Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Walt McKechnie
During the early sixties, Walt McKechnie played four years of Junior B in Sarnia, Ontario where he skated with a teenage prospect named Phil Esposito.

From there, McKechnie played two years of Junior A with the Leafs' OHA affiliate, the London Nationals. But despite his solid showing with the club, he never clicked with the Leafs' organization. As such, he was traded to Phoenix of the WHL where he took rookie-of-the-year honours in 1968.

He finally made the NHL later that year in a playoff showing with the Minnesota North Stars. His arrival marked the beginning of a lengthy big-league career that became one of the most nomadic in NHL history. In total, he changed major-league teams 12 times with stops in the minors coming on four occasions. In fact, he was once on the rosters of five different clubs over a 12-month period, although one was only on paper.

But perhaps the most defining characteristic of McKechnie's career was that he played for nine teams that finished in last place or were destined to be tail enders before he was traded. But through it all, he consistently brought his strong playmaking skills and effective ability to dig puck from the corners to all of the teams he represented.

McKechnie himself sights his stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs, particularly in 1978-79 as the best gig of his career. He finally got to shine in the playoffs while skating for a club that looked at least like it had a chance to win. The honeymoon was brief, however. The second coming of Punch Imlach brought on the dissolution of the club's chemistry and a one-way ticket for McKechnie to Colorado.

All told, at the NHL level, he skated for the North Stars, Golden Seals, Bruins, Wings, Capitals, Barons, Leafs and Rockies before he finally hung up his blades for good in 1984.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1964-65 London Nationals ON-Jr.B
1965-66 London Nationals OHA-Jr. 46 13 28 41 68
1966-67 London Nationals OHA-Jr. 48 13 46 59 125 6 7 10 17 2
1967-68 London Nationals OHA-Jr. 1 0 0 0 2
1967-68 Phoenix Roadrunners WHL 67 24 30 54 24 4 1 1 2 2
1967-68 Minnesota North Stars NHL 4 0 0 0 0 -3 9 3 2 5 0
1968-69 Minnesota North Stars NHL 58 5 9 14 22 -10
1968-69 Phoenix Roadrunners WHL 10 3 11 14 6
1969-70 Minnesota North Stars NHL 20 1 3 4 21 -5
1969-70 Iowa Stars CHL 42 17 24 41 82 11 1 9 10 18
1970-71 Minnesota North Stars NHL 30 3 1 4 34 -7
1970-71 Cleveland Barons AHL 35 16 31 47 28 8 2 4 6 10
1971-72 California Golden Seals NHL 56 11 20 31 40 +2
1972-73 California Golden Seals NHL 78 16 38 54 58 -26
1973-74 California Golden Seals NHL 63 23 29 52 14 -14
1974-75 Boston Bruins NHL 53 3 3 6 8 -6
1974-75 Detroit Red Wings NHL 23 6 11 17 6 -3
1975-76 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 26 56 82 85 +9
1976-77 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 25 34 59 50 -24
1976-77 Canada WEC-A 10 1 6 7 28
1977-78 Washington Capitals NHL 16 4 1 5 0 -14
1977-78 Cleveland Barons NHL 53 12 22 34 12 -8
1978-79 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 79 25 36 61 18 +21 6 4 3 7 7
1979-80 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 54 7 36 43 4 -6
1979-80 Colorado Rockies NHL 17 0 4 4 2 -14
1980-81 Colorado Rockies NHL 53 15 23 38 18 -7
1981-82 Detroit Red Wings NHL 74 18 37 55 35 -1
1982-83 Detroit Red Wings NHL 64 14 29 43 42 +1
1983-84 Salt Lake Golden Eagles CHL 69 9 32 41 36
NHL Totals 955 214 392 606 469 15 7 5 12 7


Rookie of the Year Award - WHL (1968) Traded to Phoenix (WHL) by Toronto for Steve Witiuk, October 15, 1967. Traded to Minnesota by Phoenix (WHL) for future considerations (Leo Thiffault and Bob Charlebois, June, 1968), February 17, 1968. Traded to California by Minnesota with Joey Johnson for Dennis Hextall, May 20, 1971. Claimed by NY Rangers from California in Intra-League Draft, June 10, 1974. Traded to Boston by NY Rangers for Derek Sanderson, June 12, 1974. Traded to Detroit by Boston with Boston's 3rd round pick (Clarke Hamilton) in 1975 Amateur Draft for Hank Nowak and Earl Anderson, February 18, 1975. Traded to Washington by Detroit with Detroit's 3rd round pick (Jay Johnston) in 1978 Amateur Draft and 2nd round pick (Errol Rausse) in 1979 Amateur Draft for the rights to Ron Low and Washington's 3rd round pick (Boris Fistric) in 1979 Amateur Draft, August 17, 1977. Traded to Cleveland by Washington for Bob Girard and Cleveland's 2nd round pick (Paul MacKinnon) in 1978 Amateur Draft, December 9, 1977. Placed on Minnesota Reserve List after Cleveland-Minnesota Dispersal Draft, June 15, 1978. Traded to Toronto by Minnesota for Toronto's 3rd round pick (Randy Velischek) in 1980 NHL Draft, October 5, 1978. Traded to Colorado by Toronto for Colorado's 3rd round pick (Fred Boimistruck) in 1980 NHL Draft, March 3, 1980. Signed as a free agent by Detroit, October 1, 1981.
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