Gretzky in the draft

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Hasbro, Jul 11, 2011.

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  1. Hasbro

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    So 1979 was Gretzky's draft year correct? Was he an anticipate prospect like Crosby that he would have been the #1 pick had he not been with the Oilers.

    Seeing that Colorado had the 1st pick I'm sure if any team would have screwed that up, it would have been them.
     
  2. Rhiessan71

    Rhiessan71 Just a Fool

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    Technically, by NHL rules at the time, Gretzky wouldn't of been draft eligible until 1980 and only because they lowered the age to 19 in 1980. Previous to that year is was 20 years old.

    Gretzky bypassed all that by playing in the WHA at 17 when they had no such age rules. Wayne would of had no choice but to play another 2 seasons in the OHL.
    Can you imagine the kind of ridiculous numbers he would of put up in the OHL those years...prolly don't have to look any further than what Lemieux put up in his last 2 years in the Q.


    ...and just to note...if Gretzky had gone through everything properly, he would of been a Montreal Canadien over Doug Wickenheiser lol
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011
  3. Hasbro

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    That was another thing I was wondering. Sam Pollock made the trade with the Rockies giving him the option to swap firsts in that draft way back in 1976. I was wondering if he was loading up for another Guy Lafleur type deal and the WHA snaked it.
     
  4. Habsfan18

    Habsfan18 Registered User

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    That was the exact reason. Pollock had Gretzky in mind when he originally made that deal.
     
  5. Hasbro

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    So I'm right in thinking the Rockies would have found a way to **** it up. Could you imagine the stink of giving up a chance at the best player ever for Ron Andruff and Sean Shannahan?:facepalm:
     
  6. Marc the Habs Fan

    Marc the Habs Fan Moderator

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    What was the reaction at the time when Gretzky went to the WHA and bypassed the draft?

    From wikipedia...seems like he should have been in the draft once the WHA folded.

     
  7. Hasbro

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    That's why I'm not sure if it was '79 or '80. Players like Goulet and Messier reentered the draft and played in the NHL as 19 year olds.

    The Rockies had the #1 slot both years in '79 often sited as the best draft ever the Rocks took Rob Ramage #1 overall who while a good player was picked ahead of Mike Gartner and Ray Bourque.
     
  8. HF007

    HF007 nWo

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    what if the wha didnt fold? would wayne still come over to the nhl or stay?
     
  9. Rhiessan71

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    His contract was with Pocklington, not the team.

    This is the loophole/personal services contract the previously cited wiki article was referring to.
    He would of had to stay with Pocklington till his contract ran out.

    In fact, I guess if, when the WHA folded, that the NHL had of folded the Oilers and not brought Pocklington in as an owner, then a team would of had to buy Gretzky's contract from him.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011
  10. Slippin Jimmy

    Slippin Jimmy Registered User

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    I'm pretty sure he would have come to the NHL. As said earlier, he played in the WHA because he was too young for the NHL.
     
  11. Marc the Habs Fan

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    Messier and Goulet had to re-enter because their teams WHA folded. Messier played for the Oilers as an 18 year old in 1979-80 (turned 19 in January).

    However, it's weird though because 18 year olds, 19 year olds and 20 year olds were picked in that first round...Ramage was 20, Turnbull was 20, Foligno was 20, Gartner was 19, Vaive was 20, Hartsburg was just about to turn 20, Brown was 19, Bourque was 18, Boschman was 19, McCarthy was 19, Ramsey was 18, Reinhart was 19, Sulliman was 19, Propp was 20, McCrimmon was 20, Wells was 20, Sutter was 19, Allison was 20, Mann was 20, Goulet was 19 and Lowe was 20.

    Bourque and Ramsey both had December birthdates (Bourque a late one), so perhaps the cutoff was January 1? Gretzky was a January 26th birthday, so him being an 1980 eligible originally would make sense if the cutoff was indeed January 1.
     
  12. Rhiessan71

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    Gretz and Mess were born only 8 days apart. Without that PS contract, Gretz would of suffered the same fate and gone into the '79 Draft.

    My comment about 1980 earlier was about what would of happened if there was no WHA.
     
  13. Marc the Habs Fan

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    Yeah, I know, I edited the post to reflect that right after.

    The only thing still left to know is what the cutoff date was for the 1979 draft since Bourque and Ramsey were picked as 18 year olds. It sure seems like it was you had to be 19 by December 31st 1979 (which they were) or January 1st 1980 if Gretzky was slated for 1980 before the WHA decision.
     
  14. Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy Stardust Master Debater

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    Gretzky stated in an interview on his DVD that when he was in the WHA with the Indianapolis Racers and was approached about a trade, he conferred with his agent at the time to discuss his options, to get dealt to Winnipeg or Edmonton.

    Apparently they were aware that Edmonton had a good shot at being part of the NHL's expansion and that they had a more desirable NHL-sized arena to play at, and so Gretzky decided on being moved to Edmonton, with the knowledge that they'd be an NHL team.

    Also, with Gretzky having played professional hockey with the WHA, wouldn't he have been considered a free agent rather than a draft eligible player? I don't think he was or could have been considered an amateur experienced player by the point he entered the NHL.
     
  15. Bear of Bad News

    Bear of Bad News HFBoards Escape Goat

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    Messier and Goulet both played in the WHA, and were considered eligible for the amateur draft.
     
  16. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    Conversely, couldn't an NHL team have tried to draft Gretzky and challenge the Oilers legal claim for keeping him? Like if Montreal had taken a flyer on him in the 6th round, and gone to court over the legitimacy of Edmonton's claim to Gretzky, what would have happened? It's not like Gretzky was that proven, and the other WHA teams all got ***** anyway for talent, so it's not like people were exactly aware of what he would eventually come to represent...
     
  17. Ziggy Stardust

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    Ah yes, I guess being part of the WHA teams that were not absorbed in the '79 expansion resulted in them having to be drafted into the NHL (interestingly both being drafted by two former WHA clubs).

    Had Gretzky remained with Indianapolis, he would have been part of the draft then. Here are some interesting tidbits on Gretzky's personal services contract with Pocklington (interestingly, he had signed a similar personal services contract with Nelson Skalbania, then owner of the Racers).

    http://www.oilersheritage.com/history/WHA_events_sign_gretzky.html
     
  18. Hasbro

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    I'm not above lamenting missed opportunities, but I can't get into "imagine if Gretzky had been a Rocky!" mode.

    Even if Pocklington hadn't locked him up, the one team that could have screwed it up is the Rockies. The were just as likely to still pick Ramage thinking Gretz was too small or trade the pick for a couple of veteran scrubs.
     
  19. tony d

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    Someone mentioned Gretzky's draft year as 1980, Montreal had the 1st pick that year, imagine Gretzky on Montreal? That would have good for them.
     
  20. Hasbro

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    Taking a look at Sports Illustrated's hockey preview from Oct 8, 1979, they mention the Rockies turned down an offer of "three regulars from Montreal" for the Ramage pick.
     
  21. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    Why would Gretzky have gone in 1980? It doesn't make sense to me.

    Mark Messier was a WHA draftee, was born January 18, 1961 was picked in 1979.

    Wayne Gretzky, had he been available to be drafted, would have been picked in 1979 as well, since he was a January 26, 1979 birthdate.
     
  22. ForsbergForever

    ForsbergForever Red Rocket

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    It is because the draft age used to be 20 not 18. Gretzky being in the 1980 draft was contingent on that eligibility rule. The problem was that it changed after the merger in 1979, thus moving everyone up a year or two depending on age...
     
  23. Rhiessan71

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    Yeah, the only reason Messier went in '79 was because he had already played in the WHA and was therefore deemed available.
    Gretzky had a personal Services contract with Pocklington himself, not the Oilers that made him ineligible for the draft.

    If there was no such thing as the WHA, then both Messier and Gretzky would of still been in Junior for the '79 season and wouldn't of been Draft eligible until 1980 and only then because the age was dropped from 20 to 19 in 1980.

    I think a lot of people tend to forget that Gretzky was only 17 when he started his professional career with the Indianapolis Racers of the WHA.
     
  24. Passchendaele

    Passchendaele Registered User

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    Everybody doubted Gretzky's ability to perform at a similar level in the NHL. Even after he scored 137 points as a rookie, they thought it wouldn't last. Then, he scored 164 and 212 points. They all agreed he was a great player by that point, but they were still sceptical about his ability to lead his team to a championship. Which he did many times later.
     
  25. Hasbro

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    One of the reasons I think the Rockies would have still screwed it up if they had the chance to draft him.
     

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