Where the 1960s Amateur drafts were lacking, the following decade tried to make good. The 1970s would see four hall of famers drafted 4th overall (it’s poetic really) and a whole heap of names that we’ve actually heard of.
The 1960s brought more teams to the league, and the subsequent drafts presented more opportunities for prospects to get serious ice time than before. The 4th overall pick is oft-forgotten but many found their name forever etched on the Stanley Cup. Let’s take a look at the 4th overall picks from the 1970s:
1970: Rick MacLeish
Drafted by: Boston Bruins
846 NHL Games Played
2 Stanley Cups
3 All Star Games
Although drafted by Boston, MacLeish never dressed in the black and gold as he was quickly traded to the Philadelphia Flyers where the forward from Ontario would become a legend. At the start of the 1970s, the Flyers were starting to earn a reputation for strong, physical play. Despite a slow start in Philly, by the 1972-73 season, MacLeish was flying (pun intended). 50 goals and 50 assists cementing his place in the team for years to come.
The following season, the Broad Street Bullies won their first Stanley Cup. MacLeish poetically providing the game winning (and only) goal of game six to sink the team that drafted him, Boston. The 1974-75 season brought the Flyers’ (and MacLeish’s) second Stanley Cup, but the following season started a cup drought that the Flyers still haven’t been able to snap. MacLeish played with the team for the rest of the decade before being traded to Hartford and Pittsburgh, followed by stints in Switzerland, Philly (again) and Detroit before retiring.