Dennis Ververgaert

When the Vancouver Canucks drafted Dennis Ververgaert 3rd overall in the 1973 Entry Draft, much excitement was raised. The London Knights (OHA) right winger was supposed to be a combination of goal scorer and tough guy. He was feared in the junior leagues because of his shot (he had 58 goals in 63 games in his final year of junior) and his rugged play. In addition, he was drafted after the two most talked about juniors - Denis Potvin and Tom Lysiak - and ahead of future Hall of Famers Lanny McDonald and Bob Gainey.

When the Canucks introduced Ververgaert to the local media at a press confidence, Canucks president Coley Hall, a fitness buff, suggested Ververgaert take off his shirt. The two men would show off their physique for the photographers. However Hall made an ass out of himself, as he sucked in his gut, causing his pants to drop to his knees. That was the picture the Vancouver papers used!

Ververgaert's career in Vancouver was disappointing. Although to be fair, it was near impossible for him to achieve the high expectations placed on him. He came in, and put up some decent numbers, though it was never enough for the Canucks or the fans. He was a constant 20 goal man in his 5 full years in Vancouver.

One year, 1975-76, he came close to realizing his potential as he scored 37 times and had 71 points. 11 of his goals were on the power play. However the following year Ververgaert, like his lacklustre Canucks, took a step or two backwards towards mediocrity.

While Ververgaert wasn't achieving expectations on the scoreboard, he was definitely underachieving in the physical game as well. Perhaps the expectations that he'd be a John Ferguson type power forward were unreasonable to begin with. Ververgaert seemed to tame down some in the NHL, and averaged less than 1 PIM per game.

Aside from a couple of legendary battles with the Philadelphia Flyers feared goons Dave Schultz and Bob Kelly, most of Ververgaert's fighting seemed to be coming off of the ice. At least on two occasions he was involved in off ice scandals.

The Canucks traded Ververgaert to Philly in 1978-79 in exchange for minor leaguer Drew Callander and defenseman Kevin McCarty. It was a good trade for Vancouver as McCarthy became one of best defensemen in team history, and was named captain shortly after. Ververgaert had two unnoticeable seasons in the Philadelphia before signing as a free agent with Washington for the 1980-81 season. That proved to be his final year in pro hockey.

In the end Dennis played in 583 NHL games. He scored 176 goals and 216 assists for 392 points. 22 of his goals were game winners, while 42 came on the power play.


Anonymous,  2:25 PM  


  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP