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1985
ENTRY DRAFT
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Round 1


 
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1985 NHL DRAFT PICK
Wendel Clark
Selected in first round
No. 1 overall by Toronto Maple Leafs

Born October 25, 1966
Position: Defense / Left Wing
Height: 5-11   Weight: 190
BEFORE THE DRAFT
Last Team: Saskatoon (WHL)                            
Birthplace: Kelvington, Saskatchewan (Canada)
Hometown: Kelvington, Saskatchewan
PRE-DRAFT STATISTICS
Year TeamLeague GPG ATP PIM
1982-83 Notre DameSask. AAA 2721 2849 83
1983-84 SaskatoonWHL 7223 4568 225
1984-85 SaskatoonWHL 6432 5587 253

PRE-DRAFT AWARDS AND HONORS
World Junior Championships:
1985 (gold medal)
WHL Top Defenseman: 1984-85 (Saskatoon)
WHL East All-Star First Team: 1984-85 (Saskatoon)
Saskatoon MVP: 1984-85
Saskatoon Captain: 1984-85
Miscellaneous: Ranked by NHL Central Scouting Bureau as No. 3 overall prospect for the 1985 NHL draft. ... Rated in The Hockey News draft preview issue as No. 2 (tie) overall prospect for the 1985 NHL draft. ... Played left wing for Team Canada in 1985 World Junior Championships and scored game-tying goal in tournament's final game vs. Finland to clinch the gold medal for Canada. ... Led Saskatoon (WHL) with 253 penalty minutes in 1984-85. ... Attended Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, before entering major junior hockey. ... Grew up on his family's wheat farm. ... Also played amateur baseball during his junior career.
NHL CAREER
Debut: October 10, 1985 (Toronto at Boston)
Numbers:  17 (Toronto); 17 (Quebec); 17 (N.Y. Islanders); 17 (T.B.);
71 (Detroit); 17 (Chicago)
Stanley Cup: Never won.  Playing Status: Retired June 29, 2000
CAREER NHL STATISTICS
Years TeamsGP GA TPPIM
1985-2000 Toronto, Quebec, NYI,
T.B., Detroit, Chicago
793 330234 5641,690
CAREER NHL PLAYOFF STATISTICS
YearsTeams GPG ATP PIM
1986-2000 Toronto, Que., Detroit 953732 69201

NHL AWARDS AND HONORS
Sporting News Rookie of Year:
1985-86 (Toronto)
Hockey News Rookie of Year: 1985-86 (Toronto)
NHL All-Rookie Team: 1985-86 (Toronto)
All-Star Game: 1986, 1994 (injured, did not play) (Toronto), 1999 (Tampa Bay)
Toronto Captain: Aug. 8, 1991, to June 28, 1994
Toronto Records: Most goals by a rookie in one season (34 in 1985-86), most points by a left wing in one playoff year (20 in 1993), most career playoff points by a left wing (61), most career playoff goals by a left wing (34)
Toronto Goals Leader: 1985-86 (34), 1986-87 (37)
Toronto Penalty-Minutes Leader: 1985-86 (227), 1986-87 (271)
Toronto Playoffs Points Leader: 1987 (11)
Toronto Playoffs Goals Leader: 1987 (6), 1994 (9)
Toronto Playoffs Assists Leader: 1987 (5, tie)
Toronto Playoffs Penalty-Minutes Leader: 1986 (47), 1993 (51)
Tampa Bay Goals Leader: 1998-99 (28)
Management Career: Named Toronto Community Representative on Nov. 2, 2000, and remained in that position through 2004-05 season.
Miscellaneous: Represented by player agent Don Meehan throughout his NHL career. ... Shifted from his natural position of defense to play primarily at left wing for Toronto as a rookie in 1985-86. He remained a left wing for most of his NHL career. ... Missed part of 1985-86 season with broken right foot, an injury suffered when he was hit on the skate by teammate Chris Kotsopoulos' shot from the point during the second period of Toronto's Nov. 26, 1985, game at St. Louis. Although he continued to play with, he could barely make it through the game's third period and post-game X-rays revealed a fracture. He did not return to action until Toronto's Jan. 4, 1986, game vs. Los Angeles. ... Was runner-up to Gary Suter in voting for 1985-86 Calder Trophy. ... Scored four goals in Toronto's 5-1 home win over Buffalo on Oct. 11, 1986. ... Led Toronto with 15 power-play goals in 1986-87. ...Led Toronto with plus-8 rating in 1987 playoffs. ... Missed part of 1987-88 season with tendinitis in right shoulder and sore back, an injury suffered early in the season and re-aggravated for the final time during Toronto's Oct. 21, 1987, game vs. Montreal. He did not return to action until Toronto's Oct. 31, 1987, game vs. Chicago . ... Missed part of 1987-88 season with back spasms, an injury suffered during Toronto's Nov. 9, 1987, game at Montreal. He did not return to action until Toronto's Jan. 2, 1988, game vs. Buffalo. He had two assists in that game. ... Missed remainder of 1987-88 season and most of 1988-89 season with re-aggravation of back injury, suffered during Toronto's Feb. 4, 1988, game at Philadelphia. He did not play again until Toronto's March 1, 1989, game at N.Y. Rangers. ... Missed part of 1989-90 season with re-aggravation of back injury, suffered during Toronto's Oct. 14, 1989, game vs. Winnipeg. ... Missed part of 1989-90 season with bruised muscle above left knee, an injury suffered during Toronto's Nov. 4, 1990, game vs. Philadelphia. He did not return to action until Toronto's Nov. 22, 1989, game at Minnesota. ... Missed part of 1989-90 season with re-aggravation of back injury, sore foot and sore right hand, suffered during Toronto's Jan. 3, 1990, game vs. Quebec. He did not return to action until Toronto's Jan. 15, 1990, game vs. Chicago. ... Missed part of 1989-90 season with partial tear of MCL in right knee, an injury suffered when he was checked in the knees by Viacheslav Fetisov during Toronto's Jan. 26, 1990, game at New Jersey. He did not return to action until Toronto's March 31, 1990, regular-season finale vs. Chicago. He had two assists in that game. ... Played on line with Gary Leeman and Ed Olczyk for Toronto during 1990 playoffs. ... Missed part of 1990-91 season with separated left shoulder, an injury suffered during Toronto's Dec. 18, 1990, game at N.Y. Islanders. He did not return to action until Toronto's Jan. 3, 1991, game at Minnesota. ... Missed part of 1990-91 season with pulled rib cage muscle, an injury suffered during Toronto's Feb. 6, 1991, game at Winnipeg. He did not return to action until Toronto's March 5, 1991, game vs. Boston. ... Considered jumping to start-up Continental Hockey Association's Saskatoon team during summer of 1991 while he was a restricted free agent, but opted to return to Toronto instead of joining league that never actually materialized. ... Played on line with Peter Zezel and Gary Leeman for Toronto in 1991-92. ... Missed part of 1991-92 season with partially torn MCL in left knee, an injury suffered in knee-on-knee collision with Ron Sutter during third period of Toronto's Oct. 7, 1991, game vs. St. Louis. At the time he got hurt, Clark was leading NHL with nine points and five goals in three games. He did not return to action until Toronto's Nov. 2, 1991, game vs. Los Angeles. He had an assist in that game. ... Missed part of 1991-92 season with re-aggravation (sprain) of MCL injury in left knee, suffered when he was checked by Craig Ludwig late in second period of Toronto's Nov. 6, 1991, game vs. Minnesota. He did not return to action until Toronto's Jan. 3, 1992, game at Detroit. He scored a goal in that game. ... Suspended by NHL for three games during 1991-92 season for high-sticking incident with Bryan Marchment during third period of Toronto's Jan. 16, 1992, game at Chicago. Clark received a match penalty on the play for attempting to injure Marchment as he retaliated for hit in the face by slashing in the direction of Marchment's throat. The incident set off a brawl, and the match penalty required a disciplinary hearing with Brian O'Neill on Jan. 21, 1992. The following day, the NHL suspended Clark. As a result of the suspension, he did not return to action until Toronto's Jan. 29, 1992, game vs. Quebec. ... Was Toronto's nominee for 1991-92 Masterton Trophy. ... Missed part of 1992-93 season with pulled groin, an injury suffered during Toronto's Oct. 22, 1992, game at Tampa Bay. He did not return to action until Toronto's Nov. 5, 1992, game at Chicago. ... Missed part of 1992-93 season with strained rib cage muscles, an injury suffered during Toronto's Jan. 17, 1993, game at Chicago. He did not return to action until Toronto's Feb. 20, 1993, game vs. Boston. He scored a goal in that game. ... Played on line with Rob Pearson and John Cullen for Toronto in 1993-94. ... Missed part of 1993-94 season with sprained right knee, an injury suffered when Shawn Anderson fell on him during Toronto's Oct. 13, 1993, game vs. Washington. He did not return to action until Toronto's Oct. 19, 1993, game vs. Hartford. He scored two goals in that game. ... Missed part of 1993-94 season with bruised right ankle, an injury suffered while blocking a shot during overtime period of Toronto's Dec. 22, 1993, game vs. San Jose. The injury kept him out of the 1994 NHL All-Star Game, and he did not return to action until Toronto's Feb. 5, 1994, game vs. Detroit. He had two assists in that game. ... Missed part of 1995 season with pulled hamstring, an injury suffered during Quebec's March 18, 1995, game at Montreal. He did not return to action until Quebec's April 12, 1995, game at Boston. ... Fined $1,000 by NHL for elbowing Alexei Kovalev in the face during third period of Game 2 of Quebec's first-round playoff series vs. N.Y. Rangers on May 8, 1995. ... Was playing for Quebec when franchise relocated to Colorado on June 21, 1995, but never played in Colorado, because he was traded away before the start of the 1995-96 season on Oct. 3, 1995. ... Missed part of 1995-96 season with back spasms, an injury suffered in N.Y. Islanders' Jan. 27, 1996, game at Vancouver. He did not return to action until N.Y. Islanders' Feb. 17, 1996, game vs. San Jose. ... Scored goal on first shot after re-joining Toronto in a March 13, 1996, trade with N.Y. Islanders. The goal came at 5:41 of first period of Toronto's March 15, 1996, game vs. Dallas. ... Missed part of 1996-97 season with broken right thumb, an injury suffered in fight with Shawn Chambers at end of second period of Toronto's Dec. 10, 1996, game vs. New Jersey. He did not return to action until Toronto's Jan. 22, 1997, game vs. Calgary. He had a goal and an assist in that game. ... Missed part of 1996-97 season with bruised lower back, an injury suffered during Toronto's April 2, 1997, game vs. Florida. ... Missed part of 1997-98 season with strained groin, an injury suffered during Toronto's Jan. 7, 1998, game at Tampa Bay. Toronto placed Clark on the injured list on Jan. 27, 1998, and he did not return to action until Toronto's March 28, 1998, game vs. N.Y. Islanders. ... Missed remainder of 1997-98 season with re-aggravation of groin injury, suffered during Toronto's April 6, 1998, game at Dallas. The injury required season-ending surgery in late April 1998. ... Signed with Tampa Bay as a Group III unrestricted free agent on July 16, 1998. ... Scored is 300th career NHL goal for Tampa Bay on Oct. 28, 1998, at Anaheim. ... Missed part of 1998-99 season with strained groin, an injury suffered during Tampa Bay's practice on Nov. 23, 1998. He did not return to action until Tampa Bay's Nov. 27, 1998, game vs. Florida. ... Missed part of 1998-99 season with re-aggravation of groin injury, suffered during Tampa Bay's Dec. 20, 1998, game at Philadelphia. ... Missed part of 1998-99 season with re-aggravation of groin injury, suffered in Tampa Bay's Dec. 23, 1998, game at Buffalo. ... Signed with Chicago as a Group III unrestricted free agent on Aug. 2, 1999. ... Missed part of 1999-00 season with groin injury, suffered in Chicago's Oct. 15, 1999, game vs. Toronto. He was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 19, 1999, after coach Lorne Molleken said he was benching Clark for his poor performance. Clark openly expressed his anger at the Blackhawks for scratching him from and Oct. 16, 1999, game at Pittsburgh and then for placing him on IR against his wishes. He finally returned to action for Chicago's Oct. 23, 1999, game vs. Detroit. He played eight more games for Chicago before the team bought out his contract and released him on Nov. 18, 1999. At the time of the release Chicago general manager Bob Murray said Clark had performed poorly and it had been a mistake to sign him. ... Signed tryout contract with Toronto as an unrestricted free agent on Jan. 9, 2000. He managed to make the team for the balance of the 1999-00 season, enabling him to retire in the city where he began his NHL career and where he had become one of the most popular players in Maple Leafs history.
Clark's Back Woes: In his third NHL season, Clark began to deal with what would become crippling pain and spasms in his back. After missing 23 games with back problems from Nov. 9, 1987, to Jan. 2, 1988, Clark appeared ready to return to the lineup at the start of the new year. However, one month later, Clark re-aggravated his back injury at Philadelphia -- an injury that would keep him out of action for more than a year. Because he had played through his back problems, Clark managed to displace muscles in the back and twist his spine. Despite multiple efforts to return to the Leafs, Clark's muscle damage forced him to remain out of action for month after month. During his time on the sidelines, Clark became the target of criticism from contentious Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard. In a Jan. 31, 1989, interview with the Toronto Star, Ballard suggested Clark was stalling his own recovery from the back injury out of sheer laziness. Ballard told the Star that "I sometimes think Wendel is swinging the lead. That would be a terrible thing to say if, indeed, he can't play. But I've never had a player let something disturb him for so long. I've had guys play for me with a broken wrist and a broken ankle. I think it's time Wendel tested the water." Although Clark had resumed skating in practice by this time, he declined to comment on Ballard's remarks and said he would not start playing in games again on anyone's timetable but his own. Finally, on March 1, 1989, Clark returned to the Maple Leafs lineup for a game at N.Y. Rangers. He had an assist in that game and went on to play very well over the remainder of the season -- scoring seven goals and adding 4 assists in only 15 games. Toronto, however, missed the final playoff berth in the Norris Division by four points.
Clark's Holdout: During the summer of 1995, as he prepared to enter the final year of a three-year contract and the former Quebec Nordiques prepared for a move to Colorado, Clark opted to hold out on the team rather than attend training camp. Unhappy with his scheduled payout of $1.05 million (Cdn.), Clark demanded that his contract be renegotiated or he would not play for the team in Colorado. Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix, who had brought Clark to Quebec just one year earlier, was not interested in meeting Clark's demands. Clark, however, argued he had a complete right to be asking for more money because Lacroix had promised him a raise one year earlier when he arrived in Quebec. Clark and agent Don Meehan said they were looking for a renegotiated contract that would pay $2 million (Cdn.) in both the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons, but Lacroix was unwilling to make that deal and was only willing to offer $1.5 million per season. Angry at Lacroix and convinced the general manager had gone back on his word, Clark skipped Colorado's entire 1995 training camp -- instead spending all of September practicing with his former junior team, the WHL's Saskatoon Blades. While Clark was out, the Avalanche fined him $2,700 per day for not reporting to camp on Sept. 11, 1995, even though he was still under contract. The situation was finally resolved on Oct. 3, 1995, when Colorado traded Clark to the New Jersey Devils (who then sent him to the N.Y. Islanders) as part of a three-way deal. Islanders general manager Don Maloney promptly made Clark happy by signing him to a three-year deal worth $6 million.
NHL SALARY HISTORY
Contract signed with Toronto in August 1985
(Three years, $480,000 Cdn. ($350,000 U.S.), including $150,000 signing bonus and club option for fourth year at $150,000 Cdn.)
1985-86: $240,000 (Cdn.)
($175,000 U.S.) (inc. signing bonus)
1986-87: $110,000 (Cdn.)
($80,000 U.S.)
1987-88: $130,000 (Cdn.) ($95K U.S.) Toronto picks up option, 6/30/88 1988-89: $150,000 (Cdn.) ($110K U.S.)
(renegotiated, never paid)
Contract extension with Toronto signed Sept. 10, 1988
(Two years, $535,000 Cdn. ($435,000 U.S.), including up to $30,000 in 1988-89 bonuses and club option for third year at $265,000 Cdn.)
1988-89: $270,000 (Cdn.) ($220K U.S.)
(plus bonuses up to $30,000 Cdn.)
1989-90: $265,000 (Cdn.)
($215,000 U.S.)
Toronto picks up option, 6/30/90 1990-91: $265,000 (Cdn.) ($215K U.S.)
Contract signed with Toronto on Aug. 8, 1991
(Two years, $1.2 million Cdn. ($1.05 million U.S.))
1991-92: $600,000 (Cdn.)
($525,000 U.S.)
1992-93: $600,000 (Cdn.) ($525K U.S.)
(renegotiated, never paid)
Contract extension with Toronto signed in August 1992
(One year, $600,000 Cdn. ($495,000 U.S.) base salary, plus up to $225,000 in bonuses based on games played up to a maximum of 65 games, and club option for second year at $1,000,000 Cdn.)
1992-93: $825,000 (Cdn.) ($680K U.S.) (inc. maximum bonus for 65 GP) 1993-94 $1,000,000 (Cdn.)
($825K U.S.) (renegotiated, never paid)
Contract extension with Toronto signed Sept. 1, 1993
(Three years, $3 million Cdn. ($2.325 million U.S.))
1993-94: $900,000 (Cdn.)
($695,000 U.S.)
Clark traded to Quebec in June 1994 with two years on contract
1994-95: $1,050,000 (Cdn.)
($815,000 U.S.)
1995-96 $1,050,000 (Cdn.)
($815K U.S.) (renegotiated, never paid)
Contract extension with N.Y. Islanders signed Oct. 3, 1995
(Three years, $6.15 million U.S. ($8.44 million Cdn.)
1995-96: $1,800,000
($2,470,000 Cdn.)
1996-97: $2,050,000
($2,810,000 Cdn.)
1997-98: $2,300,000
($3,160,000 Cdn.)
Contract signed with Tampa Bay on July 16, 1998
(One year, $1.4 million U.S. ($2,075,000 Cdn.), plus club option for second year at $1.4 million U.S.)
1998-99: $1,400,000
($2,075,000 Cdn.)
Clark traded to DET in March 1999
DET declined option in June 1999
Contract signed with Chicago on Aug. 2, 1999
(One year, $1.4 million U.S. ($2,075,000 Cdn.))
1999-00: $1,400,000
($2,075,000 Cdn.)
Clark released, contract bought out by Chicago on Nov. 18, 1999
Contract signed with Toronto on Jan. 9, 2000
(One year, $160,000 Cdn. ($108,000 U.S.))
2000: $160,000 (Cdn.)
($108,000 U.S.)
Clark retires on June 29, 2000
Total NHL Earnings: $12,773,000 U.S. ($17,405,000 Cdn.)
(Reflects only base salary payout through 1999-00. Does not include unspecified bonuses or pro-rated contract deductions.)
NON-NHL CAREER
Post-Draft Teams: None
NON-NHL AWARDS AND HONORS
Miscellaneous:
Attended Team Canada's training camp for the 1987 Canada Cup tournament, but did not make final tournament roster. ... Invited to tryout for Canada prior to 1991 Canada Cup training camp, but did not make final training camp roster. ... Ran hockey school in Toronto during off-seasons of his playing days. ... Was avid slo-pitch softball player during off-seasons of his playing days. ... Was active in Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni association and became a professional public speaker after his retirement. ... Saskatoon (WHL) retired Clark's No. 22 sweater prior to its Nov. 16, 2001, game vs. Moose Jaw.
Personal: Full name is Wendel L. Clark. ... Older brother of former minor-leaguer Kerry Clark. ... First cousin of former NHL player Barry Melrose. ... Distant cousin of former NHL player Joe Kocur, whom he had promised never to fight during his NHL career.
HOW HE GOT AWAY
TRADE/FREE AGENCY: Toronto traded Clark, Sylvain Lefebvre, Landon Wilson and 1994 first-round pick (Jeff Kealty) to Quebec in exchange for Mats Sundin, Garth Butcher, Todd Warriner and 1994 first-round pick (Philadelphia) (later traded) on June 28, 1994. Two years later, Toronto got Clark back when the Maple Leafs traded Darby Hendrickson, Sean Haggerty, Kenny Jonsson and 1997 first-round pick (Roberto Luongo) to N.Y. Islanders for Clark, Mathieu Schneider and D.J. Smith on March 13, 1996. Two years later, Toronto lost Clark again when he signed with Tampa Bay as a Group III unrestricted free agent on July 31, 1998. Less than two years after that, Toronto got Clark back two months after he was released by Chicago, when he signed with Toronto as an unrestricted free agent on Jan. 9, 2000.
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