Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Willi Plett
Plett didn't start playing organized hockey until age 12 although once he caught on, he fell in love with the game. But by the time he made the junior level with the St. Catharines Blackhawks of the OHA, he lacked finesse and aggressiveness. As a result, his coach, Hap Emms, demoted him to a tier-two level club.

From that point forward, Plett began to barge around the ice, playing roughhouse hockey. It didn't do too much to raise his stock in the draft, but the Atlanta Flames eventually picked him up in the 4th round in 1975.

Plett tried his hand with the Flames for a couple of games before heading to Tulsa for tutelage from a coach who could understand his needs, former NHL enforcer Orland Kurtenbach.

The following season, Plett started the year in Tulsa, but then got the call to join the Flames where he made a surprise splash, netting 33 goals in 64 games. By season's end, he had secured the Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie.

Clearly Willi Plett was a big, tough player who thrived on aggressiveness and fighting. But he brought much more to the rink than a set of brass knuckles. He could play the game. In 1980-81, with the Calgary Flames, Plett scored a career-high 38 goals.

But not long after his transition to the Minnesota North Stars, in 1982-83, his role was changed from a bellicose goal scorer to exclusively that of a pugilist. As a result his point production fell way off and as he approached age 30, he simply lost the desire to strut around the rink talking tough and fighting. He noted that as he got older, it was as though he became too mature to act that stupid.

In 1987, the Bruins picked him up in the Waiver Draft. With a lineup replete with tough guys, Plett was finally able to assume a role as a support player. With his former nemesis, Terry O'Reilly as coach, Plett enjoyed team leadership that understood his situation as the aging gunslinger. As such, the Bruins made a solid run in the playoffs, making it to the finals, only to be shut out by the Edmonton Oilers. It was Plett's final game in the NHL.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1974-75 Niagara Falls Flyers ON-Jr.A
1974-75 St. Catharines Black Hawks OMJHL 22 6 8 14 63 4 1 1 2 42
1975-76 Atlanta Flames NHL 4 0 0 0 0 0
1975-76 Tulsa Oilers CHL 73 30 20 50 163 9 5 4 9 21
1976-77 Atlanta Flames NHL 64 33 23 56 123 +15 3 1 0 1 19
1976-77 Tulsa Oilers CHL 14 8 4 12 68
1977-78 Atlanta Flames NHL 78 22 21 43 171 -6
1978-79 Atlanta Flames NHL 74 23 20 43 213 +13 2 1 0 1 29
1979-80 Atlanta Flames NHL 76 13 19 32 231 -4 4 1 0 1 15
1980-81 Calgary Flames NHL 78 38 30 68 239 +5 15 8 4 12 89
1981-82 Calgary Flames NHL 78 21 36 57 288 -22 3 1 2 3 39
1982-83 Minnesota North Stars NHL 71 25 14 39 170 -12 9 1 3 4 38
1983-84 Minnesota North Stars NHL 73 15 23 38 316 -6 16 6 2 8 51
1984-85 Minnesota North Stars NHL 47 14 14 28 157 +4 9 3 6 9 67
1985-86 Minnesota North Stars NHL 59 10 7 17 231 -20 5 0 1 1 45
1986-87 Minnesota North Stars NHL 67 6 5 11 263 +1
1987-88 Boston Bruins NHL 65 2 3 5 170 -10 17 2 4 6 74
NHL Totals 834 222 215 437 2572 83 24 22 46 466


Calder Memorial Trophy (1977) Transferred to Calgary after Atlanta franchise relocated, June 24, 1980. Traded to Minnesota by Calgary with Calgary's 4th round choice (Dusan Pasek) in 1982 Entry Draft for Steve Christoff, Bill Nyrop and St. Louis' 2nd round choice (previously acquired, Calgary selected Dave Reierson) in 1982 Entry Draft, June 7, 1982. Traded to NY Rangers by Minnesota for Pat Price, September 8, 1987. Claimed by Boston from NY Rangers in Waiver Draft, October 5, 1987.