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Walter McKechnie
Walter McKechnie
Number: 11
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 195
Born: Jun 19, 1947
Birthplace: London, ON, Canada
Acquired: 1. Traded to Detroit by Boston with Bruins' third-round choice (Clarke Hamilton) in 1975 amateur draft for Hank Nowak and Earl Anderson on February 18, 1975; 2. Signed as a free agent by Detroit on October 1, 1981.
Drafted: TOR / 1963 NHL Amateur Draft
Round: 1st (6th overall)
During the early 60s, Walt McKechnie played four years of Junior B in Sarnia, Ontario where he skated with a teenage prospect named Phil Esposito.

From there, McKechnie played two years of Junior A with the Leafs' OHA affiliate, the London Nationals. But despite his solid showing with the club, he never clicked with the Leafs' organization. As such, he was traded to Phoenix of the WHL where he took rookie-of-the-year honors in 1968.

He finally made the NHL later that year in a playoff showing with the Minnesota North Stars. His arrival marked the beginning of a lengthy big-league career that became one of the most nomadic in NHL history. In total, he changed major-league teams 12 times with stops in the minors coming on four occasions. In fact, he was once on the rosters of five different clubs over a 12-month period, although one was only on paper.

But perhaps the most defining characteristic of McKechnie's career was that he played for nine teams that finished in last place or were destined to be tail enders before he was traded. But through it all, he consistently brought his strong playmaking skills and effective ability to dig puck from the corners to all of the teams he represented.

McKechnie himself sights his stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs, particularly in 1978-79 as the best gig of his career. He finally got to shine in the playoffs while skating for a club that looked at least like it had a chance to win. The honeymoon was brief, however. The second coming of Punch Imlach brought on the dissolution of the club's chemistry and a one-way ticket for McKechnie to Colorado.

All told, at the NHL level, he skated for the North Stars, Golden Seals, Bruins, Wings, Capitals, Barons, Leafs and Rockies before he finally hung up his blades for good in 1984.

Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame


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