On June 23, 1988, the Jays beat the Orioles 5-2 at home, bringing themselves to just a game under .500 in what had not been a very good season. Diamond Jim Clancy (4-9) went six for the win and a somewhat portly reliever named David Wells picked up his fourth save. (No, of course I don't remember this. I had to look it up. I was still reeling from the '87 collapse.)
Oh, and the Leafs signed a free agent named Dave Reid from Boston that day. Nobody we'd heard of and the signing was a non-event.
In the first couple of weeks of the season, though, we got all into Dave Reid. He was a point-per-game through his first 10 as a Leaf and it looked like we'd snookered Boston even better than on the Fergus deal.
Then, for whatever reason, he switched from wearing #34 to Mirko Frycer's old #14 - and never scored again.
Well, not exactly ever, but he finished with 30 points and we realized that what we had was not an elite scoring winger, but a kickin' PK guy and checker extraordinaire - and that wasn't really a bad thing. Kind of makes one wonder if he's otherwise employed at the moment.
The other thing he did to endear himself to us that first season was to finish not only as a plus, but a significant plus. I mean, Tom Fergus was -38 that year. Dave Reid was +12, and for a guy who wasn't bringing a ton of offense, that was unreal. Even a rival player was quoted before a game, wondering just how it was possible that anyone could be a +10 (at that particular moment) on the Leafs.
No matter whether the Leafs couldn't score at all ('90-91), scored in buckets ('89-90) or somewhere in between ('88-89), Dave always hit for between 28 and 30 points. His most interesting offensive stat came in 1990-91. He scored 15 goals, his best output as a Leaf, but get this - eight of them were shorthanded. This tied a team record set by Dave Keon years and years earlier and was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season.
In one stretch that must be a record but has probably never been looked into, Dave scored at least one shorthanded goal in three straight games, four shorties in total. The TV crew dubbed him "Rocket Reid," a nickname that never really stuck, except for me.
All those shorthanded goals did nothing but punch his ticket out of town, though. The Bruins took him back, then he went on to other checking/PK duties in Dallas and Colorado. The guy we salvaged from the Bruins farm system played 961 games in total, and probably would have had 1000 points (instead of 369) if he'd only stuck to #34.
A missed opportunity, that was.
(Note: there is no youtube or other photographic evidence of Dave Reid's existence - at least as a Leaf. Shocking, say I.)
the Rocket's stats:
|1979-80||Royal York Royals||OPJHL||41||4||7||11||93|
|1985-86||Moncton Golden Flames||AHL||26||14||18||32||4|
|1986-87||Moncton Golden Flames||AHL||40||12||22||34||23||5||0||1||1||0|
|1988-89||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||77||9||21||30||22||+12|
|1989-90||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||9||19||28||9||-8||3||0||0||0||0|
|1990-91||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||69||15||13||28||18||-10|
- Signed as a free agent by Toronto, June 23, 1988.
- Signed as a free agent by Boston, December 1, 1991.
- Signed as a free agent by Dallas, July 11, 1996.
- Signed as a free agent by Colorado, October 6, 1999.
The HHOF take on Dave:
While growing up as a teenager in Etobicoke, Ontario, Dave Reid got close to the pros by collecting their images on hockey cards. It's a habit that has stayed with him right into adulthood. By the time he joined the Maple Leafs in 1988, his collection was 180,000 strong and included baseball, football, and even Batman.
But while enlarging his collection during those early days, Reid also enlarged upon his on-ice career, skating for three years with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL from 1981 to 1984. The Boston Bruins were sufficiently impressed with his performance to pick him up in the 1982 Entry Draft. Two seasons later, he saw his first action with the club, an event that launched a pattern of shuttling between Hershey, Moncton, Maine, and the parent Bruins. The rocky ride went on for four seasons when the Bruins decided not to renew his contract. Reid looked destined to remain a career minor-leaguer.
With Toronto, Reid was thrown onto a checking line with Dave Hannan and Lou Franceschetti. The trio clicked with their less-than-fancy, dump-and-charge style of play. Reid looked very much at home until his contract expired in 1991. It then looked like history repeating itself when Reid signed again with the Boston Bruins who, during the course of the 1991-92 season, sent him back down for a return visit with the Maine Mariners of the AHL. But this time the stay was short and Reid resumed his NHL gig for good.
He lasted one more season in Boston and then signed as a free agent with the Dallas Stars who welcomed his tenacious defensive play and streak scoring outbursts, especially the odd cluster of shorthanded goals. In 1998-99, all of Reid's patience and hard work paid off as his Stars won their first and only Stanley Cup.
The following year, life only got better as he signed with the Colorado Avalanche, another dominant team of the NHL. And as usual, Reid plugged right into the club's defensive system, making himself his usual useful self. At the close of the 2000-2001 campaign, Reid was awarded his second Stanley Cup ring.
(bet it was shorthanded...)