FanPost

Leaf of the Day - Dec 8, 2008 - 1978-79 - Jerry Butler

Dec 8, 2008 - 1978-79 - Jerry Butler

(Note: Mondays, we'll have players from the 1978-79 team, 30 years ago this year. They'll appear in alphabetical order.)

I hate to say that Jerry Butler's greatest contribution to the Leafs was what he brought in trade, but given that I'm in kind of a snarky frame of mind, I will.

It's not that Jerry was a bad player.  He wasn't, not by any stretch.  He was a very good checker and penalty killer and he brought a degree of toughness and physicality to the Leafs. The team that parlayed that into a really nice playoff run in 1978 and you can't take any of that away.

He was very much the opposite of the player the Leafs sent to get him.  Inge Hammarstrom was a skill guy but not overly physical.  Ballard had the famous line about him that he could go into the corners with a dozen eggs and not break any of them.  Butler was nothing like that.  He was more of a lunchpail guy, a mucker.  His numbers were a lot better in St. Louis than Toronto, but that's likely a function of role more than anything.  Butler got some ice time with Garry Unger in St. Louis.  He did not see much ice with Sittler in Toronto.

Late in 1979-80, "Bugsy" and Tiger Williams were sent to the Vancouver Canucks for a pair of unproven kids - Rick Vaive and Bill Derlago.

Any time you can send a guy off your PK and a top-6 winger and get back 2/3 of your #1 line for the next six years, including your team's first-ever 50-goal scorer and captain, it's a pretty sweet deal.

So yes, his most lasting contribution was the manner in which he left town, but when we're talking Vaive and Derlago in return, that's not really a slight.  At least it's not intended as one.

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Plus - he kept #17 warm for its rightful inhabitant....

1969-70      Sarnia Bees      OHA-B                                                       
1970-71     Hamilton Red Wings     OHA-Jr.     59     6     20     26     131         7     0     1     1     31
1971-72     Omaha Knights     CHL     72     19     18     37     173                        
1972-73     New York Rangers     NHL     8     1     0     1     4     +1                    
1972-73     Providence Reds     AHL     64     29     30     59     97         4     1     2     3     11
1973-74     New York Rangers     NHL     26     6     10     16     24     +7     12     0     2     2     25
1973-74     Providence Reds     AHL     48     20     22     42     114                        
1974-75     New York Rangers     NHL     78     17     16     33     102     -5     3     1     0     1     16
1975-76     St. Louis Blues     NHL     66     17     24     41     75     0     3     0     0     0     0
1976-77     St. Louis Blues     NHL     80     12     20     32     65     -31     4     0     0     0     14
1977-78     St. Louis Blues     NHL     9     0     2     2     5     -6                    
1977-78     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     73     9     7     16     49     -10     13     1     1     2     18
1978-79     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     76     8     7     15     52     -2     6     0     0     0     4
1979-80     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     55     7     8     15     29     -3                    

1979-80     Vancouver Canucks     NHL     23     4     4     8     21     -5     4     0     0     0     2
1980-81     Vancouver Canucks     NHL     80     12     15     27     60     +2     3     1     0     1     0
1981-82     Vancouver Canucks     NHL     25     3     1     4     15     -5                    
1981-82     Dallas Black Hawks     CHL     47     6     24     30     30         16     4     5     9     36
1982-83     Winnipeg Jets     NHL     42     3     6     9     14     -5                    
Leaf Totals     204    24    22    46    130    -15    19    1    1    2    22
NHL Totals     641     99     120     219     515     -62    48     3     3     6     79

- Traded to St. Louis by NY Rangers with Ted Irvine and Bert Wilson for Bill Collins and John Davidson, June 18, 1975.
- Traded to Toronto by St. Louis for Inge Hammarstrom, November 1, 1977.
- Traded to Vancouver by Toronto with Tiger Williams for Bill Derlago and Rick Vaive, February 18, 1980.

- Signed as a free agent by Winnipeg, October 8, 1982.

the HHOF take on Jerry:

During his prime in the 1970s, right-winger Jerry Butler was one of the NHL's best defensive shadows. He was a fine skater who could jump in offensively and did not shy away from battling the league's biggest foes.

The native of Sarnia, Ontario played Junior B with the local Bees before spending the 1970-71 season with the OHA's Hamilton Red Wings. After his solid year in Hamilton, Butler was chosen 55th overall by the New York Rangers at the Amateur Draft. He spent most of his first two years as a pro learning the ropes in the AHL before playing a regular shift on Manhattan in 1974-75.

Prior to the 1975-76 season, the industrious winger was part of the package sent to the St. Louis Blues for star goaltender John Davidson. In 1975-76, he scored a personal high 41 points playing with Garry Unger and Bob MacMillan. In the first round of the playoffs, he was a solid worker when St. Louis nearly upset the Buffalo Sabres in the first round.

Early in the 1977-78 season the steady checker was sought by Toronto Maple Leafs coach Roger Neilson. Butler provided grit and defensive excellence on the club as it reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1967. The hard-working winger formed one of the league's top penalty-killing tandems with Jimmy Jones. This sunny period began to end the next year and, by 1979-80, Toronto was in sharp decline. In February 1980 Butler was sent to the Vancouver Canucks with Tiger Williams for youngsters Bill Derlago and Rick Vaive. He played parts of three seasons on the West Coast then retired in 1983 after playing 42 games for the Winnipeg Jets.

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via img205.imageshack.us


 

 

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