Defenseman AND Forward
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01-18-2013, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regina, SK
Originally Posted by
I was wondering if anybody had a list (or a link with proof) of players who actually have played forward and defense in the last 2 decades.
For example, I think Wendel Clark, Sergei Fedorov and Brent Burns played both positions. Any other examples ?
I don't think Clark ever played defense in the NHL. He was drafted as a defenseman but immediately switched to forward. And was horrible defensively.
If you're looking for guys who just switched a few games here and there, then the list is probably 100 names long. If you're looking for guys who spent entire seasons at one position or the other (or, let's say half seasons), or guys who consistently switched up, then here are a few who come to mind immediately, in order of prominence:
Marty McSorley (perfect example)
Scott Walker (started as D, first 2 seasons)
Mark Streit (was wing with Canadiens half the time)
Dustin Byfuglien (well known)
Sami Kapanen (played a lot more D than Fedorov did)
Gary Leeman (he played in the last 20 years but his two seasons as a D-man were 30 years ago by now)
Ken Klee (both he and Staios started as a winger, I think many forget this!)
Mathieu Dandenault (perfect example)
Brent Burns (but how much?)
Ken Baumgartner (I think?)
Jamie Heward (a little bit)
Ian Moran (according to hockey reference, but I don't know)
Phil Bourque (same)
Shawn Thornton (same)
Tony Twist (same)
Ben Clymer (same)
Rudy Poeschek (same)
Raitis Ivanans (same)
I don't even really count Fedorov. What was the longest he ever did it consecutively? 10 games?
prior to them, just over 20 years ago, Lindy Ruff retired and he switch hit for the entire 1980s, rarely playing all forward or all defense for a full season.
Mark Howe was a winger in the WHA (except his last season, I believe, since he was an all-star defenseman), a winger in 1980, and a D-man beyond that.
Gord Donnelly, Jim Korn and Tim Hunter switch hit a bit as well, I believe.
For some reason, I am drawing a blank when i try to think of other good examples from the 80s.
Hockey-reference says Kevin McCarthy too, which I did not realize (his TOI estimates don't point to a season where he'd have seen reduced forward icetime)
prior to them, there was Lou Nanne in the 70s who switch hit very often.
Jim McKenney played 1-2 seasons as a winger.
Ken Houston started as a D-man for 1-2 seasons before moving to RW.
Dale Tallon was normally a D but had a few seasons as a center.
Poul Popiel was a defenseman who played a lot of wing.
Ron Harris alternated between a 4th line RW and a #5 D for the early 70s Rangers.
Marty Howe played RW and D.
Ed Westfall started as a D with Boston for 2 seasons before becoming one of the best defensive forwards of all-time, first for the Bruins, and then for the emerging Isles.
Bob Wall started as a D but had a couple years as a wing too, just after expansion.
Kevin Morrison was an all-star WHA defenseman who also played some wing.
Reg Fleming was mostly an O6 player but played a bit after expansion. He played D and wing.
Same with Ron Stewart, but not much D.
And in 1975 Doug Mohns was completing a career that dated back to the 1950s, he played almost a decade as an offensive defenseman, a few years as an offensive forward, then finished up as a defensive defenseman, making the all-star game in all three roles.
if one is to consider Mohns a 60s player, The best of the 70s crowd for this was Jimmy Roberts, who alternated from D to RW, almost from season to season. He was a semi-elite defensive forward capable of 30 points but also was proficient enough on D to earn over 20 minutes and once got a couple all-star votes there too. I believe he played in 9 finals with the Blues and Habs.
once you get back into the O6 times this was much more rare (until you get to WW2 and beyond, then it gets VERY common), but off the top of my head you had Red Kelly, Benny Woit, and Alf Pike.
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