How the forgotten man was found:
Recently I was perusing NHL Reference and thought I'd go over to take a look at the 92-93 Los Angeles Kings roster . The Kings are one of my favorite teams in the game and I was curious to see how players like Luc Robitaille, Wayne Gretzky, Tomas Sandstrom and Kelly Hrudey performed. As I was scouring my way down the roster, I noticed a name that I recognized but couldn't quite put my finger on. As I thought about it a bit longer a new thought occurred, the fact that this player was not included in NHL '94 despite playing 49 regular season games. With this thought in my mind, I was determined to discover the player who played the most games in 92-93 without making NHL '94.
This is the story of John McIntyre.
John looks a little surprised to be remembered. Don't worry bud, I got your back.
Who is John McIntyre exactly?
McIntyre wen't in the 3rd round of the 1987 draft, 49th overall to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Playing as a center in the OHL for the Guelph Plates, it took a bit of time for McIntyre to get his game going as he scored a mere 30 points in 47 games during his draft year. As an over aged player in junior McIntyre scored 30 goals and 56 points and he earned a cup of coffee in the AHL with the Newmarket Saints. The following season McIntyre spent 6 games in the "A" before getting called up to the big show where he would be able to ditch bus rides for the majority of his career.
Once in the NHL, John was able to establish himself as a defensive minded 4th line center who loved to get in on the fore check, skate hard, and lay big hits while occasionally dropping the mitts. He would ply his trade in the NHL for 6 with years with 4 different teams (Toronto, LA, Rangers, Vancouver) with 91-92 being his career year (5G-19A-24P-115PIM). 1995-96 would be his last year in pro hockey as McIntyre finally had to gut it out in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch for 53 games before calling it quits. After all was said and done, McIntyre played 351 games, potting 24 goals and obtaining 54 assists for 78 points and 516 penalty minutes.
Why wasn't McIntyre on the Kings NHL '94 roster?
McIntyre played 49 games, which placed him 15th on the Kings roster for most games played during the 92-93 season. That is more games than Dave Taylor, Corey Millen, Tim Watters and even Wayne Gretzky! Problem was, McIntyre was traded before the end of the season on March 22, 1993 to the New York Ranger for Mark Hardy and a 5th rounder. Hardy himself played 55 total games that season and made the Kings '94 roster as the 6th highest rated defenseman.
With NHL '94 being released after the 92-93 season, it simply would have been no longer accurate to include McIntyre as a member of the Kings.
Why wasn't McIntyre on the Rangers '94 roster?
This is where things get a bit more involved as McIntyre made it into 11 games with the Rangers before season end, this left him at 31st for most games played as a Ranger during 92-93. On the whole, McIntyre played 60 games, this is more than fellow Ranger forwards such as Phil Bourque (55 games), Jan Erixon (45 games), and Steven King (24 games). All three of the listed players made the '94 cut, seemingly at the expense of McIntyre.
Looking further down the list, one will come across the name Mike Hartman, he played a mere 3 games with the Rangers but he as well made the '94 cut. Digging a bit deeper on Hartman, the answer to his inclusion becomes a little less murky as he played 58 games with Tampa before being traded to New York on the same day that McIntyre was acquired. This leaves Hartman with a 61 to 60 games played edge over McIntyre, that appears to be the reason for the choice of Hartman over McIntyre.
Could this have been avoided?
Forgetting McIntyre could have certainly been avoided, but at what cost? In regards to Bourque and Erixon, I would be inclined to include them as part of the Rangers '94 roster as they were a part of the team the entire year.
The amount of defenders could have been reduced by one to allow for an extra forward, but all 8 Ranger players included did play a fairly vital role with Lowe coming in as a mid-season acquisition and Leetch missing a large chunk of the season with injuries.
This leaves us with Steven King who scored 12 points in 24 games as a rookie. King, was signed out of college and turned into a decent prospect that was producing in the "A" but he was left unprotected during the 1993 Expansion Draft. King, ended up being selected by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim thus leaving him unavailable for the Rangers during the upcoming 93-94 season while McIntyre remained property of the Rangers.
This is where things get even hazier, the release date of NHL '94 is still a bit of a mystery with release being estimated around September-October of 1993. It is difficult to say when exactly rosters were finalized but McIntyre was claimed by the Vancouver Canucks on October 3, 1993 during the waiver draft. It is possible that rosters were finalized after the draft, thus making McIntyre even more of a mystery man as he was on his 3rd team in 7 months.
Despite his vagabond ways and King's emergence with the Rangers, it would appear that there was a clear remedy to the problem. King, in addition to making the Rangers '94 roster also made the Ducks '94 expansion roster. For some reason the '94 powers that be felt it would be deserving to include King twice as opposed to McIntyre once despite McIntyre playing over twice as many games as King during the 92-93 season!
Is anyone else forgotten on McIntyre's level?
No and it's not even close. The next two players with the most games played to not be included were Vladimir Vujtek and Hubie McDonough with 30 GP each. Vujtek floated around the world for nearly 20 years eventually accumulating 110 NHL games. McDonough on the other hand put together a career with 195 NHL games but none of them came after 92-93.
Several players with lesser careers and far fewer games played in 92-93 were included in '94 but that is possibly another story for another day.
For now, let us recognize the most forgotten man of NHL '94, John McIntyre. You will be forgotten no longer.