Leaf of the Day - Nov 24, 2008 - 1978-79 - Pat Boutette

Nov 24, 2007 - 1978-79 - Pat Boutette

The word 'scrappy' is often used and abused when it comes to hockey players, yet I can't come up with a better word for than that to describe Pat Boutette.  He was a little guy who carved out a niche playing on the third line for the Leafs and taking on all comers, most of whom were significantly larger than he was.  Imagine a guy who stood 5'8" and weighed 175 taking on the likes of Clark Gillies or Saleski, as they mention below.  Add to that the fact that even then, teams lied about the size of their players....

From his "fight card" in 1975-76, I see the following - look at the size differential:

Gary Dornhoefer - 5"
Don Saleski - 7", 30 lbs
Phil Russell - 5", 25 lbs
Steve Durbano - 5", 35 lbs
Clark Gilles - 7", 35 lbs
Mike Wong - 7", 29 lbs
Mike Milbury - 5", 30 lbs

He wasn't choosy.

Now, he lost a good number of those fights, but it's the fearlessness you have to admire.

Boutette, however, could put the puck in the net.  He wasn't a huge scorer in Toronto, mainly a result of the role he had, but could be counted on for about 15 goals and 35 points.  Once he left, though, he found himself on the scoring lines and responded accordingly.  In 127 games with Hartford, he had 124 points.  He had seasons of 23 and 27 goals in Pittsburgh before the realities of being 5'8" and playing tough began to catch up to him.

1978-79 was Pat Boutette's last full season in Toronto.  He put up the kinds of numbers he always had - 14-19-33 and 136 penalty minutes.  In 1979-80 he got off to a horrible start and was sent off to Hartford.



1968-69      Riverside Cement      Minor-ON                                                       
1969-70     London Knights     OHA-Jr.     53     11     17     28     87         10     1     4     5     66
1970-71     U. of Minnesota-Duluth     WCHA     33     18     13     31     86                        
1971-72     U. of Minnesota-Duluth     WCHA     34     17     20     37     71                        
1972-73     U. of Minnesota-Duluth     WCHA     34     18     45     63     91                        
1973-74     Oklahoma City Blazers     CHL     70     17     34     51     118         10     0     7     7     35
1974-75     Oklahoma City Blazers     CHL     77     26     42     68     163         5     2     4     6     4
1975-76     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     77     10     22     32     140     -1     10     1     4     5     16
1976-77     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     80     18     18     36     107     +13     9     0     4     4     17
1977-78     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     80     17     19     36     120     0     13     3     3     6     40
1978-79     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     80     14     19     33     136     +3     6     2     2     4     22
1979-80     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     32     0     4     4     17     -6                    

1979-80     Hartford Whalers     NHL     47     13     31     44     75     +17     3     1     0     1     6
1980-81     Hartford Whalers     NHL     80     28     52     80     160     -13                    
1980-81     Canada     WEC-A     8     1     1     2     16                        
1981-82     Pittsburgh Penguins     NHL     80     23     51     74     230     -23     5     3     1     4     8
1982-83     Pittsburgh Penguins     NHL     80     27     29     56     152     -33                    
1983-84     Pittsburgh Penguins     NHL     73     14     26     40     142     -58                    
1984-85     Pittsburgh Penguins     NHL     14     1     3     4     24     -5                    
1984-85     Hartford Whalers     NHL     33     6     8     14     51     -6                    
1984-85     Binghamton Whalers     AHL     27     8     17     25     10         7     0     2     2     0
Leaf Totals     349    59    82    141    520    9    38    6    13    19    95
NHL Totals     756     171     282     453     1354     -112    46     10     14     24     109

WCHA Second All-Star Team (1973)
NCAA West First All-American Team (1973)    

- Traded to Hartford by Toronto for Bob Stephenson, December 24, 1979.
- Transferred to Pittsburgh by Hartford with Kevin McClelland as compensation for Hartford's signing of free agent Greg Millen, June 29, 1981.
- Traded to Hartford by Pittsburgh for the rights to Ville Siren, November 16, 1984.

(note that -58 for Pittsburgh in 1983-84 - ever wonder just how the Pens managed to get Mario Lemieux?)

the hhof take on Pat:

Pat Boutette's career in hockey was consistently marked by a great mental strength that allowed him to face down the odds that tended to jump onto his path from time to time. While skating for the London Knights of the OHA in 1969-70, he was offered a scholarship to attend the University of Minnesota. He accepted the offer in the midst of the usual warnings that such a path would never lead him to the NHL. But with his usual self-assurance, he went south to school

He put in three successful seasons on campus, becoming an All-American all-star in 1973. He elected to leave his studies one year shy of his degree in physical education to turn pro with the Maple Leafs' chain. He put in two years of apprenticeship with the Oklahoma City Blazers of the CHL where he honed the style of play that would earn him a long-term ticket in the NHL. Standing only 5' 8" high, Boutette knew that he'd have to become a durable mucker who would never back down from anyone, no matter how much bigger his rivals stood.

In 1975-76, he finally got the call to join the Leafs on a line with Dave "Tiger" Williams and Jack Valiquette. Short-guy jokes abounded in the dressing room as Boutette grew in his resolve to work hard and play aggressively against foes of all sizes. It was not uncommon to see him drop the gloves against such leviathans as the Isles' Clark Gillies or the Flyers' Don Saleski. He also managed to find the opposition's net with respectable third-line frequency.

Into his fifth season with the Leafs, Boutette was traded to the Hartford Whalers where, despite his short stay, he scored a personal-best 80 points in 80 games for the struggling Whalers. In 1981, he was dispatched to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he continued to play his aggressive game in the company of Paul Gardner and Rick Kehoe. The only difference between life as a Pen and as a Leaf was that, in Pittsburgh, he tended to score more while making life difficult for opponents along the boards.

By 1984-85, however, the rugged winger finally began to slow down. His numbers fell off as he was traded back to the Whalers where he played briefly before retiring from the Binghamton Whalers of the AHL at the close of the season.



This is the one video I can find of Boutette.  There used to be others - usually you'd find him in a scrum near the front of the net. 

In this one, from Mar 7, 1977, the Leafs and Flyers are doing what they often did.  Sittler and Holmgren seem to be the major card, but Pat Boutette is tangled up with Bill Barber.  In the early going, Barber has him in a bear hug, but at about the 1:22 mark, Pat gets loose.  As always, Barber is four inches taller and twenty pounds heavier.... is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of

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