Could Lafleur Have Been A Flyer, And A Few Other Obscure Guy Notes


There are all kinds of interesting minor details to Guy Lafleur's career, especially in the beginning's and endings. I'll save the juiciest for last.

On draft day 1971, Guy and his father were on their way to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in downtown Montreal, for his meeting with destiny. Along the way, Guy's father Rejean, who was driving and unfamiliar with the downtown streets, became lost, and ended up travelling the wrong direction down a one way street.

Soon, a police cruiser pulled them over, but instead of giving Rejean a ticket, the officer, recognizing Guy, gave them a police escort straight to the Queen Elizabeth. Fame has it's perks!

Prior to that draft, Lafleur was far from a consensus pick by the Canadiens scouts. Two of them, though they have never been singled out, preferered Marcel Dionne right up until a Memorial Cup showdown between Lafleur's Quebec Remparts and Dionne's St. Catherine's Blackhawks made the decision clearer.

When Lafleur came out of retirement prior to the 1988-89 season, three teams were bidding for his services. The first team to inquire about him were the Los Angeles Kings, who had just traded for Wayne Gretzky. Lafleur was offered a sizeable sum of cash to sign out west, but opted to look at east coast teams who were more competitive. Pittsburgh entered the picture briefly, but their monetary offer told Lafleur they were more curious than serious.

Signing with the Rangers, Lafleur was most often centered by Kelly Kisio and Carey Wilson, and on some occasions with Marcel Dionne before he was sent to the minors. Lafleur notched 18 goals, including a hat trick against the Capitals and a memorable 2 goal game at the Forum on February 4, 1989. If Lafleur, at 38, could manage 18 markers alongside these guys, imagine what might have come about with Lemieux or Gretzky feeding him.


The following season, Lafleur was a free agent with compensation, and he chose to end his career where it had begun, in Quebec City. NHL rules at the time awarded the Rangers a compensatory pick for the loss of Lafleur, and the Nordiques surrendered their 1990 fifth round selection to New York. The Rangers did well with it, selecting defenseman Sergei Zubov, who would be a key to their 1994 Stanley Cup.


After playing two seasons with Quebec, Lafleur retired and was left unprotected in the 1991-92 draft that set about stocking the expansion San Jose Sharks and Minnesota North Stars whose prospects were merged with them. As Lafleur had not filed his NHL retirement papers, he was listed as eligable for selection. Minnesota chose Lafleur. They had a choice between him and forward Alan Haworth, who had left the NHL to play in Europe. The following day, the Nordiques reacquired Lafleur's rights for Haworth's rights, in order to simplify his retirement paper filing.

Now here's a doozie...

Three years prior to being eligible for the NHL Entry Draft, Lafleur was actually property of the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers were owners of the AHL Quebec Aces and owned and operated the junior league club of the same name that Lafleur played with. In the photo above, you can see the reconstituted Aces logo with a Flyer's wing incorporated into the design.


In the 1968-69 QJHL season, the last in which the Aces were associated with the Flyers, Lafleur tallied 50 goals and 60 assists in 49 games. I've read somewhere - but have never able to verify it - that Lafleur's future NHL rights might have in fact been owned by Philadelphia if they could have signed him to a C - Form prior to the beginning of that season. It is perhaps doubtful that the Flyers organization knew at that time that they would be moving their AHL operations to Richmond the following season, and selling the junior team's assets in whole to the Quebec Remparts group.

It is not an altogether farfetched thought that Lafleur could have played as an 18 year old with the Flyers. Bobby Orr had just done the same two seasons earlier with Boston.

Oh, perish the thought!

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