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Why did Gretzky go undrafted?

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07-31-2010, 12:36 AM
  #1
Le Tricolore
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Why did Gretzky go undrafted?

Did him going to the WHA make him ineligible to be drafted by an NHL team? You'd think a team would've chanced it. I'm sure this has been asked before, but when I tried to use the search, nothing came up.

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07-31-2010, 12:43 AM
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Passchendaele
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His rights already belonged to the Edmonton Oilers who joined the NHL the following year.

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07-31-2010, 12:45 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Tricolore View Post
Did him going to the WHA make him ineligible to be drafted by an NHL team? You'd think a team would've chanced it. I'm sure this has been asked before, but when I tried to use the search, nothing came up.
Yes, it's because of the WHA.

From wikipedia: "In 1978, the World Hockey Association (WHA) league was in competition with the established NHL. The NHL did not allow the signing of players under the age of 20, but the WHA had no rules regarding such signings."

Because of the Gretzky signing among others, the NHL lowered the draft age to 18. But by then, the WHA was ready to fold and be absorbed into the NHL.

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07-31-2010, 12:47 AM
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Le Tricolore
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Ahh, thanks guys. Too bad the team with the #1 pick that year couldn't have obtained his NHL rights.

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07-31-2010, 04:27 AM
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reckoning
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The WHA teams were allowed to keep two skaters and two goalies when they entered the NHL. Everyone else went back to the NHL teams that held their rights. Gretzky was one of the players Edmonton opted to protect.

If they hadn't protected him, he would've gone in the draft that year because no NHL team held his rights, much like Messier who was the same age.

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07-31-2010, 09:45 AM
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shazariahl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Tricolore View Post
Ahh, thanks guys. Too bad the team with the #1 pick that year couldn't have obtained his NHL rights.
Well, as an Oilers fan, I can say "Thank God the #1 pick that year couldn't have obtained his NHL rights."

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