80 games, experiencing a sophomore slump before entering the most productive span of his career between 1982 and 1986. During this time he never scored less than 38 goals or 70 points in a season. In 1984-85 he scored 55 goals (4th in the NHL), 105 points (7th), was named a first team all-star and was a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy with only 18 penalty minutes. During this span Ogrodnick received all-star votes each season, along with Lady Byng and Selke votes. During the 1983-84 season he finished second in the league with 19 power play goals.

Ogrodnick was cursed to play for Detroit in the 1980s during the height of the Dead Things era. In January 1987 he was traded to Quebec with Basil McRae and Doug Shedden for Brent Ashton, Gilbert Delorme and Mark Kumpel. In his one season in Quebec, Ogrodnick scored 27 points in 32 regular season games, adding nine goals and 13 points in 13 playoff games to tie for the team lead in goals.

Just prior to the 1987-88 season he was traded to the New York Rangers with David Shaw for Terry Carkner and Jeff Jackson. After playing only 64 and 60 games in his first two season as a Ranger, Ogrodnick experienced a renaissance in the 1989-90 season, playing in 80 games, scoring 43 goals and 74 points. The return to goal-scoring form was short-lived, as over the following two seasons he played in 74 games, scoring 23 goals before one final season with Detroit in 1992-93 before retiring.

In 14 NHL seasons, Ogrodnick played in 928 games, scoring 402 goals and 827 points. He played in five all-star games (1981, 82, 84-86). He now works as a financial advisor for Prudential in the Farmington Hills suburb of Detroit.

YouTube clip: scoring in an October 1983 game versus Black Hawks. Also, marvel at the awesome hair that Ron Duguay was still rocking.

477 - Doug Bodger

A defenceman, Bodger was drafted ninth overall by Pittsburgh in 1984 after scoring 98 points with Kamloops in the WHL. He turned pro the season following the draft, playing in 65 games for the Penguins, scoring five goals and 31 points. Later in his career Bodger would be known as a defensive specialist, but in his third and fourth NHL seasons he scored 10 or more goals and 45 or more points each season, including a career-high 14 goals in 1987-88. Early in the 1988-89 season he was traded to Buffalo with Darrin Shannon for Tom Barrasso and a draft pick; Bodger scored eight goals and 52 points split between the two teams.

Over the next four seasons in Buffalo he scored 10+ goals twice and 40+ points three times, including a career-high 54 points in 1992-93. At the start of the 1995-96 season, his eighth with Buffalo, Bodger was traded to San Jose for Vaclav Varada, a prospect and two draft picks, including a first-rounder that Buffalo used to select Daniel Briere. Bodger played parts of three seasons with San Jose, his most notable being 1996-97 when he played in 81 games and scored only one goal to go with 15 assists.

In December 1997 he was traded to New Jersey with Dody Wood for John MacLean and Ken Sutton. Bodger lasted 49 regular season and five playoff games with the Devils before an off-season trade to Los Angeles. He spent one season with the Kings, scoring 14 points in 65 games, signing with Vancouver as a free agent in 1999-2000. Bodger played 13 games with Canucks before retiring in December 1999.

In 16 NHL seasons, Bodger played in 1071 games, scoring 106 goals and 528 points. From 1992 to 1996 he was an assistant captain with the Sabres. From 2001 to 2006 he was an assistant coach with Cowichan Valley in the BCHL, returning to the front office in 20016 as an assistant coach with Victoria in WHL, where he is currently a team consultant.

YouTube clip: scoring a goal in Game 2 of 1993 Adams Division Finals versus Montreal.

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