This is the year of the children's crusade in the National Hockey League. The kids have been looking for money and jobs—and have gotten both in record amounts and numbers. That figures, because never before has there been such a bountiful harvest of rookies from the apprentice pits of amateur hockey. Some of the very best are pictured on the following pages, on which their starting yearly salaries are boldly indicated. Even the most jaded follower of sports economics in this spendthrift era must slightly blanch at sums of $100,000 and up for a raft of boys just out of their teens. One who began paying his way promptly was Lanny McDonald (upper right), who scored the winning goal for Toronto in its first meeting with champion Montreal. All in all, NHL coaches like this year's prodigies so much they have found berths for 62—an astounding 20% of all the jobs available. Turn to page 53 for a closer look at the one judged to be best of all.
Tall and lean, Atlanta Center Tom Lysiak stirs memories of the illustrious Jean Beliveau in Coach Boom Boom Geoffrion. "The kid skates like the classic center—head up, stick way out front and eyes on his wings."
Toronto's Lanny McDonald played right wing with Lysiak in Medicine Hat, Alberta. After signing with the Maple Leafs he bought an air-conditioned tractor for his family's farm and a dune buggy for himself.
Hard-punching Defenseman Ian Turnbull of the Maple Leafs first was assigned jersey No. 33 in training camp—a ticket to the minors—but won No. 2 by impressing Coach Red Kelly with his poise and toughness.
In dire need of strong two-way forwards with speed, Vancouver made mustachioed Right Wing Dennis Ververgaert the No. 3 selection in the draft. He scored 58 goals as a junior, and may well hit 30 as an NHL rookie.
At 6'5" and 220 pounds, Vancouver's Bob Dailey will be the NHL's biggest defenseman. He can dunk a basketball with either hand, but more important, he will halt the terror tactics being used against the Canucks.
A rare Boston helmet-wearer, Center Andre Savard, joins an expanding roster of French Canadians in Bruintown. His helmet, baby face and curly hair belie an aggressiveness that will serve him well on a tough team.
"I am nervous;" says Denis Potvin, "but nobody's a superman in the NHL. I must have something or I wouldn't be here." The pick of the year's lavish draft crop plays alongside an older brother, Jean, for the Islanders.