Given that some of the topics of note here of late have included defensemen for whom we have paid too high a price, the absence of first-round picks (and seconds for that matter) and the prospect of having our traded first-rounder become someone really good, Michel Petit kind of fits. He even played for Tampa. (Note - run-on sentences are your friend....)
Michel was one of the players Floyd Smith acquired in the "please, please don't let New Jersey draft Lindros with our pick" purge of '90-91. A day or two earlier, Tom Kurvers, for whom the '91 first-rounder was dealt, blew a knee apart, leaving the Leafs short on the blue line. Smith traded former first-rounder Scotty Pearson, then just 21, plus two second-rounders to Quebec for Petit, 26, and a pair of 30-something forwards on their last legs in Lucien DeBlois and Aaron Broten.
I hated this trade. It was more future going out the door and more age coming back. It was designed to weaken Quebec enough to help put them behind us and it was more about saving face in Toronto than doing the right thing for the team. In that sense, it's precisely the sort of trade that hasn't happened this year. Brian Burke does not seem to fear any backlash from finishing last. Again, though, neither Hall nor Seguin are players of the Lindros calibre.
I didn't hate Michel Petit, though. I actually kind of liked him.
Michel Petit was no great shakes defensively, but he played it tough (this was certainly not Kurvers' forte), had some offense and some actual upside that could have made him a pretty good defenseman if you could tap it. He had pretty good size and could skate. He just needed the training and discipline it takes to be good in your own zone on a regular basis. He also needed a little patience, both in his own play and from his coaches.
Never really got any of that stuff in Toronto. Not in those days.
The upside of the deal, though, is that there is always a market for a defenseman with potential, even if he never seems to fully realize it. A savvy GM can work with this.
Just after New Year's, 1992, Michel was part of a deal. He was part of a package that brought a fellow named Gilmour to town. The deal included two Leaf defensemen for two Flame defensemen - Petit and Alexander Godynyuk for Macoun and Nattress.
Gotta say that worked out OK.
|1987-88||New York Rangers||NHL||64||9||24||33||223||+3|
|1988-89||New York Rangers||NHL||69||8||25||33||154||-15||4||0||2||2||27|
|1990-91||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||54||9||19||28||132||-19|
|1991-92||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||34||1||13||14||85||-17|
|1994-95||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||40||5||12||17||84||+4|
|1995-96||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||9||0||1||1||27||-1|
|1995-96||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||45||4||7||11||108||-10||6||0||0||0||20|
|1998-99||Las Vegas Thunder||IHL||6||0||1||1||10||-8|
QMJHL First All-Star Team (1982, 1983)
QMJHL Defensive Rookie of the Year) (1982)
- Traded to NY Rangers by Vancouver for Willie Huber and Larry Melnyk, November 4, 1987.
- Traded to Quebec by NY Rangers for Randy Moller, October 5, 1989.
- Traded to Toronto by Quebec with Aaron Broten and Lucien Deblois for Scott Pearson and Toronto's 2nd round choices in 1991 (later traded to Washington - Washington selected Eric Lavigne) and 1992 (Tuomas Gronman) Entry Drafts, November 17, 1990.
- Traded to Calgary by Toronto with Craig Berube, Alexander Godynyuk, Gary Leeman and Jeff Reese for Doug Gilmour, Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Rick Wamsley and Kent Manderville, January 2, 1992.
- Signed as a free agent by Los Angeles, June 16, 1994.
- Traded to Tampa Bay by Los Angeles for Steven Finn, November 13, 1995.
- Signed as a free agent by Edmonton, October 24, 1996.
- Claimed on waivers by Philadelphia from Edmonton, January 17, 1997.
- Signed as a free agent by Phoenix, November 25, 1997.
- Missed majority of 1998-99 season recovering from head injury suffered in game vs. Utah (IHL), October 17, 1998.
- Signed as a free agent by Chicago Wolves (IHL), November 18, 2000.
- Signed as a free agent by HC Bolzano (Italy), February 15, 2002.
The HHOF take on Michel:
Michel Petit played his junior hockey as an all-star rearguard for the Sherbrooke Castors and the St. Jean Castors of the QMJHL from 1981 to 1983. It was during that time that he already showed his attractive blend of skill and toughness.
In need of such qualities, the Vancouver Canucks' made him their 1st choice in the 1982 Entry Draft. Petit joined the struggling squad as a regular after a 19-game stint with the Canadian National team in 1983-84. With the Canucks, the young blueliner was subjected to considerable pressure by a city hungry for defensive relief. Petit did his best but often tried to exceed the limitations of his own abilities. As such, he struggled during his four and a half years on the West Coast.
In 1987, Rangers' coach Michel Bergeron rescued Petit from the depths of his floundering career. In the Big Apple, he stepped up his offensive production and his bellicose ways. He established himself with a strong physical presence and a penchant for using his stick for purposes beyond scoring goals and blocking shots.
When Bergeron became the GM of the Quebec Nordiques, he brought Petit along to tend his blueline in Quebec City. But in 1990, the team went after the Leafs' Rob Pearson with Petit as part of the payment. Coach Tom Watt of the Leafs held fond memories of Petit from their days in Vancouver and was eager to land him at the Gardens. But as was so often the case, he lasted only a year and a half before it was time to pack up again and move, this time to Calgary.
With the Flames, Petit put in his final stint of substance, lasting two-and-half years, before he rounded out his NHL career with short stops in Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Edmonton, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. After leaving the big leagues, Petit put in stints with the Las Vegas Thunder and the Chicago Wolves of the IHL plus two terms with the Frankfurt Lions in Germany.