The Vancouver Canucks knew it was a long shot that Igor Larionov would ever play for them when they selected him in the 11th round (No. 214) of the 1985 NHL Draft. He was 24 years old, and it was unclear if the Soviet Union would ever allow him to come to the NHL.
But 35 years later, knowing what Larionov did in 14 NHL seasons, he didn’t make it past the second pick in the NHL.com’s 1985 redraft.
Though Larionov made the biggest jump, another Hockey Hall of Fame forward, Joe Nieuwendyk, moved from the second round to the No. 1 pick, and goalie Mike Richter jumped from the second round into the top five.
Forward Wendel Clark, selected No. 1 by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1985, fell two spots to No. 3.
Who else would move up? Who else would drop? Twenty-one NHL.com staffers, using the order from and players selected in the 1985 draft, have answered those questions. Here are the results. For reference, here is how the original draft went.
1. Joe Nieuwendyk, C, Toronto Maple Leafs (originally selected No. 27 by Calgary Flames) — What a coup for the Maple Leafs to land Nieuwendyk, an Ontario native who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, in this redraft. Far and away the best offensive player available, Nieuwendyk leads the 1985 class with 564 goals, 562 assists, 1,126 points, 215 power-play goals, 93 game-winning goals and an average of 0.90 points in 1,257 NHL games. He was voted winner of the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year for 1987-88, when he scored an NHL career-high 92 points (51 goals, 41 assists). Nieuwendyk won the Stanley Cup three times, with three different teams (Flames, 1989; Dallas Stars, 1999; New Jersey Devils, 2003), and was voted winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1999, when he scored 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 23 games. — Jim Cerny, senior editor
2. Igor Larionov, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (No. 214 by Vancouver Canucks) — As tough as it was to pass on Richter, the Penguins opted for one of the most intelligent and durable players in hockey history. It took the smooth-skating center until he was nearly 29 to get out of the Soviet Union, but he played 14 NHL seasons after making his debut with Vancouver on Oct. 5, 1989, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008. The Professor won every championship there was to win, including two Olympic gold medals (1984, 1988), the 1981 Canada Cup, four IIHF World Championships (1982, 1983, 1986, 1989), two IIHF World Junior Championships (1979, 1980) and three Stanley Cup titles with the Detroit Red Wings (1997, 1998, 2002). Larionov became the final piece of the “Russian Five” unit, with left wing Vyacheslav Kozlov, right wing Sergei Fedorov and defensemen Vladimir Konstantinov and Viacheslav Fetisov, when he joined Detroit for the 1995-96 season. He is second in the 1985 class with 475 assists in 921 NHL games, fourth in rating at plus-104, and second with 97 playoff points (30 goals, 67 assists) and 150 postseason games behind Nieuwendyk (116 points, 158 games). — Paul Strizhevsky, columnist, NHL.com/ru
3. Wendel Clark, LW, New Jersey Devils (No. 1 by Toronto Maple Leafs) — A left wing who can do it all. How do you pass that up? I certainly was not going to do that here. Clark was among the most rugged to play the game but also was more skilled than he often is given credit. He scored 564 points (330 goals, 234 assists) in 793 NHL games, his average of 0.71 points per game fourth among players drafted in 1985. Only Nieuwendyk scored more goals in the class than Clark, whose 101 power-play goals are third. His performance in the 1993 playoffs epitomized who he was as a player, scoring 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 21 games with 51 penalty minutes as the emotional leader of Toronto’s run to the Campbell Conference Finals. — Shawn P. Roarke, Senior Director of Editorial
4. Mike Richter, G, Vancouver Canucks (No. 28 by New York Rangers) — The Canucks allowed an NHL-high 401 goals in 1984-85, so selecting Richter here was a no-brainer, especially because they didn’t know what to expect from goalie Kirk McLean, a sixth-round pick (No. 107) in the 1984 NHL Draft. With 301 wins and 24 shutouts, Richter is second in each category in the 1985 class behind Sean Burke (324 wins, 38 shutouts), but he played 154 NHL games fewer than Burke, thanks in large part to sharing the New York net with John Vanbiesbrouck his first four seasons. One of the best United States-born goalies of all time, Richter was instrumental in the Rangers winning their first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years in 1994, going 16-7 with a 2.07 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. He had at least 20 wins in 10 of his 14 NHL seasons, all with New York. — Sebastien Deschambault, managing editor, LNH.com
5. Bill Ranford, G, Hartford Whalers (No. 52 by Boston Bruins) — Ranford earned his money in the playoffs during his 15-season NHL career. He was a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Edmonton Oilers, in 1988 as Hockey Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr‘s backup and in 1990 when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy after going 16-6 with a 2.53 GAA and .912 save percentage. He played all but 1:56 in the 1990 Cup run; his total ice time of 1,401:13 in 22 games was the second highest by a goalie in a single NHL postseason at that point, behind Ron Hextall, who played 1,542:22 in 26 games for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1987. Ranford has been Los Angeles Kings goaltending coach since 2006, winning the Cup twice in that role (2012, 2014) and helping to develop Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones, among others. — Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor
6. Calle Johansson, D, New York Islanders (No. 14 by Buffalo Sabres) — His 535 points (119 goals, 416 assists) in 1,109 NHL games are second among defensemen drafted in 1985 behind Fredrik Olausson‘s 581. He leads the class at the position with 266 even-strength points (62 goals, 204 assists), and his plus-57 rating is third behind Joe Reekie‘s plus-150 and Dana Murzyn‘s plus-136. His responsible two-way play made him a solid selection here for the Islanders, who knew Denis Potvin was nearing the end of his career. — Rob Reese, fantasy editor
7. Sean Burke, G, New York Rangers (No. 24 by New Jersey Devils) — With Richter going much earlier in this redraft than he did in 1985, Burke was the smart pick here. His NHL career numbers (2.96 GAA, .902 save percentage) are strikingly similar to Richter’s (2.89, .904). Perhaps underappreciated after spending much of his prime on some poor Whalers teams, Burke was better than most remember, and that’s why he played 18 seasons in the League. And although we can’t make hypothetical trades in this exercise, drafting Burke gave the Rangers the same depth at goalie they had with Richter to allow them to make a trade for some veteran help on their way to the Cup in ’94 (in reality, it was Vanbiesbrouck for defenseman Doug Lidster). — Dan O’Leary, staff writer
8. Ulf Dahlen, RW, Detroit Red Wings (No. 7 by New York Rangers) — The Red Wings allowed 357 goals (4.46 per game) in 1984-85, fourth most in the NHL, and were in desperate need of a goalie. But with Richter, Ranford and Burke off the board in this redraft, they addressed another area of need. John Ogrodnick led Detroit with 105 points (55 goals, 50 assists) in 1984-85, but the next highest-scoring left wing was Gerard Gallant with 18. Dahlen, who was drafted as a right wing but also played on the left side in the NHL, scored 29 goals as a rookie in 1987-88 and 71 in his first three NHL seasons with the Rangers before he was traded to the Minnesota North Stars on March 6, 1990. He is second in the 1985 class with 655 points in 966 NHL games, third with 301 goals and fifth with 354 assists. Dahlen scored at least 20 goals in eight of 14 NHL seasons, including a career-high 36 for the North Stars in 1991-92 and 35 the next season. He scored 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) in 85 NHL playoff games. — Frank Giase, staff writer
9. Craig Simpson, LW, Los Angeles Kings (No. 2 by Pittsburgh Penguins) — The Kings chose a player who could have gone No. 1, a left wing with the talent to play with Hockey Hall of Fame centers Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier and Pat LaFontaine. Only Nieuwendyk produced more points per game in the 1985 draft class than Simpson (0.78), who had 497 points (247 goals, 250 assists) in 634 NHL games, peaking with 90 points (56 goals, 34 assists) in 80 games in 1987-88 for the Penguins and Oilers. Simpson won the Stanley Cup twice with Edmonton (1988, 1990), leading the 1990 playoffs in goals (16) and tying Messier for first in points (31). By one measure, he was the most efficient scorer in NHL history, No. 1 in career shooting percentage in the regular season (23.66 percent; minimum 250 games) and playoffs (33.96 percent; minimum 15 games). If only back problems didn’t shorten his career. — Nick Cotsonika, columnist
10. Fredrik Olausson, D, Los Angeles Kings (No. 81 by Winnipeg Jets) — With the Kings selecting Simpson, a forward, with the first of two consecutive picks, taking a defenseman here made perfect sense. In addition to leading 1985 defensemen in points, he is first with 147 goals, 434 assists, 312 power-play points (72 goals, 240 assists) and 20 game-winning goals in 1,022 games over 17 NHL seasons. Olausson won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 2002 with the Red Wings before retiring after the 2002-03 season. — Matt Cubeta, Editor-in-Chief, NHL.com International
11. Derek King, LW, Chicago Blackhawks (No. 13 by New York Islanders) — Envisioning a plug-and-play left wing on their top line with future Hockey Hall of Fame center Denis Savard and Steve Larmer, the Blackhawks selected King. A three-time 30-goal scorer in 14 NHL seasons, including a career-high 40 for the Islanders in 1991-92, King ranks fourth in the 1985 class with 261 goals, 612 points and 37 game-winning goals, third with an average of 0.74 points per game, and sixth with 209 power-play points (95 goals, 114 assists) in 830 NHL games. One wonders how much better those totals would have been if he started his career with Savard and Larmer. — Barry Rubinstein, manager, assignments
12. Benoit Hogue, LW, Montreal Canadiens (No. 35 by Buffalo Sabres) — With King taken one pick earlier, the Canadiens turned their attention to another left wing. Hogue is sixth among players drafted in 1985 with 222 goals and seventh with 321 assists and 543 points in 863 NHL games. He’s also third in the class in shorthanded points (20; 10 goals, 10 assists) and 15th in power-play points (113; 42 goals, 71 assists). Hogue scored double-digit goals in nine of 15 NHL seasons, including three straight with at least 30 for the Islanders from 1991-94. He won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 1999 with the Stars after being acquired in a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning three months earlier. As an added bonus for Canadiens fans, Hogue is from Repentigny, Quebec, a Montreal suburb. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer
13. Steve Chiasson, D, New York Islanders (No. 50 by Detroit Red Wings) — After taking Johansson No. 6 in this redraft, the Islanders continued to add to a defense that was 11th in goals-against in 1984-85 (312; 3.90 per game) and still had Potvin playing like he was in his prime. Chiasson is third among 1985 defensemen with 398 points (93 goals, 305 assists) in 751 NHL games with the Red Wings, Flames and Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes. He scored 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists) in 63 NHL playoff games. Chiasson died in a car accident at 32 on May 3, 1999, hours after Carolina was eliminated in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals by the Boston Bruins. No player has worn No. 3 for the Hurricanes since. — Jon Lane, staff writer
14. Randy Burridge, LW, Buffalo Sabres (No. 157 by Boston Bruins) — Burridge (5-foot-9, 188 pounds) may not have been the biggest player on the ice, but he more than made up for it with his effort. Nicknamed Stump, his tenacity in front on the opposing net helped him score 199 NHL goals, seventh in the 1985 class despite ranking 21st in games (706). He also was tenacious on defense, with a rating of plus-62 (sixth in class) and 18 shorthanded points (nine goals, nine assists; tied for fifth). Burridge is sixth in the class in NHL playoff goals (18) and points (52). — John Ciolfi, senior producer, LNH.com
15. Dave Manson, D, Quebec Nordiques (No. 11 by Chicago Blackhawks) — The Nordiques had plenty of scorers in 1984-85 (three players with at least 80 points, six with at least 20 goals), so they opted for a physical defenseman here. Manson is one of six players in NHL history with at least 1,000 games (1,103) and 2,700 penalty minutes (2,792). He scored 390 points (102 goals, 288 assists) in 16 NHL seasons, scoring at least 14 goals four times and 45 points three times in his first seven NHL seasons. His son Josh is an Anaheim Ducks defenseman. — David Satriano, staff writer
16. Nelson Emerson, RW, Montreal Canadiens (No. 44 by St. Louis Blues) — After being selected two rounds later 35 years ago, Emerson was the best player available here for the Canadiens considering he is eighth among 1985 forwards with 488 points (195 goals, 293 assists) in 771 NHL games. He ranks eighth in the class in points per game (0.63) and seventh in power-play points (191; 43 goals, 148 assists). In 12 NHL seasons, he was a high-volume shooter with 1,971 shots on goal (fifth in class) and productive in the playoffs with 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 40 games. — Pete Jensen, senior fantasy editor
17. Eric Weinrich, D, Calgary Flames (No. 32 by New Jersey Devils) — Weinrich ranks first among 1985 defensemen with 1,157 NHL games (third in class), fifth with 388 points (14th), third with 318 assists and fourth with a plus-56 rating. He played for the United States at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. The Flames originally drafted defenseman Chris Biotti with this pick, but he never played in the NHL. Weinrich played for eight teams in 17 NHL seasons before retiring in 2006 at 39. — Bill Price, Editor-in-Chief
18. Randy McKay, RW, Winnipeg Jets (No. 113 by Detroit Red Wings) — The high-flying Jets could’ve used some grit and tenacity to try to unseat the Oilers atop the Smythe Division, and McKay brought those intangibles throughout his 932-game NHL career. He won two Stanley Cup championships with the Devils (1995, 2000) and played on their notorious “Crash Line” in the mid-1990s with Bobby Holik and Mike Peluso. McKay also had a nose for the net; he ranks 10th in the 1985 draft class in goals (162), scoring at least 23 in a season twice (1997-98, 2000-01). — Pat Pickens, staff writer
19. Brent Fedyk, LW, Washington Capitals (No. 8 by Detroit Red Wings) — Wearing No. 18, Fedyk scored an NHL career-high 21 goals in 1992-93 and 20 in 1993-94 playing on the Flyers’ “Crazy Eights” line with Hockey Hall of Famers Eric Lindros (No. 88) and Mark Recchi (No. 8). He would’ve produced at a similar level for the Capitals on a line with Michal Pivonka and Peter Bondra, or with playmaker Mike Ridley. Fedyk, who scored 20 goals in 65 games with the Flyers and Stars in 1995-96, is 14th among 1985 forwards with an NHL average of 0.44 points per game (209 in 470; 97 goals, 112 assists). He played from 1996-98 in the International Hockey League, 67 games with the Rangers in 1998-99, and his final season in Germany in 1999-00. — Sean McCullen, staff writer
20. Kelly Buchberger, RW, Edmonton Oilers (No. 188 by Edmonton Oilers) — The Oilers didn’t wait until the ninth round this time around to select the gritty forward and leader who learned from some of the best to play the game when he broke into the NHL in 1987. A Stanley Cup winner with Edmonton in 1987 and 1990, Buchberger played 1,182 games in 17 NHL seasons, totaling 309 points (105 goals, 204 assists) and 2,297 penalty minutes. He set NHL career highs with 20 goals and 44 points in 1991-92. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
21. Joe Reekie, D, Philadelphia Flyers (No. 119 by Buffalo Sabres) — The Flyers wanted someone who fit their model of being tough, difficult to play against, willing to drop the gloves if necessary. Reekie had a snarl to his game, but he was one of the smarter defensemen in the NHL in his time, especially with his positioning. He played 902 games for the Sabres, Islanders, Lightning, Capitals and Blackhawks. He was not a prolific scorer, with 164 points (25 goals, 139 assists), but his plus-150 rating is second in the 1985 class behind Nieuwendyk’s plus-155. He also had 1,326 penalty minutes, ninth in the class. — Dan Rosen, senior writer