Cheer up.. Wait, Actually This Won’t Help.
While basking in the misery of the Kings latest ineptitude, I remembered these depressing blast-from-the-past facts:
The Habs’ astute General Manager, Sam Pollock, was keen to find a way to trade with the California Golden Seals to obtain their first round draft pick. He persuaded Seals owner Charlie Finley to trade the Seals’ pick and François Lacombe in return for Montreal’s first round pick and a veteran Ernie Hicke. It turned out to be one of the most lopsided deals in NHL history. However, during the 1970-71 season, the Los Angeles Kings were playing even more poorly than the hapless California Seals. The Kings were in danger of “beating” the Seals out for last place, and if this happened Pollock would lose his first overall pick. Pollock cleverly traded the aging but still valuable Ralph Backstrom to the Kings for two insignificant players. Backstrom’s presence lifted the Kings out of last place, the Seals finished at the bottom, granting the Habs the first pick. Pollock hesitated between Lafleur and Marcel Dionne, but chose Lafleur with his overall no.1 pick.
So the Kings got Dionne, a nice ‘silver medal’ if you will. But wow. The Flower (not Marc-Andre Fleury) could have been a King. Pretty amazing to consider.
After a stellar junior career with Sorel and Verdun of the QMJHL, in which he was named the league’s best defenceman in 1978 and 1979, Raymond Bourque’s NHL debut came in 1979 after being drafted 8th overall by the Bruins, with a first-round draft choice obtained from the Los Angeles Kings in a 1977 trade for goaltender Ron Grahame, whose son John would be a future teammate of Bourque’s.