1983-84 was a special time in Hockeytown, USA.
Sure, in the 21-team NHL, making the playoffs as one of 16 teams to do so really wasn’t the same deal that it was today. And sure, a first-round exit against the St. Louis Blues wasn’t exactly a spectacular way to go out… but it wasn’t the results of the year that was the memorable part.
No, it’s just that this was one of the oddest roster makeups in the history of the league.
For starters, October 1983 was the month Steve Yzerman, picked 4th overall in the NHL draft on June 8th in Montreal, began his first of many seasons in the Wings uniform… but it’s quite more than just that.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the characters on the roster that was, and where they ended up after that eventful season:
Yzerman’s resume speaks for itself: 1755 NHL points, three Stanley Cups, an Olympic gold medal, a Canada Cup win and a NHL GM job.
In the 1983-84 season itself, Yzerman put up 87 points in 80 games, and led the team in scoring… it was just the beginning of one of the Wings’ most incredible careers.
Next to Yzerman, Park likely has the most impressive line of work of any player on this list.
A 1988 Hockey Hall of fame inductee, he was often considered one of the league’s top defencemen throughout the entirety of his career, mostly with the New York Rangers and then with the Boston Bruins. Park put up 58 points at age 34 this season, his first of two as a Red Wing.
Melrose was known for a number of things in his career: coaching the 1993 Los Angeles Kings, flowing hair, years of analysis on the NHL network and returning as a coach in 2008 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In the 1983-84 season, he had one assist in 21 games for Detroit.
Ted Nolan won the 1996-97 winner of the Jack Adams award as the NHL’s best coach with the Sabres (who he coached on two separate occassions), and also served as the coach of the Islanders… and Latvia. He’s also a two-time OHL champion and a one-time QMJHL champion.
He picked up three points in 19 games in 1983-84.
Claude Loiselle’s post-playing career resume spans across gigs directly with the NHL as the Associate Director of Hockey Operations for the NHL, assistant GM jobs in Toronto and Tampa Bay, and now works in hockey operations for the Arizona Coyotes.
In 1983-84, he put up four goals and six assists in 28 games.
Colin Campbell has had quite the number of duties after leaving the Red Wings, though perhaps being photogenic wasn’t one of them.
He’s currently the former Senior Vice President and current Executive Vice President at the NHL, and head coach of the New York Rangers for four years in the mid 1990s, while being an assistant for their Cup win in 1994.
The 1983-84 season was his second-last in the NHL, as he registered seven points in 68 games.
Ah, Kenny. What a dude. In net in 1983-84, he had a total of 146 minutes, 53 shots faced, 10 goals against. It would be his final taste on NHL action… as a player.
Without stepping too far into the “character” argument on limited information… what a clash of personalities that locker room must have been. It’s a darn shame many of them only played a sole season together, because that would’ve been one heck of a sitcom.
For the team’s full roster, take a look at hockeydb here: