Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dennis O'Brien, Dave McLlwain...4 teams one season


Watching Coach’s Corner the other day Don Cherry mentioned that Shane O’Brien of the Canucks is the nephew of one of his ex-players, Dennis O’Brien. Grapes stated that Dennis O’Brien held the record for playing on four NHL teams in one season. I decided to verify this seeing as what the source was. Indeed, during the 1977/78 season O’Brien did play for Minnesota, Colorado, Cleveland and Boston. He was claimed on waivers on Dec. 2 by the Rockies, traded to the Barons for Mike Christie on Jan. 12, and subsequently claimed by the Bruins on waivers once again on March 10 (see the card from that year above with the full airbrush job on his uniform). He would play 16 games for the B’s notching 5 points and 14 of the 15 playoff games as Boston lost the Final to Montreal. So, Grapes was correct, but was this a record? Four teams in one season is certainly the record, but O’Brien does not hold it solely.

In 1991/92 Dave McLlwain turned the trick as well. His trifecta of transactions was not quite as simple as O’Brien’s. After only 3 games McLlwain was traded from Winnipeg to Buffalo in a six player deal. A mere two weeks later, he was dealt to the Islanders in a blockbuster, eight player deal mainly involving Pierre Turgeon for Pat LaFontaine. Finally after 54 games on the Island, he was in a four player deal to the Maple Leafs. All tolled, McLlwain was involved in three transactions including fifteen other players and cash. Quite the season indeed.
He was actually still active in pro-hockey up until 2009, playing for the Cologne Sharks in the German League at age 42.

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