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In 1992, the NHL expanded to add the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning to bring the league to 24 for the 1992-93 season. As per usual, the NHL put together an expansion draft for Tampa Bay and Ottawa to fill their clubs. 21 of the 22 franchises in the league at the time of the draft were allowed to protect two goaltenders and fourteen position players (the San Jose Sharks were the only team exempt of protection restrictions as they were an expansion team the previous season). Beyond that, every team had to make available at least one goaltender who had played at least one game in the 1991–92 NHL season.
Pittsburgh lost Wendell Young (2nd overall to Tampa Bay) and Peter Taglianetti (9th overall also to Tampa Bay). But the curious thing about it, is that one of our unprotected players was 40-goal scorer Joe Mullen! 10th in the NHL in goals in 1992 and left strangely unprotected in the expansion draft and stranger yet - unclaimed!
Now, certainly, salary implications may have had something to do with this. Though I don't know Mullen's salary that year, it was undoubtedly high given his reputation. But the question is, why? Both for why he was left unprotected (along with Bruce Racine, Wendell Young, Gilbert Delorme, Bryan Fogarty, Grant Jennings, Peter Taglianetti, Peter Lee, Troy Mick, and Ken Priestlay for reference) and why he wasn't claimed?
Anyone have any knowledge or recollection of this from the time?
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Probably some combination of age/salary. He was already 35, and maybe CP made some inofficial phone calls prior to the draft.
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How about the list of players that were protected? That would be a better comparison.
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steelhammer wrote:How about the list of players that were protected? That would be a better comparison.
The Pens were pretty loaded that year.
Also, I was going to agree that Mullen, although he had a good season with the Pens, was too old. But, his stat lines the following seasons are pretty sweet:
- Code: Select all
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 77 42 45 87 30 12 9 3 1 4 4
1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 72 33 37 70 14 19 12 4 2 6 6
1993-94 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 84 38 32 70 41 9 6 1 0 1 2
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I'm looking at the roster and can't really see why they left Tags and Mullen exposed. I only see 12 guys I'd protect over them and that means defensemen like Stanton and Jenningswere protected possibly over Tags and forwards like Stapleton and Daniels over Mullen.
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