Friday, February 8, 2013

Kevin Todd

Despite a strong junior career with Prince Albert, Kevin Todd was never a sure-thing prospect. He was not a great skater. He was small and wiry.

"I was 18, and was injured during my draft year in Prince Albert. Because of being hurt, I dropped down several rounds," Todd said.

The New Jersey Devils picked him 129th overall in 1986. They let him play out his junior eligibility and then apprenticed in the minor leagues for a couple of years.

In Utica of the AHL Todd proved to be an very solid player. Then in 1990-91 he exploded into an AHL superstar, scoring 37 goals, 81 assists and 118 points in 75 games. He would win the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the AHL's leading scorer as well as Les Cunningham Award as the league's MVP.

After three years pro and just 2 games called up to the Devils, there was no denying Todd his shot at the NHL in 1991-92. He made the most of his chance, playing in 80 games with the Devils and staying in the National Hockey League for most of the remainder of the decade.

The Devils gave Todd a full opportunity to replicate his AHL dominance in his rookie season and Todd came through. 21 goals, 42 assists and 63 points, plus another 3 goals and 5 points in 7 playoff games. He broke Kirk Muller's team record for most points by a rookie.

Unfortunately the story reached it's climax that season. The following year he stumbled out of the gate, scoring just 5 goals and 10 points in 30 games before being traded to Edmonton with Zdeno Ciger for Bernie Nicholls.

Todd finished the year in Edmonton, then moved to Chicago before reinventing himself in Los Angeles. He became a good defensive forward known for his face-off ability. He worked hard along the boards, using his wide stance to maintain his balance to offset his lack of size in these battles. He played admirably in a third line role with the Kings and has been on record saying that that season was his favorite of his career.

Todd finished his career with two seasons down the street in Anaheim. All told, this one time NHL long shot played in 383 NHL games. He scored 70 goals, 133 assists and 203 points. 

Todd extended his career in Switzerland but retired after suffering a neck injury in his first season overseas. 

Todd travelled the world thanks to hockey - from Chicago to Hollywood, from Disneyland to Europe. So where did he set up shop once he hung up his blades? Back in Utica where he may have enjoyed his best hockey days. He opened a successful sports store which he later sold. At last report he opened a laser hair restoration service in the area.

Who does Todd credit for making him into a NHL player - former Utica coach Tommy McVie.

" Tom pushed defense, and I learned about conditioning and personal accountability - which was non-negotiable. Tom taught us the basics of hockey, and was the biggest influence in me making it to the NHL", Todd tells. " I had no clue on how to play defense in my own end, until I came to Utica. I went from a scorer in the minors to a checker in the NHL. He taught me 95% of what I know about hockey".

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