Saturday, April 11, 2015

7 NHL Stars Who Played For The California Golden Seals

harry howell 1970-71 o-pee-chee hockey card
The Califonia Golden Seals existed in the National Hockey League for just a short nine year span from 1967-68 to 1975-76. Originally dubbed the Oakland Seals, the team was one of six expansion teams to enter the NHL for the 1967-68 season. Despite the fact that their nine years were nothing more than dismal, several decent players passed through the organization.

Harry Howell

Harry Howell is the only player in the Hockey Hall of Fame that ever dressed for the Golden Seals. Howell played just the 1969-70 season and part of the 1970-71 season with the club after 17 years with the New York Rangers. After 28 games in 1970-71, he was traded down the California coast to the Los Angeles Kings. The 1966-67 Norris Trophy winner was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.

Bryan Watson

Bryan ‘Bugsy’ Watson was best known for the time he spent in the penalty box but he was also a decent defenseman. Now 41st on the NHL’s all-time list of penalty minute leaders, he was once number one. Watson finished his NHL career with 2212 PIM in 878 games. Watson played one season with the Oakland Seals, 1968-69. His NHL career spanned from 1963-64 to 1978-79, also playing for the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals.

Bobby Baun

In the final season of the ‘Original Six’era, 1966-67, Bob Baun was the hero of the Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup victory. The following season, he was on the blue line for the Oakland Seals, a team that won just 15 games. 1967-68 was the only season Baun spent in California during a career that started in 1956-57 and ended after the 1972-73 season. Baun also played three seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.

Carol Vadnais

Carol Vadnais played sparingly for the Montreal Canadiens during the 1966-67 and 1967-68 seasons. He became a regular in the NHL with the Seals in 1968-69. Vadnais spent two years with California before moving on to bigger and better things with the Boston Bruins. Carol played a total of 1087 regular season NHL games between 1966-67 and 1982-83 with the Canadiens, Golden Seals, Bruins, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils.

Reg Leach

Drafted third overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft, Reggie Leach never really caught on with the Big Bad Bruins, playing just two partial seasons with the club in 1970-71 and part of 1971-72 and scoring just a total of nine goals. Playing with the California Golden Seals until the end of the 1973-74 season, Leach’s goal scoring ability began to blossom. It was with the Philadelphia Flyers that Leach exploded. He scored 61 in 1975-76 and 50 in 1979-80. He scored 19 in 16 playoff games in 1975-76 earning him the Conn Smythe Trophy in a losing effort. He won two Stanley Cups with Philadelphia, included a victory over the Bruins in 1974.

Charlie Simmer

Charlie Simmer was a third round pick of the Seals in the 1974 NHL Draft. He was a seldom used forward by California and even by the Cleveland Barons when the team was relocated there for the 1976-77 season. However, after being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1978-79 and being stuck on a line with Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor, Charlie showed the hockey world what he could do. Simmer scored 56 goals in each the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons as a member of the Triple Crown Line. Those goal totals were accomplished in just 64 and 65 games. Simmer played 712 NHL games with the Seals, Barons, Kings, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Dennis Maruk

In the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft, the last for the Golden Seals, they finally got it right. In the second round, they drafted Dennis Maruk. Maruk scored 30 goals in his rookie season and 36 with the Barons two years later. He topped out with 60 goals and 136 points in a Washington Capitals uniform in 1981-82. Dennis played 888 regular season NHL games with the Seals/Barons/North Stars and Capitals and scored 356 goals over that time.

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