Sunday

Pat Hughes

Pat Hughes, a native of Calgary, is a three time Stanley Cup champion best known as a role player with the high flying Edmonton Oilers in the mid-1980s.

Pat first made a name for himself while attended the University of Michigan. The Montreal Canadiens noticed Pat during his sophomore year, and drafted the speedy winger 52nd overall in 1975. Pat turned pro in 1976-77, but spent the first two years playing in the Montreal farm system.

By 1978-79 Pat made the Canadiens, although his ice time was limited as the rookie right wing on a deep and talent squad, the year ended on a very successful note. Pat got into 8 playoff games and got his name on his first Stanley Cup.

With the retirement on goaltending great Ken Dryden following the Cup victory, the Habs traded Hughes to Pittsburgh to find a new goalie in Denis Heron. Hughes benefited from more ice time on the much weaker Penguins, and scored 18 goals and 32 points. The pesky Hughes also helped the Penguins make the playoffs that year.

1980-81 was a frustrating year for Hughes. Playing behind Rick Kehoe, George Ferguson and Peter Lee, he struggled on the score sheet and was traded to Edmonton in exchange for Pat Price late in the season.

That move turned out to be a great thing for Pat, joining the Oilers just in time for their famous playoff series with the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal was the heavy favourite, but Edmonton pulled a major upset and swept the best of 5 series 3-0. Although the Oilers didn't win another game in the playoffs, their upset victory over Montreal was a key step in their development. Hughes 5 assists in 5 games aided that cause.

Over the next three years Hughes played a nice role on the Oilers third line. In addition to his abrasive play and tight checking, Hughes chipped in nicely with some offense. From 1981-82 through 1983-84 Pat scored 24, 25, and 27 goals and 46, 45 and 55 points respectively.

The Oilers were a team known for scoring goals. With the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Glenn Anderson they scored lots of goals. On a couple of nights at least, Pat Hughes joined that elite company with famous goal scoring outbursts.

The first game of note was against St. Louis on Jan. 11, 1983. On that night he set a NHL record (since bettered) by scoring two shorthanded goals just 25 seconds apart, bettering teammate Wayne Gretzky's record of 27 seconds, set just one season prior.

Nearly a year later, on February 3rd, 1984, Hughes lit up the Calgary Flames with 5 goals in one game, joining Gretzky (who did it three times) and later joined by Jari Kurri for the Oilers team record.

1983-84 saw the Oilers win their first Stanley Cup. Pat picked up 13 points in the 19 game playoff run and played a quiet but important role on the team's success.

The Oilers followed up that Cup victory with a second win in 1984-85, but then Hughes was involved in a three team trade with Pittsburgh and the Sabres. Pat ended up in Buffalo where it was hoped his experience with the Oilers and Canadiens would help bring along a struggling Sabres team. Hughes in turn struggled too with just 4 goals and 13 points in 50 games as the Sabres missed the playoffs.

The Sabres exposed Hughes in the waiver draft in 1986 where the St. Louis Blues picked up the 6'1" and 180 pound penalty killer. He scored just 1 goal in 43 games with the Blues, he was traded to the Hartford Whalers. He played just 2 regular season games and 3 playoff games before retiring.

In 573 NHL games Pat Hughes scored 130 goals, 128 assists for 258 points. He added 8 goals and 33 points in 71 playoff contests.

Hughes, the brother in law of Mark Napier, worked in marketing departments of both the Edmonton Oilers and Molson breweries in the hockey off-seasons. 

1 comments:

Anonymous,  11:52 AM  

After an Oiler game back in 1982, Pat Hughes gave my 6 year old son his hockey stick for a souvenir. We still have that stick to this day. I am hoping I can get Pat to sign it for him...he's now 38 years old. Quite the keepsake.

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