1967 NHL Amateur Draft Pick
Round Overall
2 16
J. Bob Kelly
Selected by Toronto from Port Arthur (TBJHL)
Toronto Maple Leafs Port Arthur Jr. A
J. Bob Kelly

6-foot-2, 190 pounds

Left-hand shot

Left Wing

Pre-Draft Statistics

Year Team League GP G A TP PIM
1966-67Port Arthur TBJHL 5 0 2 2 13

Pre-Draft Notes

Played for Port Arthur in 1967 Memorial Cup tournament.
Canadian • Born June 6, 1946 in Fort William, Ontario • Hometown: Fort William, Ontario

Career Vitals

First contract: 1969
Debut: October 10, 1973
(St. Louis at California)
Final NHL game: April 22, 1979 (playoffs)
(Chicago vs. N.Y. Islanders)
Retired: 1980
Stanley Cup: Never won
Numbers worn: 24 (St. Louis); 11, 22 (Pittsburgh); 25 (Chicago)

Career NHL Statistics

Teams: St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Chicago
Years: 1973-1979. Playoffs: 1975-1979

Regular Season
6 years 425 87 109 196 687
Stanley Cup Playoffs
5 years 23 6 3 9 40
Complete statistics available at NHL.com 

Career Highlights

Widely regarded as one of top fighters  during his playing career. ... Set IHL single-game record (since broken) with 42 penalty minutes for Port Huron on Dec. 31, 1967. ... Scored first NHL hat trick for Pittsburgh on March 24, 1974, vs. Detroit. ... Led Pittsburgh and tied team records (since broken) with five goals and eight points in 1975 playoffs. ... Set Pittsburgh single-season record (since broken) for penalty minutes by forward with 149 in 1975-76. ... Tied for Pittsburgh team lead with four game-winning goals in 1975-76.

Transaction History

November 1968 -- Rights sold by Port Huron (IHL) to Columbus. July 1969 -- Selected by Des Moines (IHL) from Columbus in Intra-league Draft. October 1969 -- Signed with Providence (AHL) as an unrestricted free agent. October 1971 -- Claimed by Boston (AHL) off waivers from Providence and assigned to Oklahoma City (CHL). October 1971 -- Signed with Des Moines (IHL) after being released by Oklahoma City. October 1972 -- AHL rights sold by Providence (N.Y. Rangers organization) to Rochester for $7,500. June 1973 -- Traded by Rochester (AHL) to N.Y. Rangers in exchange for Bill Knibbs and $20,000. Sept. 8, 1973 -- Traded by N.Y. Rangers to St. Louis for Norm Dennis and Don Borgeson. Jan 17, 1974 -- Traded by St. Louis with Steve Durbano and Ab DeMarco Jr. to Pittsburgh for Bryan Watson, Greg Polis, and 1974 second-round pick (Bob Hess). Aug. 17, 1977 -- Signed with Chicago as unrestricted free agent. June 9, 1979 -- Selected by Edmonton from Chicago in 1979 NHL Expansion Draft.

Significant Injuries

Missed final two weeks of 1973-74 with pinched nerve in neck. The injury required off-season surgery to remove a disc. ... Missed part of 1975-76 season with separated shoulder. ... Missed part of 1977-78 season with back injury.

Life Outside the NHL

Full Name: John Robert Kelly
Nickname: "Battleship"

Other Post-Draft Teams: Port Huron, Columbus (IHL); Providence (AHL); Des Moines (IHL); Omaha, Oklahoma City (CHL); Rochester (AHL); New Brunswick (AHL); Cincinnati, Houston (CHL)

Coaching Career: Remained in Illinois after his retirement and coached high school hockey at New Trier High School in Winnetka during the 1980s, winning a state championship in 1983. ... Was Huntingon (ECHL) head coach in 1993-94.


Selected by Los Angeles Sharks in 1972 WHA Draft -- first-ever WHA Draft -- in February 1972. Signed with Port Huron (IHL) for 1967-68 season after Toronto did not offer him a contract. Finished second in AHL with 206 penalty minutes for Rochester in 1972-73. Scored second of two career hat tricks for Pittsburgh on Dec. 17, 1975, at California.
Total Selected:18
Forwards: 11
Defense: 6
Goaltenders: 1
Major Junior: 2
College Players: 1
Canadian: 17
USA Citizens: 1
U.S.-Born: 0
European: 0
Reached NHL: 3
Won Stanley Cup: 0
Hall of Fame: 0
All-Star Game: 0
Year-end All-Star: 0
Olympians: 0
Picks Traded: 0

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