top of page
  • Writer's pictureDerek Ochej

The 1991 Entry Draft - Part One

The 1991 NHL entry draft was held on June 22 at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo. The 1991 Draft is probably the most famous draft of its time thanks to one person, Eric Lindros. The Big E was the most hyped NHL prospect in a long time, and had been drawing comparisons to Wayne Gretzky for years. The hype came with good cause - his draft year with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL, Lindros scored 71 goals and 149 points in 57 games, was named the CHL Player of the Year, and led the Generals to the OHL final, where they lost in 6 games to Sault Ste. Marie (the Generals had won the OHL title and the Memorial Cup the previous season).

If that wasn't enough, Lindros made an even bigger splash by publicly announcing before the draft that he would not report to the Quebec Nordiques if they were to draft him with their first overall pick. Nords GM Pierre Page went ahead and drafted Lindros, and Lindros lived up to his promise, refusing to so much as put on a Nordiques jersey. Lindros would eventually be traded, (we'll get to that later in this post). It is also worth mentioning that holding on his draft team was not a new thing for Lindros; he did the same thing in the OHL draft, refusing to report to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, forcing a trade to the Oshawa Generals.

To commemorate the draft, the 1991-92 Upper Deck series featured cards of 14 draft picks from the first three rounds of the 1991 draft. A total of 264 players were selected in the draft's 12 rounds. For this post we will cover the first five cards that appear in this subset.

Card # 64 – Peter Forsberg

The centre from Sweden was drafted fourth overall in the 1991 Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. Shortly after the draft he would be traded to Quebec in massive deal in exchange for #1 overall pick, Eric Lindros. Philadelphia gave up Forsberg, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, 1st round pick and $ 15 million dollars, plus future considerations that would turn out to be Chris Simon and another 1st round pick.

Forsberg would stay in Sweden for three seasons playing for his hometown Modo before coming to North America for his rookie season with the Nordiques in the lockout shortened 1994-95 season. The wait would be worth it for Quebec, as Peter would score 15 goals and 50 points, winning the Calder Trophy as top rookie.

Moving to Colorado for the 1995-96 season, Forsberg would break out with 30 goals and 116 points (both career highs) as the Avalanche won their first Stanley Cup. Throughout the rest of the 90s, Forsberg would be a better than point-per-game player and earn first team All-Star births in 1997-98 and 1998-99. Injuries would soon start to take their toll the man known as ‘Foppa’, as we would miss the 2001-02 season after suffering a ruptured spleen in the Avs 2000-01 playoff run, and then injure his ankle during training.

Forsberg would have one of the best comeback seasons in NHL history in 2002-03, winning the Art Ross with 29 goals and 106 points, as well the Hart Trophy as league MVP and earning another first team All-Star nod. The success would be short-lived, as injuries to his hip and groin would see him miss the majority of the 2003-04 season.

Coming out of the 2004-05 lockout, Forsberg would sign a free agent deal with the team that drafted him, Philadelphia, playing one and a half seasons before a deadline day trade to Nashville in February 2007. He would sign back with Colorado in February 2008, but only play nine games. 2009-10 would see Forsberg play in Sweden, followed by a third and final stint with Colorado in 2010-11, which would last only two games; Forsberg would retire 8 days after his last NHL game.

Post-NHL, Forsberg has worked as the assistant general manager for his former Swedish Elite League team, Modo. He was elected to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014.

YouTube clip: a highlight video of his best moments in the NHL.

Card # 65 – Patrick Poulin

The ninth overall pick by the Hartford Whalers in the 1991 draft, Poulin played in the QMJHL for St. Hyacinthe, recording 32 goals and 70 points in his draft season.

After one game with the Whalers in 1991-92, Poulin would play a full season in 1992-93, recording 20 goals and 51 points, which would both be career highs. In November of the following season, Poulin would be traded with Eric Weinrich to Chicago for Steve Larmer and Bryan Marchment. This would begin a pattern of trades every three seasons for Poulin, as in 1995-96 he would be traded to Tampa Bay and then in 1997-98 to Montreal (both times alongside defenceman Igor Ulanov).

The Habs would be the team that Poulin spent the largest portion of his career with, five seasons total between 1997 and 2002. He would officially retire in 2003, having logged 11 seasons, 634 games and 235 points.

According to a Journal de Montreal story, after hockey Poulin was involved in many small businesses and currently runs a towing company in Montreal. He is still involved in hockey indirectly as his son, Samuel, was a first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019.

YouTube clip: getting knocked out in a fight with Calgary Flames defenceman Todd Simpson.

Card # 66 – Martin Lapointe

Selected 10th overall out of Laval in the QMJHL by the Red Wings, Lapointe recorded 44 goals and 98 points in his draft season. He would split the first two seasons after the draft between juniors and the minors before breaking in full-time as a NHLer in 1993-94, playing 50 games and scoring 16 points.

Lapointe was a key member of the Red Wings bottom six forwards during their mini dynasty in the late 1990s, winning Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998. Lapointe often saved his best hockey for the playoffs, recording 12 and 15 points respectively during those Cup runs.

In his 10th and final season with Detroit (2000-01), Lapointe would record career highs in goals (27) and points (57) along with 127 penalty minutes. Following his career season, he would sign a lucrative contract with Boston, where he would play three seasons, with declining overall production. Following 2004-05 lockout, Lapointe would sign in Chicago, playing 2.5 seasons before a trade deadline move to Ottawa in 2008. The Senators would be swept out of the playoffs that season and Lapointe would subsequently retire.

In 2009 Lapointe would move into the boardroom, starting as a scout with the Chicago Blackhawks. He is currently the director of player development for the Montreal Canadiens, a position he has held since 2012.

YouTube clip: scoring the eventual game winning goal in Game 4 of the 1998 Cup finals against Washington.

Card # 67 – Tyler Wright

A centre from Swift Current in the WHL, Wright was the 12th overall pick in the 1991 draft, selected by the Edmonton Oilers. In his draft season he scored 41 goals and 92 points for the Broncos.

Wright would spend the majority of his first four seasons of pro hockey in the minors, playing seven, five six, and 23 games respectively for the Oilers between 1992-93 and 1995-96. He would be traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the summer of 1996 for a late round draft pick. Wright would find a full-time role on Penguins teams of the late 1990s, including the 1998-99 season when he would play 61 games, recording zero points.

Being selected by Columbus in the 2000 expansion draft turned out to be the best thing that happened in Wright’s career, as he would move to a larger role on the team and production would follow. In 2000-01 he would record career highs in goals (16) and points (32). He would spend five seasons as a Blue Jacket before being traded to Anaheim in November 2005 as part of a package for Sergei Fedorov. After finishing the 2005-06 season in Anaheim, Wright would play a few games in Switzerland in the mid-2000s before retiring.

Wright has since moved into the front office, first as the director of player development with Columbus, then as director of amateur scouting for Detroit. In 2019, he moved along with his former boss in Detroit, GM Ken Holland, to Edmonton.

YouTube clip: completing a hat trick in overtime as the Blue Jackets beat the Maple Leafs in 2003.

Card # 68 – Philippe Boucher

Selected 13th overall by Buffalo out of Granby in the QMJHL, Boucher scored 21 goals and 67 points for the Bisons. He would begin his NHL career in 1992-93, appearing in 18 games for the Sabres; in total he would play in 65 games for Buffalo between 1992-95.

Boucher was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in February 1995 as part of a six-player swap that saw fellow defenceman Alexei Zhitnik go to Buffalo. The move to Hollywood would be Boucher’s breakthrough, becoming an NHL regular in 1995-96. He would put in several solid seasons in LA, but moving to Dallas as a free agent in 2002 would see his career take off to new heights.

2005-06 would see Boucher set career highs with 16 goals and 43 points, which he would eclipse the following season, scoring 19 goals and 51 points, receiving a first-place Norris Trophy vote, and playing in the mid-season all-star game.

A shoulder injury would cost Boucher most of the 2007-08 season, and he would be traded to Pittsburgh in November 2008. He would appear in nine playoff games for the Penguins that year, enough to get his name etched on the Stanley Cup as part of the Pens’ first Cup win since, wait for it….1991-92!

Boucher would retire the following season, and by 2011 would move into management in the QMJHL. He is currently the general manager of the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

YouTube clip: scoring a goal in Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against New Jersey. This was the game after the classic Game 6 quadruple-overtime 1-0 victory by the Sabres. Sadly the Sabres would lose Game 7 and the series.

Our next post will feature the next five cards in the 1991 Entry Draft series.

4 views0 comments


bottom of page