Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ken Wregget

Remember that old Life cereal commercial with Mikey?

Due to an uncanny resemblance, Mikey was Ken Wregget's nickname.

Ken Wregget was a goalie with three distinct NHL chapters in his story.

Wregget, who was born in the goaltending factory of Brandon, Manitoba and was a graduate of the Lethbridge Hurricanes junior program, broke into the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the mid 1980s. Those Leafs teams were particularly, ummm, well awful, really. But there were some high hopes mixed with inconsistency when Wregget and fellow young netminder Allan Bester arrived on the scene. On some nights they were spectacular, on other nights they were hung out to dry.

Perhaps Wregget's very first NHL game sums up his 6 years with the Leafs perfectly. In a game against Hartford in the 1983-84 season, Wregget made 48 saves to get the win! Spectacular right? Not bad at all, but he did let in 6 goals. Fortunately on this night Toronto was able to score 8, but more often than not the Leafs were not able to support either Wregget or Bester with enough goal support.

Bester eventually won the goalie battle in Toronto as Wregget was trade to Philadelphia for two first round picks that the Leafs used to select Rob Pearson and Steve Bancroft. Neither of those two prospects ever flourished, while Wregget provided steady netminding for the Flyers for much of the next three seasons.

Wregget was part of a blockbuster trade in February 1992, as he, Rick Tocchet and Kjell Samuelsson went to Pittsburgh in exchange for Mark Recchi, Brian Benning and a first round draft pick. Wregget would find his best success in Pittsburgh, backing up but often pushing starting goaltender Tom Barrasso. Wregget enjoyed his only Stanley Cup championship in 1992. By the lockout shortened season in 1995 he emerged as the top goalie, leading the league with 25 wins.

Barrasso would eventually wrestle his starter title back and by 1998 Wregget was on the way out of Pittsburgh. He briefly played in Calgary and Detroit, before hanging up the pads in 2001.

In 575 NHL contests Ken Wregget posted a record of 225-248-53 with 9 shutouts, a career 3.63 GAA and .885 save percentage. Great numbers? No, not even for his time period. But he had a reputation as a solid goalie, particularly in the back up role.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They may not be the greatest regular season numbers. However, when the game was on the line in playoffs, he was a money goalie when he played.

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