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DATES: MAY 28-30, 1974

The 12th NHL Amateur Draft shook up the league like none before it. History was made in several areas, but the biggest impact involved the drafting of underage players in the first two rounds. This came about because the WHA had already begun signing underage players before they became eligible for the NHL draft, and the NHL felt it had to react. A full year earlier, underage juniors Mark Howe, Marty Howe, Wayne Dillon and Tom Edur all joined WHA teams, which also managed to pre-sign 18-year-old stars Dennis Sobchuk and Jacques Locas for the 1974-75 season. When the WHA's Vancouver Blazers signed 19-year-old Pat Price in May 1974, the NHL fumed because it had been hoping to get Price on its expansion team in Washington. In fact, the league had already held a special expansion pre-draft in which the Capitals chose Price and the Kansas City Scouts agreed to take Wilf Paiement.

The NHL countered the Price deal by petitioning the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association for permission to draft top underagers within the first two rounds of the draft. In exchange for the promise of $40,000 per underage player, the CAHA granted equal permission to both the NHL and WHA, and underage drafting became official just days before the two leagues were set to draft. The inclusion of underage players angered the three major junior leagues, who banded together to form the Canadian Major Junior A Hockey League in order to strengthen their position for future deals with the NHL and WHA. The CMJHL would eventually become the CHL, running all of major-junior hockey in Canada.

Because the NHL and WHA were in such fierce competition to sign players, the NHL elected to stage its draft in a secret conference call based out of NHL headquarters in Montreal. By keeping the draft picks a secret, the league hoped to prevent the WHA from tampering with its contract negotiations for individual players. The NHL also set its draft two days before the WHA's to make sure it would have the jump on signing junior talent. The decision to have a secret conference call ended up prolonging the draft. It took three days to complete all the picks, and Buffalo general manager Punch Imlach was so disgusted by the process that he mocked it by drafting a fictional player (Taro Tsujimoto) with his 11th-round selection (No. 183 overall). In the end, Imlach was right to complain because the secrecy plan was a fiasco, as word of all the picks leaked out through agents and unnamed league sources. The draft also ended up dragging right up to the day of the WHA draft, all but negating the benefit of starting it early.

The 1974 draft was a breakthrough for two other groups. It was a breakthrough for American hockey, as a record 40 Americans were chosen. Many came from Minnesota, as the NHL began to reap the benefits of its seven-year presence in that state. Rick Chartraw became the first U.S. citizen drafted in the first round of an NHL draft, and Lee Fogolin followed him as the first American-born player drafted in the first round. The draft was also a breakthrough for European-trained players. Five Swedes and one Finn were chosen, an indication of how well Europeans had come to be regarded by NHL scouts.

The Montreal Canadiens were the big story at the draft with a record five first-round picks. By the time the three-day marathon session was over, a record 246 players had been selected. The 25 total rounds remains the highest number of rounds in NHL draft history.

Eligible For Draft: All amateur players born before January 1, 1957, were eligible in Rounds 1 and 2. Only amateur players born before January 1, 1954 were eligible in the remaining rounds.
Draft Order: Teams drafted in reverse order of their 1973-74 finish.
Irregularities:  There was no set number of rounds. The expansion teams, Washington and Kansas City, were given the first two picks in each round, with Washington picking first because it won a coin flip. No team could draft more than one underage player, and that had to be in the first two rounds. Four teams -- Los Angeles, Detroit, Philadelphia and Vancouver -- did not choose any underagers. Teams had the right to pass in any round, and the draft continued until all teams were done selecting. Kansas City passed in the eighth round, but re-entered for Rounds 9-14 before passing again in Round 15. California passed in Round 9. Vancouver and Detroit passed in Round 10. Boston passed in Round 11. Atlanta and Toronto passed in Round 12. St. Louis and Buffalo passed in Round 13. Montreal and Chicago passed in Round 14. Los Angeles and Philadelphia passed in Round 15. Minnesota and Pittsburgh passed in Round 16. N.Y. Islanders passed in Round 21. N.Y. Rangers passed in Round 24, leaving only Washington to pick in Rounds 24 and 25.
Rotation: Washington, Kansas City, California, N.Y. Islanders, Vancouver, Minnesota, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Atlanta, Buffalo, Los Angeles, Toronto, N.Y. Rangers, Montreal, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston.
Total Rounds: Twenty-five
Cost to Draft: The NHL paid a lump sum to the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association to support major junior hockey as a whole. As part of the deal to allow the drafting of underage juniors, the NHL agreed to pay $40,000 for each underage junior drafted (a total of $560,000) and $20,000 for other draft picks in the first two rounds.
Draft Rights: Team could offer player contract at any time after draft.
No. 1 pick: Greg Joly (by Washington)
Reached NHL: 98 players (39.8 percent)
Won Stanley Cup: 15 players (6.1 percent)
Most NHL Games: Bryan Trottier (1,279 games)
Most Playoff Games: Bryan Trottier (221 games)
Highest Pick to Miss: No. 18 (Don Larway)
Lowest Pick to Reach: No. 245 (Jim Warner)
Players Drafted: 246 (138 forwards, 84 defense, 24 goalies)

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Total Selected: 246
Forwards: 138
Defense: 84
Goaltenders: 24
Major Junior: 171
College Players: 44
Canadian: 200
Euro-Canadian: 0
USA Citizens: 40
U.S.-Born: 39
European: 6
Reached NHL: 98
Won Stanley Cup: 15
Hall of Fame: 2
All-Star Game: 21
Year-end All-Star: 5
Olympians: 5
Picks Traded: 13
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