The Complete World Hockey Association

1979 Expansion and Entry Drafts


1979 Dispersal and Reclamation Drafts

Expansion Draft

Held June 13, 1979, Montreal. The four incoming teams could designate up to two goaltenders and two position players as "priority" selections. The selection order was Winnipeg, Edmonton, Hartford and Quebec in odd-numbered rounds, and then reversed in even-numbered rounds. The existing 17 NHL teams could fill (protect) one player each time one other player was selected. No more than four players (and no more than one goaltender) could be selected from any of the exisiting 17 NHL teams.

Priority Choices

Edmonton Oilers: Dave Dryden (G), Ed Mio (G), Wayne Gretzky, Bengt Gustafsson.
Hartford Whalers: John Garrett (G), Jordy Douglas, Mark Howe.
Quebec Nordiques: Richard Brodeur (G), Paul Baxter, Garry Lariviere.
Winnipeg Jets: Markus Mattsson (G), Scott Campbell, Morris Lukowich.

Round 1

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
WinnipegPeter Marsh, MontrealBill Nyrop
EdmontonCam Connor, MontrealGilles Lupien
HartfordAl Hangsleben, MontrealRod Langway
QuebecDave Farrish, NY RangersJocelyn Geuvremont

Round 2

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
QuebecGerry Hart, NY IslandersYvon Vautour
HartfordNick Fotiu, NY RangersEd Johnstone
EdmontonLee Fogolin, BuffaloBill Stewart
WinnipegLindsay Middlebrook, NY Rangersno fill

Round 3

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
WinnipegBobby Hull, ChicagoBob Hoffmeyer
EdmontonPat Price, NY Islandersno fill
HartfordRick Ley, TorontoJimmy Jones
QuebecRon Low, Detroitno fill

Round 4

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
QuebecPierre Plante, NY RangersJim Mayer
HartfordAl Sims, BostonGary Doak
EdmontonColin Campbell, PittsburghKim Clackson
WinnipegAl Cameron, DetroitJean Hamel

Round 5

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
WinnipegDave Hoyda, PhiladelphiaBarry Dean
EdmontonLarry Brown, Los AngelesDoug Halward
HartfordJean Savard, ChicagoMiles Zaharko
QuebecBlair Stewart, WashingtonEddy Godin

Round 6

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
QuebecJohn Baby, MinnesotaDave Semenko
HartfordRalph Klassen, ColoradoJohn Contini
EdmontonPete Lo Presti, Minnesotano fill
WinnipegJim Roberts, MinnesotaDan Chicoine

Round 7

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
WinnipegLorne Stamler, TorontoRon Ellis
EdmontonRon Areshenkoff, BuffaloRichard Dunn
HartfordRick Hodgson, AtlantaBobby Lalonde
QuebecJohn Smrke, St. LouisBob Murdoch

Round 8

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
QuebecDave Parro, Bostonno fill
HartfordKevin Kemp, TorontoBruce Boudreau
EdmontonInge Hammarstrom, St. LouisNeil Komadoski
WinnipegMark Heaslip, Los AngelesDarryl Edestrand

Round 9

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
WinnipegPierre Hamel, Torontono fill
EdmontonJohn Gould, AtlantaCurt Bennett
HartfordBill Bennett, BostonDennis O'Brien
QuebecKen Kuzyk, St. Louisno fill

Round 10

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
QuebecRoland Cloutier, DetroitRick Vasko
HartfordBernie Johnston, PhiladelphiaDennis Sobchuk
EdmontonDoug Hicks, ChicagoKeith Magnuson
WinnipegGord MacTavish, St. LouisBob Simpson

Round 11

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
WinnipegGord Smith, WashingtonBob Girard
EdmontonTom Edur, PittsburghDale Tallon
HartfordBrian Hill, AtlantaBrad Marsh
QuebecTerry Martin, BuffaloLarry Playfair

Round 12

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
QuebecJamie Masters, St. Louisno fill
HartfordDavid Given, Buffalono fill
EdmontonWayne Bianchin, Pittsburghno fill
WinnipegClark Hamilton, Detroitno fill

Round 13

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
WinnipegJim Cunningham, PhiladelphiaGord Garbutt
EdmontonMike Forbes, Bostonno fill
HartfordM. F. Schurman, Philadelphiano fill
QuebecHartland Monahan, Los AngelesSteve Carlson

Round 14

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
QuebecRon Andruff, ColoradoLarry Skinner
HartfordNick Beverley, ColoradoMike Gillis
EdmontonDoug Favell, Coloradono fill
WinnipegDennis Abgrall, Los Angelesno fill

Round 15

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
WinnipegBill Riley, WashingtonRon Lalonde
EdmontonDoug Patey, Washingtonno fill
HartfordNorm Lapointe, Vancouverno fill
QuebecAlain Cote, Montrealno fill

Round 16

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
QuebecLars Zetterstron, VancouverLarry Goodenough
HartfordDon Kozak, Vancouverno fill
EdmontonBob Kelly, Chicagono fill
WinnipegGene Carr, Atlantano fill

Round 17

TeamPlayer selectedPlayer protected
WinnipegHilliard Graves, VancouverEnd of draft


Amateur (Entry) Draft

Former WHA players chosen in the 1979 Amateur (Entry) Draft, held June 14, 1979, are noted below

Rob Ramage chosen by Colorado (Round 1, Pick 1)
Mike Gartner chosen by Washington (Round 1, Pick 4)
Rick Vaive chosen by Vancouver (Round 1, Pick 5)
Craig Hartsburg chosen by Minnesota (Round 1, Pick 6)
Michel Goulet chosen by Quebec (Round 1, Pick 20)
Gaston Gingras chosen by Montreal (Round 2, Pick 27)
Pat Riggin chosen by Atlanta (Round 2, Pick 33)
Mark Messier chosen by Edmonton (Round 3, Pick 48)
Keith Crowder chosen by Boston (Round 3, Pick 57)
John Gibson chosen by Los Angeles (Round 4, Pick 71).


Habs in Secret WHA Deals, by Donald Ramsay • 11 June 1979 • The (Toronto) Globe and Mail

Montreal Canadiens have engineered what amounts to a five-team deal with the National Hockey League's four newest franchises in a move designed to protect their Stanley Cup winning lineup from Wednesday's expansion draft.

The deals, arranged with Hartford Whalers, Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets, also will reward the Canadiens with future draft choices and cash and will allow the four former World Hockey Association clubs to enter the NHL stronger than they had first thought.

"Our first priority is protecting the Stanley Cup lineup," said Irving Grundman, vice-president and managing director of the Canadiens. "We evaluated how we could benefit or what we could lose by going the NHL route as opposed to the WHA route and it's obvious which route we have taken. It's clearly evident by the fact we didn't reclaim all the (23) players we held rights to in the WHA that we were working on arrangements that were fair and equitable to our position."

Montreal only reclaimed four players - Alain Cote and Daniel Geoffrion of Quebec, Alan Hangsleben of Hartford and Peter Marsh of the defunct Cincinnati Stingers. All except Geoffrion are involved in this week's dealings with the four WHA clubs.

As part of the deal, the Canadiens didn't reclaim and allowed Quebec to keep Marc Tardif, J.C. Tremblay and Richard David. Edmonton was allowed to keep David Hunter, Ron Carter and Joe Micheletti and Hartford held on to defenceman Gordie Roberts. Now the tradeoff begins.

Last night all NHL teams filed their protected lists of 15 skaters and two goaltenders for Wednesday's expansion draft to stock the four newest teams. Because the Canadiens have outstanding depth, players like Gilles Lupien, Pierre Larouche, Yvan Cournoyer and Pat Hughes, Cote, Hangsleben and Marsh will not be protected.

NHL teams will fill the spots on their protected lists for each player drafted from them by an expansion team with a player that was left unprotected on their lists. No club can lose more than four players.

The Jets, who draft first, will reclaim Marsh and Canadiens can fill with, say, Larouche. Edmonton will draft Cam Connor and Montreal will fill with maybe Hughes. New England will take back Hangsleben and Montreal, perhaps, will protect Lupien. Quebec will take back Cote and Montreal will fill with, perhaps, Cournoyer.

The Canadiens will have lost four players in the first round and will be exempted from the rest of the draft. In addition, they will have received draft choices and cash considerations from the four WHA teams for the players they did not reclaim.

"Montreal has done its homework," said a WHA executive source, "and deserves everything they've gotten through this. Last week in Nassau at the owner-player meetings, Grundman and Ron Caron (director of recruitment) were working with us day and night on a variety of deals."

The four newest NHL entries also have been negotiating with other NHL clubs in a similar, albeit a lesser, fashion than with the Canadiens. Chicago Black Hawks did not reclaim the great Real Cloutier from Quebec in exchange for a first-round draft choice. Quebec also was able to protect Serge Bernier after working out a deal for his NHL rights with Los Angeles Kings.

The four expansion teams are allowed priority selections of two goalies and two skaters. Quebec used those selections to protect defencemen Garry Lariviere and Paul Baxter and goalie Richard Brodeur. Add Cloutier, Bernier, Tardif, Cote and free-agent Robbie Ftorek to their lineup, and the Nordiques will enter the NHL with a respectable oster.

Edmonton has exercised its priority picks by protecting goalies Dave Dryden and Ed Mio and skaters Wayne Gretzky and Bengt-Ake Gustafsson. The Oilers also have made deals with Los Angeles to keep Blair MacDonald in Edmonton as well as with Philadelphia Flyers for the rights to protect Ron Chipperfield.

Add Hunter, Connor, Micheletti and free agent Brett Calligen to their roster, and the Oilers should enter the NHL next season as a competitive team within the Smythe Division.

"We should be all right but we're coming in a little weak on the blueline," said Oiler vice-president Larry Gordon. "A lot of our players were reclaimed and we had to do a lot of hard work in the past few weeks putting a nucleus together."

The Jets might suffer the most. General manager John Ferguson was sure he had a deal whereby Bobby Hull would return to Chicago for the rights to Terry Ruskowski but the deal fell through Friday and the Hawks decided to place both Hull and Ruskowski on the protected list.

"Really, I don't think there will be a hell of a lot available in the draft," said Ferguson. "At this point it looks like many rosters will remain virtually intact. One thing surprises me, though. All of a sudden the NHL teams want to reclaim all our players. All of a sudden the WHA - the so-called bush league - looks pretty good."

The Jets' priority picks are goalie Markus Mattson, defenceman Scott Campbell and forward Morris Lukowich. The Whalers gave priority billing to goalie John Garrett and forwards Mark Howe and Jordy Douglas.

Because New York Islanders lost three players - Mattsson, Lariviere and Brodeur - as priority picks to the four new teams they will be allowed to protect 17 skaters and two goaltenders in the draft.



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Reviews, Podcasts and Media

Article: Color of Hockey: Alton White (The Hockey News), by William Douglas — March 8, 2020
Review: US Sports History, by Rick Macales — Feb 6, 2021
Podcast: Good Seats Still Available, by Tim Hanlon — Feb 28, 2021
Podcast: Digital to Dice (Youtube), by Dave Gardner — July 3, 2022


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