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|1984 NHL DRAFT PICK|
Selected in first round
12 overall by Calgary Flames
Born May 23, 1966
Height: 6-1 Weight: 185
|BEFORE THE DRAFT|
North York, Ontario (Canada)
Hometown: Whitby, Ontario
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.
| Debut: November 11, 1986 (Vancouver at
Numbers: 32, 10 (Calgary); 10
(Carolina); 7 (Toronto); 10 (Florida)
Stanley Cup: 1989.
|CAREER NHL STATISTICS|
||CGY, CAR, TOR, FLO||
|CAREER NHL PLAYOFF STATISTICS|
||Calgary, Car., Toronto||
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)
Leader: 1991-92 (90)
Calgary Goals Leader: 1991-92 (53),
Leader: 1990-91 (252)
Calgary Playoffs Assists
Leader: 1994 (6, tie)
Calgary Playoffs PIM
Leader: 1990 (41), 1991 (18), 1993 (43, tie)
Leader: 1998-99 (178)
Carolina Playoffs Penalty-Minutes
Leader: 1999 (8, tie)
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.
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,
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.
Ottawa (OHL); Moncton (AHL); Guelph (OHL)|
World Junior Championships: 1986 (silver medal)
AWARDS AND HONORS
Memorial Cup: 1986
OHL All-Star Second Team: 1984-85 (Ottawa), 1985-86 (Guelph)
OHL All-Star Game: 1985 (Ottawa)
OHL-QMJHL All-Star Series:
Ottawa Captain: September 1984 to January 1986
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.
|HOW HE GOT AWAY|
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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