I was looking at Marty Reasoner's NHL history -- stunned that it's already been a 12-year career -- when I remembered that I was there at the NHL draft when the St. Louis Blues selected him 14th overall.
This was the era when control-happy GM/coach Mike Keenan regularly traded draft picks for anyone with a claim to a Cup-winning team (thus, Stephane Matteau totally counted in the "clutchitude" department, so Keenan acquired him for Ian Laperriere. Awesome.).
That year the Blues hosted the draft, so there was a not-publicly stated organizational directive that the "Future? What future?" Keenan could not trade that #1 pick; the home fans needed someone to cheer on Draft Day. Turns out they would cheer for Reasoner, whom the Blues quickly billed as a Craig Janney type (Bruins/Blues era Janney -- not Sharks/Coyotes/Lightning/Islanders/etc.-era Janney), which of course set Reasoner up to miss expectations ...
... Which is why he was included in the -- wait for it, we're coming full circle here -- the trade in which the Blues acquired recently retired Islanders captain Doug Weight from the Oilers. (frequent Sabre Jochen Hecht was also an important piece of that deal...with pre-Nino Niederreiter highest Swiss draft pick ever Michel Riesen the lone prospect the Oilers shed.)
While I had to console a work colleague the day Reasoner was traded -- she had a Reasoner crush that Weight's handsome 5 o'clock shadow could not displace -- it's been fun to watch Reasoner's career go the way of Manny Malhotra and MIke Sillinger: Talented first-round pick who weren't first-line scorers, but who -- rather than going Daigle -- adapted their game to be fine two-way centers and faceoff specialists in the NHL.
I mentioned that career trajectory the day Reasoner was signed, but thinking back to his draft reminded me how some fantastic hockey players get to the NHL and peter out when their game does not translate, and other fantastic hockey players get to the NHL and rework their game rather than peter out.
Reasoner scored 45 points in 34 games for Boston College during his draft year. He added 73 points in 42 games at age 20 for B.C. This was the era when amateur stats were translated to the NHL more by feel rather than statistical analysis, but you could understand a player with those kind of stats might expect, and be touted, to at least do something like that at the next level.
Snow on Reasoner, Pursuit of Defense
Some of these quotes were published yesterday, but here's the Islanders in-house interview with Garth Snow about the Reasoner signing and the pursuit of other defense through trade.
I particularly enjoyed when they asked Snow about the league-wide spending frenzy on July 1, and Snow -- ever the diplomat with only a hint of Cheshire cat grin -- instead of saying, "THEY'RE ALL CRAZY," just says that's the day teams look to fill holes. For the yang to that yin, we await Brian Burke's next public rant about how much money teams wasted Friday.