Craig MacTavish - Centre - 1979/80-1983/84, 1985/86-1996/97
Drafted in the ninth round, 153rd overall, in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft by the Boston Bruins, MacTavish debuted during the 1979/80 season. MacTavish scored 480 points (213G, 267A) in 1093 games, as well as 58 points (20G, 38A) in 193 playoff games, for the Boston Bruins (1979/80-1983/84), Edmonton Oilers (1985/86-partway through 1993/94), New York Rangers (part of 1993/94), Philadelphia Flyers (1994/95-partway through 1995/96), and the St. Louis Blues (partway through 1995/96-1996/97).
MacTavish won the Stanley Cup in 1987, 1988, and 1990 with the Edmonton Oilers and 1994 with the New York Rangers. He played in one All-Star Game, representing Philadelphia in 1996.
With so many players on this list from the Oilers’ Cup-winning 80s teams who were All-Stars in every way except for actually playing in an All-Star Game, I had to include those also were in an All-Star Game, hence Craig MacTavish. Perhaps known more these days for his, ahem, track record as Oilers GM, MacTavish played 17 years in the NHL. He reached the 30-point mark every season he played between 1982/83 and 1993/94, including four 40-point seasons, one of which was a 50-point season. MacTavish infamously was sent to prison for killing a woman with his car, missing the entirety of 1984/85, and it weirdly ended up forwarding his career, as the Bruins’ GM Harry Sinden released him from his contract to give him a fresh start and Glen Sather signed him to the Oilers as a favour to Sinden, with MacTavish going on to win three Stanley Cups as part of the Oilers’ dynasty. He would also win a Cup with the Rangers in 1994, one of seven players to win a Cup with both the 80s Oilers and 1994 Rangers, and was the last player to play without a helmet in an NHL game, retiring in 1997. He earned Selke votes in six different seasons and, while it was just as a Commissioner’s Selection, did play in an All-Star Game, cementing his case on this list.
Peter Mahovlich - Right Wing - 1965/66-1980/81
Drafted in the first round, second overall, in the 1963 NHL Amateur Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Mahovlich debuted during the 1965/66 season. Mahovlich scored 773 points (288G, 485A) in 884 games, as well as 72 points (30G, 42A) in 88 playoff games, for the Detroit Red Wings (1965/66-1968/69, 1979/80-1980/81), Montreal Canadiens (1969/70-1977/78), and the Pittsburgh Penguins (1977/78-1978/79).
Mahovlich won the Stanley Cup in 1971, 1973, 1976, and 1977 with the Montreal Canadiens. He played in two All-Star Games, representing Montreal in 1971 and 1976. Internationally, he represented Canada, winning the 1972 Summit Series and the 1976 Canada Cup.
It’s honestly surprising that Mahovlich isn’t in the Hall of Fame. He wasn’t quite as prolific as his older brother, Hall of Famer Frank Mahovlich, but Mahovlich the Younger was very productive, with three 60-point seasons, topping 70 points three times including two 100-point seasons. No, he wasn’t a point-per-game player in his career, but his production ought to get him some consideration, especially with how many Cups he won.
Vladimir Malakhov - Defence - 1992/93-2005/06
Drafted in the tenth round, 191st overall, in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders, Malakhov debuted during the 1992/93 season. Malakhov scored 346 points (86G, 260A) in 712 games, as well as 27 points (8G, 19A) in 75 playoff games, for the New York Islanders (1992/93-partway through 1994/95), Montreal Canadiens (partway through 1994/95-partway through 1999/00), New Jersey Devils (part of 1999/00, 2005/06), New York Rangers (2000/01-partway through 2003/04), and the Philadelphia Flyers (part of 2003/04).
Malakhov won the Stanley Cup in 2000 with the New Jersey Devils. He earned All-Rookie honours in 1993. Internationally, he represented Russia, winning Bronze at the 1991 World Championships for the Soviet Union and at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, and Gold at the 1990 World Championships for the Soviet Union and the 1992 Albertville Olympics for the Unified Team.
Malakhov started his career off with some strong offensive seasons, finishing with 52 points in 64 games, a 68-point pace, and 57 points in 76 games, a 63-point pace, in 1992/93 and 1993/94. Although he never reached 50 again, coming the closest with a 44-point season (49-point pace) in 1998, and never even got to 30 after 1999, he was a solid defenceman for the remainder of the decade, and averaged at least 20 minutes per night in each season he played where ice time was tracked, with the exception of 2000/01, when he played three games for the Rangers. Malakhov, a Gold Medal winner with the Soviets in 1990 at the World and with the 1992 Unified Team, became a Triple Gold Club member with his Stanley Cup win in New Jersey.
Rick Martin - Left Wing - 1971/72-1981/82
Drafted in the first round, fifth overall, in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, Martin debuted during the 1971/72 season. Martin scored 701 points (384G, 317A) in 685 games, as well as 53 points (24G, 29A) in 63 playoff games, playing for the Buffalo Sabres (1971/72-partway through 1980/81), and the Los Angeles Kings (partway through 1980/81-1981/82).
Martin earned Second-Team All-Star honours in 1976 and 1977 and First-Team All-Star honours in 1974 and 1975, and played in seven All-Star Games, representing Buffalo in 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1978. Internationally, he represented Canada, winning the 1976 Canada Cup.
At first glance, it’s surprising to see that, for all his offensive potency, Martin never won a major award. Then one remembers that A) his career was shortened due to injury, B) Martin played at the same time as the stacked Bruins of the Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito era, C) the NHL didn’t have a trophy for the leading goal scorer anyway, D) it was the first decade of the Sabres’ existence, and E) Ken Dryden played his first proper season in the NHL so of course Martin wouldn’t get the Calder. With that laundry list of barriers, it’s understandable that Martin never won a tangible award. He scored more points than he played games in four of his NHL seasons, racking up enough points that he had more points than games overall at the end of his career. He eclipsed 50 goals twice and 40 goals twice more, and 30 goals three other times. Though he never hit the 100-point mark, he came close in 1975, when he scored 52 goals and 95 points, a 61-goal 112 point pace that, had he played the full 80 games, would have stand today as the Sabres’ franchise goal record and fall one point short of linemate Gilbert Perreault the following season. Martin formed a line Perreault and Rene Robert, named the “French Connection” after the 1971 Gene Hackman vehicle (great film by the way) as a reference to all three members being from Quebec, with Martin filling the role of the line’s crack shot, the only one of the three to hit that 50-goal mark. Many of the players listed throughout this project are listed at least in part because of their association with a famous line, and Martin is a perfect example. Traded not long after suffering what would ultimately be a career-ending knee injury, Martin wound net the Sabres the draft pick that would be used to select Tom Barrasso.
Dennis Maruk - Centre - 1975/76-1988/89
Drafted in the second round, 21st overall, in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft by the California Golden Seals, Maruk debuted during the 1975/76 season. Maruk scored 878 points (356G, 522A) in 888 games, as well as 36 points (14G, 22A) in 34 playoff games, for the California Golden Seals and Cleveland Barons (1975/76-1977/78), Minnesota North Stars (part of 1978/79, 1983/84-1988/89), and Washington Capitals (partway through 1978/79-1982/83).
Maruk played in two All-Star Games, representing Cleveland in 1978 and Washington in 1982. Internationally, he represented Canada, winning Bronze at the 1978 and 1983 World Championships.
Maruk may be somewhat obscure among players who had nearly a point-per-game as an NHLer. He didn’t win a Stanley Cup or a major award, but he was an excellent goal scorer, one of the first true snipers in Capitals’ history. He debuted with the Golden Seals in their last season in the Bay Area before their ill-fated relocation to Cleveland and would be one of the Barons players absorbed by the Minnesota North Stars in 1978. It was a short-lived stint in Minnesota however, as he played into only two games before being traded to Washington and scoring 31 goals and 90 points. He scored 10 goals and 27 points in 27 games in 1979/80, a 30-goal and 80-point pace, before enjoying his peak offensive seasons. He scored 50 goals and 97 points, becoming the first Caps player to score 50 in a season, in 1981, followed by scoring 60 goals and 138 points, the first 60-goal scorer and 100-point scorer in franchise history as well. After he scored 31 goals and 81 points in 1983, he was traded back to Minnesota. He scored at least 60 points in each of his first two seasons with the North Stars, and scored at an over-60-point pace in 1986, though he neither scored 60 nor at a 60-point pace in 1987, and would never reach 30 goals. When he retired after playing 28 games of a possible 160 in the 1987/88 and 1988/89 seasons, scoring a combined 12 points, he was the last NHLer to have played for the California Golden Seals/Cleveland Barons franchise, with Charlie Simmer the only other active professional left although he had already played his last in the NHL.
Brad McCrimmon - Defence - 1979/80-1996/97
Drafted in the first round, 15th overall, in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins, McCrimmon debuted during the 1979/80 season. McCrimmon scored 403 points (81G, 322A) in 1222 games, as well as 29 points (11G, 18A) in 116 playoff games, for the Boston Bruins (1979/80-1981/82), Philadelphia Flyers (1982/83-1986/87), Calgary Flames (1987/88-1989/90), Detroit Red Wings (1990/91-1992/93), Hartford Whalers (1993/94-1995/96), and Phoenix Coyotes (1996/97).
McCrimmon won the Stanley Cup in 1989 with the Calgary Flames. He earned Second-Team All-Star honours in 1988, and played in one All-Star Game, representing Calgary in 1988. Internationally, he represented Canada, winning Bronze at the 1978 World Juniors.
While in the earlier half of his career he McCrimmon showed offensive ability, reaching the 40-point mark three times including a 56-point season, McCrimmon was a respected defensive defenceman. During his career he was the blueliner partner with some of the very best at the position, playing with the likes of Ray Bourque, Mark Howe, Gary Suter, Rob Ramage, Nicklas Lidstrom, Paul Coffey, and Chris Pronger during his career. He was a standout defensive defenceman during an era of elite point producers.
Mike McEwen - Defence - 1976/77-1987/88
Drafted in the third round, 42nd overall, in the 1976 NHL Amateur Draft by the New York Rangers, McEwen debuted during the 1976/77 season. McEwen scored 404 points (108G, 296A) in 716 games, as well as 48 points (12G, 36A) in 78 playoff games, for the New York Rangers (1976/77-partway through 1979/80, part of 1985/86), Colorado Rockies (partway through 1979/80-partway through 1980/81), New York Islanders (partway through 1980/81-partway through 1983/84), Los Angeles Kings (part of 1983/84), Washington Capitals (1984/85), Detroit Red Wings (part of 1985/86), and Hartford Whalers (partway through 1985/86-1987/88).
McEwen won the Stanley Cup in 1981, 1982, and 1983 with the New York Islanders. He played in one All-Star Game, representing Colorado in 1980.
McEwen has an underrated case to be in the conversation. He scored 20 goals and 58 points in the 1978/79 season, and followed that up with 59 points in 1979/80 as he was traded to the Rockies. He didn’t reach the 50-point mark again, but scored at an 50-point pace or more during the 1980/81 (50-point pace), 1981/82 (54-point pace), and 1984/85 (54-point pace). He was one of several major defencemen with the Cup dynasty Islanders.
Marty McSorley - Defence - 1983/84-1999/00
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 1982 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, McSorley debuted during the 1983/84 season. McSorley scored 359 points (108G, 251A) in 961 games, as well as 29 points (10G, 19A) in 115 playoff games, playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins (1983/84-1984/85, part of 1993/94), Edmonton Oilers (1985/86-1987/88, 1998/99), Los Angeles Kings (1988/89-1992/93, partway through 1993/94-partway through 1995/96), New York Rangers (part of 1995/96), San Jose Sharks (1996/97-1997/98), and Boston Bruins (1999/00).
McSorley won the Stanley Cup in 1987 and 1988 with the Edmonton Oilers.
As mentioned, several of the players are on the list as All-Stars who won the Cup with the Oilers, with the definition of All-Star stretched to include All-Star calibre seasons. As Wayne Gretzky’s bodyguard and a defensive defenceman in an era where that type of player was more valued, any of his seasons in which he scored 30 points (1989/90, 1990/91, 1992/93, 1993/94, or 1995/96) would get a player of his type into an All-Star Game. He finished that 1993 season with 41 points, and scored at a 33-point pace in 1991/92, and a 51-point pace in 1990/91. He had offensive chops, especially for a defensive defenceman known for violent play, and as a two-time Cup winner during the Oilers dynasty who had All-Star calibre seasons, he deserves a spot on this list. Also worth noting is that, like Steve Duchesne, who is also on this list, McSorley is one of a miniscule number of players who had two different stints with three different teams, beginning his career with Pittsburgh and later spending part of the 1993/94 season with them, playing with the Oilers both in the late 80s and during the 1998/99 season, and with the Kings in the early 90s and mid 90s, separated by his second stint in Pittsburgh.
Rick Middleton - Right Wing - 1974/75-1987/88
Drafted in the first round, 14th overall, in the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft by the New York Rangers, Middleton debuted during the 1974/75 season. Middleton scored 988 points (448G, 540A) in 1005 games, as well as 100 points (45G, 55A) in 114 playoff games, playing for the New York Rangers (1974/75-1975/76), and Boston Bruins (1976/77-1987/88).
Middleton won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player in 1982. He earned Second-Team All-Star honours in 1982, and played in three All-Star Games, representing Boston in 1981, 1982, and 1984. Internationally, he represented Canada, winning Second place at the 1981 Canada Cup and winning the 1984 Canada Cup.
In May 1976, the New York Rangers traded Middleton to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Ken Hodge, in a trade of a disappointing young talent for a proven scoring star. While Hodge’s production dropped dramatically, not even aided by his move to New York reuniting him with Phil Esposito, Middleton rose from 42 points in 1976/77, his first year in Boston, to 60 in 1977/78, to 38 goals and 86 points in 1978/79. He would go on to score at least 80 points five more times, cracking 90 points in each and triple digits twice. He would also eclipse 30 goals seven more times, scoring at least 40 goals five times and 50 twice. Middleton played in three Stanley Cup Finals, failing to actually win as the Bruins went up against the Canadiens and Oilers dynasties. He co-captained the Bruins during the final three seasons of his career, but that wound up being the end of his career. He suffered a concussion after taking a shot the head in practice, missing the rest of 1985/86 and producing at a reduced rate during parts of the following two seasons before retiring.
Boris Mikhailov - Right Winger
Internationally, Mikhailov represented the Soviet Union, winning Bronze at the 1977 World Championships, Silver at the 1972 and 1976 World Championships and the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, and Gold at the 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1979 World Championships and the 1972 Sapporo and 1976 Innsbruck Olympics, losing the 1972 Summit Series and winning the 1974 Summit Series. He played in the 1979 Challenge Cup, representing the Soviet national team.
The first thing that you’ll notice about Mikhailov is that his NHL career isn’t listed and a range of seasons isn’t shown next to his name. That’s because he never played in the NHL. The Hall of Fame is chock full of players who don’t even have one game on NHL ice under their belts, but those players are largely early inductees who put together highly respectable careers in the NHL’s forerunner leagues or leagues like the Pacific Coast Hockey Association or Western Canada Hockey League who competed at the NHL’s level during its first decade of existence. Of those, 1989 inductee Vladislav Tretiak, 2005 inductee Valeri Kharlamov, and 2018 inductee Alexander Yakushev are the only names who got in who played after this early period without ever playing in the NHL. Mikhailov is considered one of the best players to have never played in the NHL, with 652 points (428G, 224A) in 572 games between Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, from 1967/18 to 1966/67, and CSKA Moscow from 1967/68 to 1980/81. He wasn’t completely disconnected from the NHL though. In addition to the Summit Series, he played in an NHL All-Star Game... sort of. In place of the All-Star Game, the NHL instead put its best together in a three-game exhibition series against the Soviet national team. Mikhailov captained the Soviet team during that series, which the Soviets won two games to one.
Dmitri Mironov - Defence - 1991/92-2000/01
Drafted in the eighth round, 160th overall, in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mironov debuted during the 1991/92 season. Mironov scored 260 points (54G, 206A) in 556 games, as well as 36 points (10G, 26A) in 75 playoff games, for the Toronto Maple Leafs (1991/92-1994/95), Pittsburgh Penguins (1995/96-partway through 1996/97), Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (partway through 1996/97-partway through 1997/98), Detroit Red Wings (part of 1997/98), and Washington Capitals (1998/99-2000/01).
Mironov won the Stanley Cup in 1998 with the Detroit Red Wings. He played in one All-Star Game, representing Anaheim in 1998. Internationally he represented Russia, winning Bronze at the 1991 World Championships with the Soviet Union, Silver at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, and Gold at the 1992 Albertville Olympics with the Unified Team.
One of the most iconic stories in Detroit Red Wings history is that of the Russian Five. As a not-at-all-needed reminder, the Red Wings drafted Sergei Fedorov and Vladimir Konstantinov in 1989 and Vyacheslav Kozlov in 1990, acquiring Igor Larionov and Vyacheslav Fetisov in 1995 and putting the five together as a unit in defiance of the usual “separate forward line and defence pairing” method of lineup construction typically employed in the NHL, leading to a Cup Final appearnce, a record-breaking regular season, and a championship, before Konstantinov was crippled in a limo accident in the summer of 1997. Mironov, who had had strong 30-point-plus seasons with Conference Finalist Maple Leafs and Penguins teams in the middle of the decade, was coming off a 52-point season, and had represented the Mighty Ducks as an All-Star earlier in the season, was acquired from the Mighty Ducks and manned the blueline as part of a shortlived “Russian Five II.” It didn’t have the same dominance as the pre-1997 iteration, and was broken up for good with Mironov’s signing in Washington and Fetisov’s retirement following the 1998 season, but it did produce another Cup for the Red Wings, who were the last team until 2017 to win back-to-back Cups. Is that enough for a defenceman who played only a decade in the NHL and scored at a single-season pace of 38 points through his career? You be the judge, but for what it’s worth, I think all of the Russian Five should be in the Hall.
Fredrik Modin - Left Wing - 1996/97-2010/11
Drafted in the third round, 64th overall, in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Modin debuted during the 1996/97 season. Modin scored 462 points (232G, 230A) in 898 games, as well as 26 points (14G, 12A) in 57 playoff games, for the Toronto Maple Leafs (1996/97-1998/99), Tampa Bay Lightning (1999/00-2005/06), Columbus Blue Jackets (2006/07-partway through 2009/10), Los Angeles Kings (part of 2009/10), Atlanta Thrashers (part of 2010/11), and Calgary Flames (part of 2010/11).
Modin won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He played in one All-Star Game, representing Tampa Bay in 2001. Internationally, he represented Sweden, winning Bronze at the 2001 World Championships, Silver at the 1994 world Juniors, and Gold at the 1998 World Championships and 2006 Turin Olympics.
Modin is among the lower-scoring of the forwards found throughout this list, but his case for induction isn’t completely meritless. He was a solid goal-scorer, reaching the 30-goal mark in 2001 and 2006, and was notably part of several milestone playoff appearances, being a part of Tampa Bay’s second playoff appearance, and first since 1996, in 2003 followed by winning the Cup with the Lightning in 2004, later on helping the Columbus Blue Jackets qualify for their first playoff appearance in frachise history in 2009, and also being a part of the Los Angeles Kings’ drought-breaking playoff appearance in 2010. As, by this point, his ability to stay healthy and crack double-digit points was gone, Modin retired in 2011, but he retired as a member of the Triple Gold club thanks to his international career with Sweden. Modin also won the Hardest Shot Challenge when he participated in the Skills Competition at the 2001 All-Star Game.
Alexander Mogilny - Right Wing - 1989/90-2005/06
Drafted in the fifth round, 89th overall, in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, Mogilny debuted during the 1989/90 season. Mogilny scored 1032 points (473G, 559A) in 990 games, as well as 86 points (39G, 47A) in 124 playoff games, for the Buffalo Sabres (1989/90-1994/95), Vancouver Canucks (1995/96-partway through 1999/00), New Jersey Devils (partway through 1999/00-2000/01, 2005/06), and Toronto Maple Leafs (2001/02-2003/04).
Mogilny won the Stanley Cup in 2000 with the New Jersey Devils. He won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player in 2003. He earned Second-Team All-Star honours in 1993 and 1996, and played in four All-Star Games, representing Buffalo in 1992, 1993, and 1994 and Vancouver in 1996. Internationally, he represented Russia, winning Silver at the 1988 World Juniors with the Soviet Union and Gold at the 1989 World Juniors, 1989 World Championships, and 1988 Calgary Olympics with the Soviet Union.
Mogilny was probably the main impetus for this entire project. In the leadup to the announcement of the 2020 induction class, it seemed like Mogilny was guaranteed to finally get his call, but it wound up not happening. Many think he is a major snub, if the conversation on Twitter last summer is anything to go by. His case for the Hall, in my opinion, is iron clad and he should have been inducted years ago. After winning Gold Medals with the Soviets in international play in the late 80s, he became the first star Russian to defect from the Eastern Bloc to play in the NHL. In his rookie and sophomore seasons in 1990/91 and 1991/92, he finished with 30 goals and 64 points in 62 games and 39 goals and 84 points, respectively. Had he played a full 80-game schedule, he would have scored 39 goals and 83 points, and 47 goals and 100 points, respectively. In 1992/93, his 76 goals tied for first leaguewide and he totalled 127 points. In a full 84-game schedule, Mogilny’s 32 goals and 79 points in 1993/94 prorate to 41 goals and 101 points. After joining the Vancouver Canucks for the 1995/96 season, he scored 55 goals and 107 points, his second-best season by a longshot. The three seasons that followed his 31 goals and 73 points in 1996/97 resulted in him being traded to New Jersey during the 1999/00, with whom he would win the Cup. Thanks to his Gold Medals in the late 80s at the Worlds and Olympics prior to the start of his NHL career, his Cup win got him into the elusive Triple Gold Club. Following his Cup win, he would rebound with a 43-goal 83-point season before joining Toronto. He scored 24 goals and 57 points in 66 games in his first year with Toronto, a 30-goal 71-point pace, before scoring 33 goals and 79 points in his second year with them. While his scoring pace dipped in his final year in Toronto and he missed most of 2003/04 with injuries, he helped Toronto to three straight postseason appearances including a Conference Final appearance. He produced respectively during the 2005/06 season with the Devils before accepting a demotion to the AHL for salary cap reasons and retiring. With 1032 points in only 990 games, it seems as though he should have been a second-ballot Hall-of-Famer at least. 2006 saw the retirements of some absolute legends, so it was understandable for Mogilny to not be inducted over Steve Yzerman, Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull, and Brian Leetch, but I don’t see why he couldn’t have been inducted in 2010, considering not only that Dino Ciccarelli was the only NHL alumnus inducted that year, but that only three players were inducted altogether that year, where the Hall usually inducts a maximum of four players. If not 2010, 2016 would have also been a suitable year as that also saw only three inductees in the player category.
Doug Mohns - Defence - 1953/54-1974/75
Signed as an undrafted free agent, Mohns debuted during the 1953/54 season. Mohns scored 710 points (248G, 462A) in 1390 games, as well as 50 points (14G, 36A) in 94 playoff games, for the Boston Bruins (1953/54-1963/64), Chicago Blackhawks (1964/65-partway through 1970/71), Minnesota North Stars (partway through 1970/71-1972/73), Atlanta Flames (1973/74), and Washington Capitals (1974/75).
Mohns played in seven All-Star Games, representing Boston in 1954, 1958, 1959, 1961, and 1962, Chicago in 1965, and Minnesota in 1972.
A true rarity in the NHL is the player who can play both forward and defence effectively. Few play both positions to begin with, with examples limited to players who perform much worse at one position than the other, guys that spend so little time at one position that they never are officially referred to as playing that position, players who just switch positions for special teams like the time-honoured tradition of playing a fourth forward on the point, some depth player whose impact at either position is negligble, or that one time the Islanders iced five defencemen at the same time. One of the ur-examples of such a player was Doug Mohns. Mohns spent the bulk of his career as a defenceman, representing Boston in five All-Star Games and playing in two Stanley Cup Final series on the blueline, and providing a veteran presence for expansion teams in Minnesota, Atlanta, and Washington, with eight seasons reaching at least 30 points, among them three reaching at least 40. In the middle, he played a handful of seasons in Chicago, playing in a third Cup Final and playing in one of his All-Star appearances. Big and tough, though also skilled, Mohns was the offensive half of a defence pairing in Boston with Hall-of-Famer Fern Flaman, and was a linemate for Stan Mikita and enforcer for Bobby Hull during his stint in Chicago. Mohns lost in all three of his Cup Final appearances to Montreal, and had the Blackhawks not traded him in 1971, he may very well have wound up in a fourth Final against the Habs, and may have very well helped them come out on top. As it stands, Mohns is one of the real standout Bruins blueliners who never won a Cup.
Garry Monahan - Centre - 1967/68-1978/79
Drafted in the first round, first overall, in the 1963 NHL Amateur Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, Monahan debuted during the 1967/68 season. Monahan scored 285 points (116G, 169A) in 748 games, as well as four points (3G, 1A) in 22 playoff games, for the Montreal Canadiens (1967/68-1968/69), Detroit Red Wings (part of 1969/70), Los Angeles Kings (part of 1969/70), Toronto Maple Leafs (1970/71-partway through 1974/75, 1978/79), and Vancouver Canucks (partway through 1974/75-1977/78).
Monahan wasn’t the biggest scorer. He never won a Stanley Cup. He never played in the All-Star Game. But Monahan occupies a unique place in NHL history. Back in the middle of the 20th Century, the six NHL teams had expansive farm systems consisting of minor professional and major junior teams, and even deeper down, all over North America, especially Canada. Teams would sign promising young players to oppressively binding contracts that locked up a player’s NHL rights for lengthy periods of time, to end only at the will of the team. With the NHL gearing up to double the size of the league with six new franchises created out of wholecloth, the NHL began to chip away at this system. The first part of this was the introduction of the Draft. Any player who was young enough and not already signed was eligible, and in 1963 the first draft was held. Monahan was the first player selected, making him the very first NHL draft pick. I wouldn’t have him on this list had he never become a full-time NHLer, but he was one of the five players to play in the NHL. On the ice, he didn’t make the impact of second-overall pick Peter Mahovlich, who is also on this list, but Monahan, who had six seasons reaching the 30-point mark, including one reaching the 40-point mark, carved out a solid career as a decent mid-six defensive forward. Monahan’s performance in his career is enough for me to have him on the list for his irrevocable place in NHL history. Nobody else will ever be the first player ever drafted into the NHL.
Andy Moog - Goaltender - 1980/81-1997/98
Drafted in the seventh round, 132nd overall, in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers, Moog debuted during the 1980/81 season. Moog posted a 372-209-88 record, 0.892 Save%, 3.13 GAA, and 28 shutouts, as well as 68-57 record, 0.890 Save%, 3.04 GAA, four shutouts in 132 playoff games, playing for the Edmonton Oilers (1980/81-1986/87), Boston Bruins (1987/88-1992/93), Dallas Stars (1993/94-1996/97), and Montreal Canadiens (1997/98).
Moog won the Stanley Cup in 1984, 1985, and 1987 with the Edmonton Oilers. He won the William M. Jennings Trophy, awared to the goaltender(s) who play at least 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it, in 1990. He played in four All-Star Games, representing Edmonton in 1985 and 1986, Boston in 1991, and Dallas in 1997.
Moog kind of gets forgotten in the conversation of great Oilers goaltenders and the dynasty in general, thanks to one Grant Fuhr. But actually, Moog predates Fuhr, having played 50 games out of 80 as early as 1983, and 13 of the Oilers’ 16 playoff games en route to their loss against the Islanders in the Final. Moog took on a reduced workload in subsequent seasons as Fuhr emerged as the goaltending star of the decade, only seeing limited postseason action despite playing more regular season games than Fuhr in both 1985/86 and 1986/87, the latter Moog’s last with the Oilers and something of a vindication I suppose, seeing as it was the first time Moog played the majority of the regular season games on a Cup-winning team. Moog was traded to Boston in a move that benefitted all involved, as incoming Geoff Courtnall and Bill Ranford became Cup winners in Edmonton while Moog was able to flourish as an undispute starter in Boston, despite his Bruins losing in both the 1988 and 1990 Cup Finals against Edmonton. Moog would perform poorly for the Bruins in the 1993 playoffs before being traded to Dallas. While the move hurt the Bruins in the long run, their 29-year playoff appearance streak ending three years after the trade as the team in general fell into down period, Moog performed at a high level for the Stars, leading them to the postseason in three of his four years with them. He played with the Canadiens during the 1997/98 season, but wasn’t the answer in the post-Patrick Roy years. He retired in 1998, and he ought to have been considered for Hall induction at some point. He was one of the more successful goaltenders of his era.
Gus Mortson - Defenceman - 1946/47-1958/59
Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mortson debuted during the 1946/47 season. He scored 198 points (46G, 152A) in 797 games, as well as 13 points (5G, 8A) in 54 playoff games, for the Toronto Maple Leafs (1946/47-1951/52), Chicago Blackhawks (1952/53-1957/58), and Detroit Red Wings (1958/59).
Mortson won the Stanley Cup in 1947, 1948, 1949, and 1951 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He earned First-Team All-Star honours in 1950. He played in eight All-Star Games, representing Toronto in 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, and 1952, and Chicago in 1953, 1954 and 1956.
If one looks at names from the NHL’s fondly remembered Original Six era, the list of possible names is getting pretty thin. Mortson is one of the standout names from that period to not be in the Hall of Fame. Like most defencemen of the day, Mortson’s role was as a defence-first player with a physical style, and that much is clear from him having only reached 20 points twice in his career. On the other hand, he was consistent offensively, only failing to reach double digits once, his final NHL season in 1958/59, which he spent with the Red Wings and which he finished with one assist in 36 games. During his career he was seen as a quality defenceman, if him spending three of his seasons in Chicago are any indication, and as six of his eight All-Star Game appearances are having been specifically picked to participate, rather than as a member of the defending Stanley Cup champion as was the style at the time.