Feb 25, 2009 - Rod Seling
45 years ago last Sunday, as the Leafs were gearing up for the 1964 playoff drive, hoping to win their third Stanley Cup in as many years, they made a big splash by picking up Andy Bathgate and Don McKenney from the Rangers. Bathgate was clearly the bigger name and was one of the dominant wingers in the NHL. McKenney was a solid scorer with numerous 20-goal seasons under his belt. The Rangers got wingers Bob Nevin and Dick Duff, both of whom had been pushed down in the lineup and were having subpar seasons, plus a pair of defensive farmhands - Arnie Brown and Rod Seiling. (There was also a forward named Bill Collins, whose primary NHL action came with Minnesota post-expansion.)
If you read the Cox and Stellick book 1967, they're pretty harsh on this trade. The Leafs were a very strong team and it's arguable that they could have won the Cup anyway. Duff moved to Montreal after a season and provided excellent secondary scoring on numerous Cup winners. Nevin, Brown and Seiling were Ranger mainstays for the rest of the decade and beyond. There were a number of other occasions where the Leafs sacrificed youth for veterans or simply held on to the vets they had and lost prospects as a result. Gerry Cheevers wound up in Boston this way. The Bathgate deal was one of the most obvious moves, though.
For their part, Bathgate and McKenney both played well. McKenney, actually, was brilliant down the stretch, but tore a shoulder apart in game 5 of the Final and was never the same player again. Bathgate scored the Stanley Cup winning goal in 1964. The following season, both put up lesser numbers that one would have expected (diminished role for Bathgate, slow recovery for McKenney) and both were Red Wings to start 1965-66.
As the Leafs went into the late 1960s and suddenly found themselves needing to restock that aging defense, the presence of a Brown or especially a Seiling would have been really helpful. As it was, Rod was helping the Rangers make the Final for the first time in ages.
He played a very sound defensive game. He wasn't overly physical and wasn't the sort to light it up offensively, but holding the fort behind a good offensive team, he consistently put up plus figures into the 30s and 40s with a high of plus 53 in 1971-72. This got him the nod to play for Team Canada in 1972, though he only dressed for three games.
In 1974, the Leafs righted an old wrong by picking Rod up from Washington. He finished that year and played the next as well, giving the Leafs typical Rod Seiling hockey - sound, steady defense. He left as a free agent in 1976.
|1960-61||St. Michael's Buzzers||OHA-B|
|1960-61||St. Michael's Majors||OHA-Jr.||3||0||0||0||2||4||0||0||0||0|
|1961-62||St. Michael's Majors||OHA-Jr.||31||24||26||50||14||4||2||1||3||0|
|1961-62||St. Michael's Majors||M-Cup||5||2||2||4||11|
|1962-63||Neil McNeil Maroons||MTJHL||38||29||48||77||32||10||4||10||14||14|
|1962-63||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||1||0||1||1||0|
|1962-63||Neil McNeil Maroons||M-Cup||6||1||3||4||2|
|1963-64||New York Rangers||NHL||2||0||1||1||0|
|1964-65||New York Rangers||NHL||68||4||22||26||44|
|1965-66||New York Rangers||NHL||52||5||10||15||24|
|1966-67||New York Rangers||NHL||12||1||1||2||6|
|1967-68||New York Rangers||NHL||71||5||11||16||44||+23||6||1||1||2||4|
|1968-69||New York Rangers||NHL||73||4||17||21||73||+6||4||1||0||1||2|
|1969-70||New York Rangers||NHL||76||5||21||26||68||+41||2||0||0||0||0|
|1970-71||New York Rangers||NHL||68||5||22||27||34||+30||13||1||0||1||12|
|1971-72||New York Rangers||NHL||78||5||36||41||62||+53||16||1||4||5||10|
|1972-73||New York Rangers||NHL||72||9||33||42||36||+43|
|1973-74||New York Rangers||NHL||68||7||23||30||32||+16||13||0||2||2||19|
|1974-75||New York Rangers||NHL||4||0||1||1||0||-4|
|1974-75||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||60||5||12||17||40||+8||7||0||0||0||0|
|1975-76||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||77||3||16||19||46||+11||10||0||1||1||6|
|1976-77||St. Louis Blues||NHL||79||3||26||29||36||+1||4||0||0||0||2|
|1977-78||St. Louis Blues||NHL||78||1||11||12||40||-48|
|1978-79||St. Louis Blues||NHL||3||0||1||1||4||-1|
Brother of Ric
OHA-Jr. Second All-Star Team (1964) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1972)
- Traded to NY Rangers by Toronto with Dick Duff, Bob Nevin, Arnie Brown and Bill Collins for Andy Bathgate and Don McKenney, February 22, 1964.
- Claimed by St. Louis from NY Rangers in Expansion Draft, June 6, 1967.
- Traded to NY Rangers by St. Louis for Gary Sabourin, Bob Plager, Gord Kannegiesser and Tim Ecclestone, June 6, 1967.
- Claimed on waivers by Washington from NY Rangers, October 29, 1974.
- Traded to Toronto by Washington for Tim Ecclestone and Willie Brossart, November 2, 1974.
- Signed as a free agent by St. Louis, September 9, 1976.
- Traded to Atlanta by St. Louis for cash, November 4, 1978.
Rod Seiling went through three different phases as a hockey player. First, as a high scoring winger during his junior career; second, as a defenceman who was expected to become a high scorer in the NHL; and, finally, a defensive-minded back-checker for several teams.
Seiling began his junior career with the St. Michael's Majors of the OHA in 1960. He played there for two seasons, his last being his most productive as he collected 50 points in 31 games. The 1962-63 season was one of change. He played for the Neil McNeil Maroons in Toronto Junior and amassed 77 points in only 38 games. From there, Seiling signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs but played only one game for them before being sent down to the minors for two different teams. He began the 1963-64 season with the Marlies and collected 67 points in 41 games before representing Canada at the 1964 Olympic Winter Games in Austria where the team finished out of the medals. The Leafs then traded Seiling to the New York Rangers where he spent the next ten seasons.
As a Rangers defenceman, Seiling was known as a stay-at-home blueliner who made few mistakes. After being claimed by the St. Louis Blues in the Expansion Draft of 1967, the Rangers were quick to trade for him the same day to keep him in New York. He enjoyed a great 1971-72 season collecting 41 points in 78 games and was named to the NHL All-Star Game for that season. The Rangers went to the Stanley Cup finals only to fall to Bobby Orr's Boston Bruins. Seiling was asked to represent his country once again for the '72 Summit Series and played in three games. His next season with the Broadway Blueshirts saw him collect career highs in goals and points.
The 1974-75 season saw Seiling play on three different teams. He was claimed on waivers by the Washington Capitals from the Rangers, but played just one game for them when a week later he was sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs. After a season and a half in Toronto, Seiling signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Blues where he was a veteran to a young defensive core. He was traded once more in the 1978-79 season to the Atlanta Flames, where he finished his career.
After playing hockey, Seiling coached junior hockey and actually gave one of his young players some advice telling him he couldn't skate, shoot or pass, but was good defensively. Luckily Paul Coffey paid no attention to his coach.