Martin Gelinas

"I feel so happy. I know it is the biggest trade ever in the sport.''

- Martin Gelinas

As if being a high NHL draft choice is not already more pressure than we should probably expect 18 year olds to handle, weeks later Martin Gelinas had found himself in the unenviable position of being traded for the game's greatest player, Wayne Gretzky.

Gelinas certainly made a name for him in 1987-88 season, playing in the QMJHL with the Hull Olympiques, who, interestingly enough, were owned by none other than Wayne Gretzky.

Gelinas was the Quebec League's prize rookie that year, turning in an impressive 63 goal, 131 point season that earned him CHL rookie of the year honours.

More importantly, he was selected by the Los Angeles Kings 7th overall in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. He was drafted directly ahead of the likes of Jeremy Roenick, Rod Brind'Amour and Teemu Selanne.

Gelinas must have been fairly excited. After all, he was a top 10 NHL pick and heading to California.

Except the only time he donned a Kings jersey was at the draft in Montreal. Weeks later he was included in the biggest trade in hockey history, perhaps all of sporting history.

Wayne Gretzky, along with Mike Krushelnyski and Marty McSorley, was unthinkably traded to the Los Angeles Kings. Any Edmonton fan will tell you they were sold, as the key to the deal was the $15 million US that Oilers owner Peter Pocklington desperately needed to stop the financial bleeding his empire was suffering. From a hockey stand point, the Oilers were getting a slew of faraway draft picks and two players: Jimmy Carson and the recently drafted Gelinas.

Before he even attended his first NHL training camp, Gelinas found himself traded for the greatest player in the history of the game.

Talk about enormous skates to fill.

Gelinas made a splash in 1987–88 with the Hull Olympiques of the QMJHL with a 63-goal, 131-point campaign. His season made the CHL Rookie of the Year the 7th overall choice by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.

Fortunately for Gelinas, he was able to escape the close scrutiny somewhat. Aside from 6 games, he was returned to junior hockey for the 1988-89 season. In 1989-90 the Oilers had already gone through they're transformation minus 99, and they were still a very strong team, as evidenced by their Stanley Cup win that spring.

Gelinas was able to slide into the revamped Oilers lineup scoring 17 goals in 46 games. He actually led all Oilers gunners in shooting percentage that year, too.

He was joined by Joe Murphy and Adam Graves on the fast skating, hard hitting and extremely popular energy line known as The Kid Line. They would play a significant role in leading the Oilers to their 5th Stanley Cup in 7 years.

He played six games for the Oilers in 1988, before being sent back to the Olympiques. In his first full season in 1989-90, Gelinas had 25 points in 46 games, and won his only Stanley Cup as a member of the Oilers, beating the Boston Bruins. Along with Joe Murphy and Adam Graves, he was made up a popular Oilers' forward line known as 'The Kid Line.'

That is how Martin Gelinas will forever be remembered in Edmonton, despite sputtering after the 1990 championship. He scored 20 goals a year later, but then he showed up for one training camp far too bulked up, thus throwing off his game noticeably.

He went on to Quebec where his play was so poor that the Nordiques put him on waivers. The Vancouver Canucks plucked up Gelinas. It was in Vancouver that Gelinas, along side close friend Trevor Linden, really found his game. He was able to mesh his speed and physical game with a couple of 30 goal seasons.

Though those two were the heart of the Canucks, Mike Keenan and Mark Messier made sure of their exile from BC. Gelinas was off to Carolina where he continued his strong play for 5 seasons. He would round up his career with stints in Calgary, Florida and Nashville.

Though he was never the scorer that many predicted he would be coming out of junior, Martin Gelinas had a real nice career in the NHL, playing nearly 1300 games and scoring over 300 goals and 600 points. Perhaps he will still add to those totals as he had yet to announce plans for the 2008-09 season.

Moreover, Gelinas earned a lot of respect for his hard working, honest game. He showed up every night, gave it his all and was a great teammate. He was no Wayne Gretzky, but he was a player any team would loved to have on their side.


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