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1984
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1984 NHL DRAFT PICK
Gary Roberts
Selected in first round
No. 12 overall by Calgary Flames

Born May 23, 1966
Position: Left Wing
Height: 6-1   Weight: 185
Shoots: Left
BEFORE THE DRAFT
Last Team: Ottawa (OHL)                                  
Birthplace: North York, Ontario (Canada)
Hometown: Whitby, Ontario
PRE-DRAFT STATISTICS
Year TeamLeague GPG ATP PIM
1980-81 WhitbyOnt. AA ---- ---- --
  HamiltonJr. B 30 11 0
1981-82 WhitbyOnt. AAA 4455 3186 133
1982-83 OttawaOHL 5312 820 83
1983-84 OttawaOHL 4827 3057 144

PRE-DRAFT AWARDS AND HONORS
Memorial Cup:
1984 (Ottawa)
OHL Playoffs Penalty-Minutes Leader: 1984 (Ottawa) (62 PIM)
Miscellaneous: Ranked by NHL Central Scouting Bureau as No. 15 overall prospect for the 1984 NHL draft. ... Rated in The Hockey News draft preview issue as No. 9 forward prospect for the 1984 NHL draft. ... Missed part of 1983-84 season with broken thumb. ... Was Ottawa's second-round pick, No. 30 overall, in 1982 OHL priority selection. ... Also played center in minor hockey. ...  Minor-hockey teammate of Joe Nieuwendyk, who also lived in Whitby, Ontario. Like Nieuwendyk, Roberts also starred in lacrosse during his junior career.
NHL CAREER
Debut: November 11, 1986 (Vancouver at Calgary)
Numbers:  32, 10 (Calgary); 10 (Carolina); 7 (Toronto); 10 (Florida)
Stanley Cup: 1989.  Playing Status: Active
CAREER NHL STATISTICS
Years TeamsGP GA TPPIM
1986-2005 CGY, CAR, TOR, FLO 1,048401 414815 2,359
CAREER NHL PLAYOFF STATISTICS
YearsTeams GPG ATP PIM
1987-2004 Calgary, Car., Toronto 11428 5785 298

NHL AWARDS AND HONORS
Masterton Trophy:
1995-96 (Calgary)
All-Star Game: 1992, 1993 (Calgary), 2004 (Toronto)
Calgary Records: Most points in one season by a left wing (90 in 1991-92), most goals in one season by a left wing (53 in 1991-92), most consecutive games with at least one point (16 from March 3, 1992, to April 16, 1992, shares record), most consecutive games with at least one point, spanning more than one season (19 from March 3, 1992, to Oct. 10, 1992), most consecutive games with at least one goal (8 from Jan. 28, 1993, to Feb. 16, 1993, shares record)
50-Goal Seasons: 1991-92 (Calgary) (53)
NHL Shooting Percentage Leader: 1991-92 (Calgary) (27.0),
2000-01 (Toronto) (21.2)
Calgary Points Leader: 1991-92 (90)
Calgary Goals Leader: 1991-92 (53), 1993-94 (41)
Calgary Penalty-Minutes Leader: 1990-91 (252)
Calgary Playoffs Assists Leader: 1994 (6, tie)
Calgary Playoffs PIM Leader: 1990 (41), 1991 (18), 1993 (43, tie)
Carolina Penalty-Minutes Leader: 1998-99 (178)
Carolina Playoffs Penalty-Minutes Leader: 1999 (8, tie)
Toronto Goals Leader: 2000-01 (29)
Toronto Playoffs Points Leader: 2002 (19)
Toronto Playoffs Assists Leader: 2001 (9), 2002 (12)
Miscellaneous: Was one of last two players cut from Calgary's 1986 training camp, along with Brett Hull. ... Scored goal in his first NHL game. His goal beat goaltender Wendell Young at 7:20 of the third period, closing out the scoring in Calgary's 5-3 win over Vancouver. Roberts ended up in the net with the puck. ... Was sent down to Moncton (AHL) three times as a rookie in 1986-87. He was recalled to the NHL for good on March 2, 1987. ... Played on line with Hakan Loob and Joe Nieuwendyk for Calgary in 1987-88. ... Missed part of 1988-89 season with back injury, suffered during Calgary's Jan. 14, 1989, game at Minnesota. He did not return to action until Calgary's Jan. 23, 1989, game at Montreal. ... Missed part of 1989-90 season with charley horse, an injury suffered during Calgary's Feb. 18, 1990, game at Winnipeg. He did not return to action until Calgary's Feb. 25, 1990, game vs. Edmonton. ... Tied Calgary record (since broken) for goals in one season by a left wing with 39 in 1989-90. ... Was only Calgary player to play all 80 games in 1990-91. ... Missed part of 1991-92 season with whiplash, an injury suffered when he was cross-checked by Bob Rouse during Calgary's Nov. 9, 1991, game at Toronto. Roberts went into the boards head-first and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher, but he did not suffer serious injury and returned to action for Calgary's Nov. 14, 1991, game vs. Vancouver. ... Missed part of 1991-92 season with re-aggravation of neck injury, suffered during Calgary's Nov. 16, 1991, game vs. Buffalo. He did not return to action until Calgary's Nov. 25, 1991, game vs. Winnipeg. ... Suspended by NHL for one game (automatic suspension) during 1991-92 season for taking his third game misconduct of the season during Calgary's Dec. 21, 1991, game at Winnipeg. ... Scored his 50th goal of the 1991-92 season during Calgary's March 31, 1992, game vs. Edmonton. ... Became first player in NHL history to score 50 goals and record 200 penalty minutes in the same season when he achieved feat in 1991-92. ... Led Calgary with plus-32 rating in 1991-92. ... Missed part of 1992-93 season with the flu, an illness contracted in January 1993. ... Missed part of 1992-93 season with hematoma in left quadricep (severe charley horse), an injury suffered when he was kneed by Garry Galley during Calgary's Feb. 16, 1993, game vs. Philadelphia in Cincinnati. At the time he went out with the injury, he was leading Calgary with 77 points and 37 goals. The injury required surgery to repair a severed blood vessel and save the quadriceps muscle on Feb. 17, 1993, and Roberts did not return to action until Calgary's April 15, 1993, regular-season finale vs. San Jose. ... Led Calgary with plus-32 rating in 1992-93. ... Became highest-paid player in Calgary Flames history when he signed four-year, $7.35 million contract in September 1993. ... Played online with Theo Fleury and Joe Nieuwendyk for Calgary in 1993-94. ... Suspended by NHL for one game and fined $500 during 1993-94 season for high-sticking Trevor Linden in the mouth during Calgary's Nov. 13, 1993, game vs. Vancouver. Roberts said the contact was an accident because he was trying to protect himself from being hit during a post-game fight. ... Suspended by NHL for four games and fined $500 for each of two slashing incidents during Calgary's Jan. 5, 1994, game at N.Y. Rangers. With the first slash, he broke Steve Larmer's right pinky finger and on the second, he cut Brian Leetch's face, a gash that required nine stitches to close. The NHL suspended Roberts indefinitely after the game, pending a Jan. 10 hearing at the league office in New York. Roberts was deemed a repeat offender by the NHL because he had already been suspended once during the season. He claimed he did not intentionally hurt either player, and even Larmer said the broken finger wasn't his fault. Larmer expressed anger at the league for reacting so harshly to a harmless slash. NHL vice president Brian Burke announced the suspension on Jan. 14, 1994, and Roberts did not return to action until Calgary's Jan. 17, 1994, game at San Jose. ... Had Calgary's longest point streak of the 1993-94 season (11 consecutive games from Feb. 26, 1994, to March 11, 1994. ... Missed part of 1993-94 season with broken right thumb, an injury suffered when he blocked Dave Ellett's slapshot with the palm of his glove while killing a penalty in Calgary's March 20, 1994, game at Toronto. Although Roberts broke the thumb in seven places, he missed only one game before playing in Calgary's March 26, 1994, game vs. Pittsburgh. He scored two goals in that game. ... Missed remainder of 1993-94 regular-season with re-aggravation of thumb injury and bruised shoulder, suffered when he was hooked by Gary Suter and crashed into the boards during Calgary's April 3, 1994, game at Chicago. He did not return to action until Game 1 of Calgary's first-round playoff series vs. Vancouver on April 18, 1994. ... Led Calgary with plus-37 rating in 1993-94. ... Played on line with Dean Evason and Ronnie Stern for Calgary in 1995-96. ... Missed part of 1997-98 season with strained abdomen, an injury suffered during Carolina's Nov. 12, 1997, game at Edmonton. He did not return to action until Carolina's Nov. 28, 1997, game vs. Tampa Bay. He had two assists in that game. ... Missed part of 1997-98 season with strained rib muscle, an injury suffered during Carolina's Jan. 8, 1998, game vs. Philadelphia. He was unable to come back before the Olympic break and did not return to action until Carolina's Feb. 28, 1998, game at New Jersey. He scored a goal in that game. ... Missed part of 1997-98 season with the flu, an illness contracted in March 1998. ... Missed remainder of 1997-98 season with groin injury, suffered during Carolina's April 13, 1998, game vs. Boston. ... Missed part of 1998-99 season with sprained wrist, an injury suffered during Carolina's Nov. 29, 1998, game vs. Anaheim. He did not return to action until Carolina's Dec. 12, 1998, game vs. Detroit. ... Missed part of 1998-99 season with strained neck, an injury suffered during Carolina's April 14, 1999, game vs. Washington. ... Missed part of 1999-00 season with strained shoulder, an injury suffered during Carolina's Oct. 7, 1999, game at Philadelphia. ... Missed part of 1999-00 season with groin injury, suffered during Carolina's Oct. 23, 1999, game at Pittsburgh. He did not return to action until Carolina's Nov. 7, 1999, game vs. Washington. ... Scored 300th career NHL goal for Carolina on Jan. 11, 2000, vs. Philadelphia. ... Missed part of 1999-00 season with the flu, an illness contracted in January 2000. ... Missed part of 1999-00 season with groin injury, suffered during Carolina's Feb. 12, 2000, game at Tampa Bay. He did not return to action until Carolina's March 1, 2000, game at Phoenix. ... Signed three-year, $8 million contract with Toronto as a Group III unrestricted free agent on July 4, 2000. ... Tied for Toronto lead with plus-16 rating in 2000-01. ... Led Toronto with 206 hits in 2000-01. ... Was only Toronto player to register a hat trick during 2001-02 season (on Dec. 6, 2001, at N.Y. Rangers). ...  Missed part of 2001-02 season with back spasms, suffered during Toronto's Jan. 11, 2002, game at Washington. ... Missed part of 2001-02 season with back spasms, an injury suffered during Toronto's practice on Jan. 24, 2002. He did not return to action until Toronto's Jan. 29, 2002, game vs. San Jose. ... Missed remainder of 2002 regular season with strained rib muscle, an injury suffered during Toronto's March 25, 2002, game at Philadelphia. He did not return to action until Game 2 of Toronto's first-round series vs. N.Y. Islanders on April 20, 2002. ... Scored for Toronto to end Game 2 of second-round playoff series vs. Ottawa at 4:30 of the third overtime -- the third-longest game in Maple Leafs history -- on May 4, 2002. ... Missed Toronto's 2002 training camp and start of 2002-03 season while recovering from off-season shoulder surgeries to correct tendon impingement in both shoulders -- operations performed on July 10, 2002 (right shoulder), and Aug. 7, 2002 (left shoulder). He did not make his 2002-03 NHL regular-season debut until Toronto's Feb. 15, 2003, game vs. Ottawa. ... Missed part of 2002-03 season with groin injury, suffered during Toronto's March 10, 2003, game at Edmonton. He did not return until Toronto's April 5, 2003, game vs. Ottawa. ... Missed part of 2003-04 season with strained groin, an injury suffered during Toronto's Nov. 30, 2003, game at N.Y. Rangers. He did not return to Toronto's Dec. 6, 2003, game vs. Detroit. ... Played his 1,000th career NHL game for Toronto on Jan. 13, 2004, vs. Calgary. In that game, Roberts and Tom Fitzgerald made NHL history as the first players to play their 1,000th NHL game for the same team in the same game. ... Missed part of 2003-04 season with strained groin, an injury suffered during Toronto's Feb. 14, 2004, game vs. Buffalo. He did not return until Toronto's March 2, 2004, game vs. Boston. ... Signed two-year, $4.5 million contract with Florida as a Group III unrestricted free agent on Aug. 1, 2005. ... Missed part of 2005-06 season with groin injury, suffered during Florida's Oct. 10, 2005, game at N.Y. Islanders. He did not return to action until Florida's Oct. 25, 2005, game at Pittsburgh. ... Scored his 400th career NHL goal for Florida on Nov. 19, 2005, vs. N.Y. Islanders.
Retirement and Comeback: Roberts missed the remainder of the 1995 season, the entire 1995 playoffs, and most of the 1995-96 season with severe nerve damage in his neck, suffered when he was cross-checked by Dixon Ward  and later collided with referee Andy van Hellemond during Calgary's Feb. 4, 1995, game vs. Toronto. It was the second time within one week that the 28-year-old Roberts had injured his neck -- coming on the heels of Calgary's Jan. 30, 1995, practice in which Zarley Zalapski tripped over him while he was leaning over to pick some debris off the ice. The injury in practice re-aggravated earlier nerve damage done to Roberts' neck when he was repeatedly cross-checked by Vancouver players during the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs. Roberts had acupuncture after the Jan. 30 incident and appeared to be healed up until the Feb. 4, 1995, game. After that game, he repeatedly experienced a burning sensation in his neck and shoulders. He went to Cleveland to see a specialist, who found Roberts was suffering from cervical foraminal stenosis -- a condition in which the degeneration of discs in his neck and resulting bone spurs combined to limit space available to nerves in his spine. He needed season-ending surgery to clear more space for the nerves on the right side of his spine. Roberts refused to undergo an operation to remove two discs and fuse another to his spine, because although he'd have recovered faster, doctors said that type of surgery would end his career. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles on March 15, 1995, and he left the hospital just three days later to begin an extensive rehabilitation program with the goal of rejoining Calgary for the Flames' 1995 training camp. But by early September 1995, Roberts was still having trouble with his neck and was not ready to participate in training camp despite a specialized conditioning program designed to strengthen muscles in his neck and the development of special shoulder pads designed to protect previously damaged areas. Doctors had said that a particularly hard hit could cause discs in Roberts' spinal cord to collapse, and that would leave him paralyzed. Roberts did not have to take part in the pre-camp fitness testing, because the Flames did not want to risk even minor damage. Calgary also said it would use Roberts in a part-time role if necessary rather than jeopardize his long-term health in any way. Roberts was still out of action when the Flames opened their 1995-96 season on Oct. 7, 1995, at Tampa Bay. Even after extensive testing on the neck, Roberts could not report much progress and even hinted that he was considering retirement because of the chronic pain in his left arm and the left side of his neck. On Oct. 26, 1995, Roberts had additional cervical surgery in Los Angeles to free up more space for the nerves on the left side of his spine. After the surgery, Roberts began a rehabilitation program that he hoped would have him ready to play again in February 1996. Within a month after the surgery, Roberts was cleared to begin off-ice workouts. By mid-December he was skating again, and on Jan. 5, 1996, doctors cleared him to rejoin the Flames lineup -- a full month before he expected to be back. Eleven months after he had played his last NHL game, Roberts made a triumphant return to the Flames lineup for Calgary's Jan. 10, 1996, game vs. Hartford. He scored the first goal of that game, on a power-play and helped the Flames beat the Whalers 3-2 in overtime. Roberts shifted from his left wing position to playing center in that game and for the rest of the season so that he would not risk contact in the corners. He would go on to play all of the Flames' next 35 games, picking up 22 goals and 20 assists -- a spectacular effort that enabled him to win the NHL's Bill Masterton Trophy for his comeback. But just when it appeared that Roberts had put all of his injury problems behind him, he re-injured his neck during Calgary's April 3, 1996, game vs. Vancouver. As a result, he missed the remainder of the 1995-96 season, the entire 1996 playoffs and the entire 1996-97 season. This time, Roberts did not have the same burning sensation, but rather a chronic stiffness in the neck. Roberts was forced to wonder if he should retire rather than subject his neck to more abuse, and on June 17, 1996, at the age of 30, he even announced that his career was over. At an emotional news conference, he told reporters it was too risky for him to keep playing and opted to retire two days before he received the Masterton Trophy. The Flames revealed that they had asked Roberts to retire because team doctor Winne Meeuwisse felt it was too dangerous for Roberts to continue playing. Calgary agreed to honor the final year of Roberts' contract in full -- paying him $2 million (Canadian) for 1996-97. Roberts sat out the entire season in what he and the Flames had both called retirement, but he had never signed retirement papers and was actually involved in a rigid training program that enabled him to regain his health. By January 1997, Roberts announced that he was pain-free for the first time in years. In July 1997, Calgary made Roberts a $2 million qualifying offer to retain his rights, and head coach Brian Sutter called Roberts to ask him to return to the team for 1997-98. Roberts signed Calgary's offer, but said he would be only return to the NHL if he were traded to an Eastern Conference team. Carolina and the N.Y. Rangers expressed immediate interest in obtaining him. On Aug. 25, 1997, a deal with Carolina finally materialized, and Roberts passed the necessary NHL physical that allowed the trade to go through. Roberts then began his NHL comeback the following month at Carolina's training camp, although he did not play in any preseason games to protect his neck from suffering game-related injury before the season. Finally, in Carolina's 1997-98 season-opener at Tampa Bay on Oct. 1, 1997, Roberts made his long-awaited return to the NHL, playing his first game in 18 months and starting the second act of his pro career.
NON-NHL CAREER
Post-Draft Teams: Ottawa (OHL); Moncton (AHL); Guelph (OHL)
World Junior Championships: 1986 (silver medal)
NON-NHL AWARDS AND HONORS
Memorial Cup:
1986 (Guelph)
OHL All-Star Second Team: 1984-85 (Ottawa), 1985-86 (Guelph)
OHL All-Star Game: 1985 (Ottawa)
OHL-QMJHL All-Star Series: 1986 (Ottawa)
Ottawa Captain: September 1984 to January 1986
Guelph Captain: January 1986 to May 1986
Miscellaneous: Played on Whitby Warriors team that won 1985 Minto Cup as Canadian junior lacrosse champions. Future NHL player Joe Nieuwendyk was also on that team. ... Traded by Ottawa (OHL) with Andy Helmuth to Guelph in exchange for Guy Larose, Warren Rychel, 1986 sixth-round pick in OHL priority selection and 1986 eighth-round pick in 1986 OHL priority selection in January 1986. ... Owned a gym in Guelph, Ontario, during his playing days. ... Was on Calgary team that joined Washington for 1989 NHL Friendship Tour in Soviet Union. The Flames faced four Soviet teams on the tour. ... Was active in charitable causes during playing days in Calgary, including work with Alberta Lung Association. ... Founded the Gary Roberts Children's Foundation in Calgary in 1996. The foundation hosts an annal hockey school and golf tournament. ... Invested in an Uxbridge, Ontario, golf course called Wooden Sticks, during his playing days. ... Drafted by National Lacrosse League's Calgary Roughnecks on Oct. 26, 2004, while he was sitting out during the NHL lockout. Roberts was taken in the sixth round, No. 65 overall in the NLL draft. He declined the team's offer to play professional lacrosse while he was not playing hockey.
Personal: Full name is Gary R. Roberts.
HOW HE GOT AWAY
TRADE: Calgary traded Roberts and Trevor Kidd to Carolina in exchange for Andrew Cassels and J-S Giguere on August 25, 1997.

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SNAPSHOT '84
Total Selected: 250
Forwards: 142
Defense: 88
Goaltenders: 20
Major Junior: 110
Tier II/Jr. B: 16/9
College Players: 23
High School: 47
Midget: 4
U.S. Junior B: 1
Canadian: 145
Euro-Canadian: 2
USA Citizens: 62
U.S.-Born: 63
European: 41
Reached NHL: 102
Stanley Cup: 20
Hall of Fame: 1
All-Star Game: 18
Year-end All-Star: 7
Olympians: 31
 
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