Toronto Maple Leafs and Canadiens make for unlikely trade partners

MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 18: Jeff Petry /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
13 Apr 1998: Right wing Russ Courtnall of the Los Angeles Kings in action during a game against the Calgary Flames at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California.The Kings defeated the Flames 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kellie Landis /Allsport /

1988 – Leafs send Russ Courtnall to Montreal

When the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Russ Courtnall seventh overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, they were in desperate need of scoring help and had high expectations for the speedy winger. He had scored 36 goals and 61 assists in 60 games with the WHL’s Victoria Cougars in his draft year.

While his goal production wasn’t as high as when he played at the junior level, Courtnall was a consistent 20 goal scorer for the Leafs whose speed created a lot of opportunities for his linemates.

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Courtnall would help form “The Hound Line”, along with a young Wendel Clark and Gary Leeman.

In six seasons with the Leafs Courtnall recorded 90 goals and 128 assists in 309 regular season games, along with eight goals and 11 assists in 29 playoff games.

During the 1988 regular season Courtnall was traded to the Canadiens after a slight dip in production, in exchange for enforcer John Kordic and a 1989 sixth round draft pick (Mike Doers).

The trade was very lopsided in favour of Montreal. As a member of the Leafs, Kordic would record 16 points and 446 penalty minutes in three seasons, while Doers would not play a single game in the NHL.

Meanwhile, Courtnall would play four seasons for the Canadiens scoring 82 goals and 113 assists in 250 regular season games, including 22 goals and 10 assists in 55 playoff games.

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Courtnall would be a big part in helping Montreal reach the 1989 Stanley Cup Finals, where they would end up losing to the Calgary Flames in six games.