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Defenseman AND Forward

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Old
01-18-2013, 10:30 AM
  #1
Benchguy
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Defenseman AND Forward

Hello everyone

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 ?

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01-18-2013, 11:06 AM
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For individual games, or for entire seasons?

FWIW Scott Walker fits the bill. Started his career in Vancouver as a defenseman, moved to forward where he stayed the rest of his career when he played for Nashville.

a bit before then but IIRC Dave Christian played defense for the US Olympic team under Brooks in 1980... and then spent his entire NHL career as a forward.

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01-18-2013, 11:21 AM
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DoubleDose86
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Wade Belak played both forward and defense for the Leafs

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01-18-2013, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benchguy View Post
Hello everyone

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)
Steve Staios
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)
Eric Messier
Paul Laus
Mike Peluso
Wade Belak
Christoph Schubert
Chris McAllister
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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01-18-2013, 11:46 AM
  #5
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Nathan Dempsey played forward in his original NHL stint in the mid-90s and was a defenseman almost exclusively afterwards.

Yannick Weber and Mark Streit have played both. So did Christoph Schubert.

Mathieu Dandenault is also of note.

Jason Strudwick played some F with the Oilers over the past few seasons, too.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head right now, though.

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01-18-2013, 11:52 AM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
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)
Steve Staios
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)
Eric Messier
Paul Laus
Mike Peluso
Wade Belak
Christoph Schubert
Chris McAllister
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)
Burns was a RW in junior but was switched to D after being drafted by Minnesota. Never played F in the NHL.

Baumgartner was a D with the Isles and Kings, but switched to LW when traded to the Leafs and never played D again.

Moran, Clymer and Poeschek definitely all played F and D. I seem to recall that Twist was a D in STL early in his career, but he might have just been one in junior. I'm not sure about Ivanans, Thornton or Bourque.

In all honesty, though, I don't remember Jamie Heward ever playing forward.

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01-18-2013, 12:03 PM
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seventieslord
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafsdude7 View Post
ETA: ^^^^ I hate you.

Nathan Dempsey played forward in his original NHL stint in the mid-90s and was a defenseman almost exclusively afterwards.

Yannick Weber and Mark Streit have played both. So did Christoph Schubert.

Mathieu Dandenault is also of note.

Jason Strudwick played some F with the Oilers over the past few seasons, too.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head right now, though.
me???

good call on Dempsey, Weber and Strudwick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafsdude7 View Post
Burns was a RW in junior but was switched to D after being drafted by Minnesota. Never played F in the NHL.

Baumgartner was a D with the Isles and Kings, but switched to LW when traded to the Leafs and never played D again.

Moran, Clymer and Poeschek definitely all played F and D. I seem to recall that Twist was a D in STL early in his career, but he might have just been one in junior. I'm not sure about Ivanans, Thornton or Bourque.

In all honesty, though, I don't remember Jamie Heward ever playing forward.
Looks like Burns doesn't really count then.

Heward I didn't remember either, but I saw that on hockey-reference and he fit the profile - an offensively oriented defenseman who was barely NHL-caliber defensively. He was only a D-man in Toronto and St. John's (and with the Pats), but was a forward in midget. True story, my dad converted him to defenseman... Mr. Heward was furious at first.

Actually... wow... I just checked, and it was just 2006-07 when Heward apparently was a winger, for Toronto. Not 100% sure, but I thought he was exclusively a defenseman. I remember his 1st NHL goal very well, November 2nd, 2006, in a rare win against the Wings on Saturday night. So this might be wrong.

On the other hand... if you add up all the GP by the other players called "D" on Toronto in 1996-97, it adds up to 486, or 5.93 per game. If you include Heward's 16 games, it's 6.12. So the likely answer is, he did play "some" forward that season, perhaps about 10 games, and 6 on D, which would take them to the "perfect" number of 492. In any case, that wouldn't make him a good answer for this thread... there are much better ones.

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01-18-2013, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Actually... wow... I just checked, and it was just 2006-07 when Heward apparently was a winger, for Toronto. Not 100% sure, but I thought he was exclusively a defenseman. I remember his 1st NHL goal very well, November 2nd, 2006, in a rare win against the Wings on Saturday night. So this might be wrong.
Wait, what?

I'm going to guess the bolded are typos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
On the other hand... if you add up all the GP by the other players called "D" on Toronto in 1996-97, it adds up to 486, or 5.93 per game. If you include Heward's 16 games, it's 6.12. So the likely answer is, he did play "some" forward that season, perhaps about 10 games, and 6 on D, which would take them to the "perfect" number of 492. In any case, that wouldn't make him a good answer for this thread... there are much better ones.
They also might have dressed 7 defensemen for a few games.

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01-18-2013, 12:20 PM
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seventieslord
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Originally Posted by Leafsdude7 View Post
Wait, what?

I'm going to guess the bolded are typos.
No, I don't think so. Why are you thinking they are?

Although I did say he had 16 GP when he actually had 20.

edit: whoops! yeah. I mean 1996-97, obviously.

Quote:
They also might have dressed 7 defensemen for a few games.
It's possible, but it's also quite probable that if they did, one of them played some forward and I bet that was Heward. Still, bad example.

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01-18-2013, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
It's possible, but it's also quite probable that if they did, one of them played some forward and I bet that was Heward. Still, bad example.
Fair enough. I'm still pretty sure back then that they dressed 7 defensemen and only used them as defensemen while they double-shifted someone (Sundin?) on the 4th line. I don't think any of their D played on F units.

Makes me wonder, however, if they might have been listed as F on the lineup card for those games, hence explaining why these websites are showing some of these players that no one seems to remember as D/F are listed as such.

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01-18-2013, 12:55 PM
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Hawkey Town 18
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I believe Phil Housley played a lot of forward in the 92'-93' season, which sadly, barely qualifies as the last two decades.

Not 100% on this, can someone confirm for me?

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01-18-2013, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
I believe Phil Housley played a lot of forward in the 92'-93' season, which sadly, barely qualifies as the last two decades.

Not 100% on this, can someone confirm for me?
I think Housley played forward at times during his early days in Buffalo from what I remember. Let's not forget Sergei Fedorov.

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01-18-2013, 02:02 PM
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seventieslord
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
I believe Phil Housley played a lot of forward in the 92'-93' season, which sadly, barely qualifies as the last two decades.

Not 100% on this, can someone confirm for me?
Not 1992-93, but for a full season and parts of a couple others in the 1980s in Buffalo.

Which reminds me - Ron Greschner. The year he had all those goals, he played mostly center. That season would be a rangers D-man goals record, but the record book doesn't list it as such.

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01-18-2013, 02:04 PM
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Wade Brookbank, Zenith Komarniski

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01-18-2013, 02:18 PM
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WOw ! thank you very much everybody

Impressive job

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01-18-2013, 03:00 PM
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Chris Phillips played wing on the 4th line for part of his first two NHL seasons.


Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Not 1992-93, but for a full season and parts of a couple others in the 1980s in Buffalo.

Which reminds me - Ron Greschner. The year he had all those goals, he played mostly center. That season would be a rangers D-man goals record, but the record book doesn't list it as such.
Yeah, he spent some time at C in the late 70s, and was a full time C in 84-85 and 85-86.

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01-18-2013, 04:17 PM
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Marc André Bergeron played some games as a forward, but it's arguable whether he actually played games at defense; thus, I'm not sure he completely fits the bill.

Amongst the one-games-wonder, I remember Niklas Sundstrom dressing as a D with the Habs, when they only had 3 regulars available (and possibly a backup as well).


Last edited by MXD: 01-18-2013 at 04:19 PM. Reason: Niklas Lidstrom playing D? Wow... I didn't know that one.
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01-18-2013, 04:45 PM
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seventieslord
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Marc André Bergeron played some games as a forward, but it's arguable whether he actually played games at defense; thus, I'm not sure he completely fits the bill..
Is this a joke? Because it's funny!

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01-18-2013, 04:53 PM
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calling it "playing" is a gross exaggeration of the term, but David Koci was put on both F and D during his time in Colorado

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01-18-2013, 06:58 PM
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Derek Meech spent some time on the wing his last year in Detroit.

Also, re: Mark Howe, he was primarily a defenseman his entire NHL career, despite what HR says for the 80-81. He did play some shifts at wing, but he spent most of his time on defense. After all, he tied for 10th in Norris voting with Borje Salming.

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01-18-2013, 07:20 PM
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January 1965, the SC Champion Leafs were playing sub 500 hockey with a rash of injuries decimating the forward ranks. Imlach moved Horton up to Right Wing, where in 9 games he scored 7 (totaled 12 over the 64/65 season) goals (including short handed & 2 two goal outings) and 2 assists.... sure does make you wonder what he might have been capable of had he been converted way, WAY earlier, as out of Junior & the minors he was a rushing defenceman in the mold of Orr when Orr was knee high to a grasshopper. A serious injury & slow recovery however inhibited his skating abilities somewhat but still, an All Star Defenceman throughout his career. But as the ultimate Power Forward, he could well have been in Hull's range of Superstar Status Im sure.

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01-18-2013, 07:35 PM
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Mike Farkas
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I'll just confirm that Ian Moran did play forward sometimes, more so early than late. He was also designated our emergency third goalie if memory serves...I'll have to remember that for the ATD...what's he like a 6th round pick there? early 7th?

Joel "The Answer" Kwiatkowski I think played both...
Carol Vadnais did (leaving Scott Stevens as the only 20+20/200 d-man season ever)
Phil Bourque

I thought I read one source that suggested Bryan Watson sometimes (rarely) used to play right wing, but then I could never find it again...did I just make that up? Probably...

I think one or both of those Brookbanks have been used at forward somewhat, but they aren't important enough to matter...I think fringe NHLers Marc-Andre Gragnani and Oskars Bartulis - both d-men by trade, but forwards in their roots...

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01-18-2013, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
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January 1965, the SC Champion Leafs were playing sub 500 hockey with a rash of injuries decimating the forward ranks. Imlach moved Horton up to Right Wing, where in 9 games he scored 7 (totaled 12 over the 64/65 season) goals (including short handed & 2 two goal outings) and 2 assists.... sure does make you wonder what he might have been capable of had he been converted way, WAY earlier, as out of Junior & the minors he was a rushing defenceman in the mold of Orr when Orr was knee high to a grasshopper. A serious injury & slow recovery however inhibited his skating abilities somewhat but still, an All Star Defenceman throughout his career. But as the ultimate Power Forward, he could well have been in Hull's range of Superstar Status Im sure.
I can't see Horton being an offensive superstar unless he found a solution to his terrible eyesight.

As a winger he must have been a real "tunnel vision" type. Pass him the puck and he's driving to the net and shooting - you aren't getting it back.

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01-18-2013, 10:21 PM
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I can't see Horton being an offensive superstar unless he found a solution to his terrible eyesight. As a winger he must have been a real "tunnel vision" type. Pass him the puck and he's driving to the net and shooting - you aren't getting it back.
Clark Kent with Coke Bottle glasses, ya, kinda takes the lustre off the possibility of him being a sniper in the pure sense. HOWEVER, in deep & up close & personal, no way would you be budging him from the front of the net with much ease. As such, he'd be bound to score a fair amount just on the sheer volume of shots, deflections & rebounds that would come his way. How else to explain 7G's in 9G's? Blind luck?

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01-18-2013, 10:34 PM
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Clark Kent with Coke Bottle glasses, ya, kinda takes the lustre off the possibility of him being a sniper in the pure sense. HOWEVER, in deep & up close & personal, no way would you be budging him from the front of the net with much ease. As such, he'd be bound to score a fair amount just on the sheer volume of shots, deflections & rebounds that would come his way. How else to explain 7G's in 9G's? Blind luck?
7 goals in 9 games is impressive and a testament to Horton's abilities, but no guarantee of a Bobby Hull talent. I believe Paul Henderson once scored 7 goals in 8 games.

Horton was certainly an interesting player and character though. Freakishly strong by all accounts, like you say. I read one anecdote where he came in to the hotel late at night and moved the Coke machines into all the elevators for a joke. The hotel had to bring in a bunch of men and equipment the next day to move them back.

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