Caps Branches: Al Iafrate for Joe Juneau

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Posted July 6, 2017

via nhl.com

If there is one moment Capitals fans remember from the 1998 playoffs, it is overtime of Game 6 against Buffalo when Joe Juneau scored to send Washington to their first — and, so far, only — Stanley Cup Finals.

That moment is not possible without David Poile convincing his Boston counterpart Harry Sinden to give up on a former fourth-round pick who had just scored 102 points the previous season. In return came a 12-game rental in Al Iafrate, who did enough to help the Bruins make the playoffs and go two rounds.

BACKGROUND

Juneau turned pro after earning a silver with Team Canada at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France. Juneau led all players with 15 points in the eight-game tournament as the Unified Team, made up of players from the recently-dissolved Soviet Union, won gold.

He carried over his performance from the Olympics into his first professional season with the Bruins, scoring 19 points in the final 14 regular season games. The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute graduate followed that up with 12 points in 15 playoff games, second on the team.

Boston lost to eventual-champions Pittsburgh in the conference finals.

As for Iafrate, he hit over 50 points in his first two full seasons with Washington after being traded from Toronto for Bob Rouse, part of the Dino Ciccarelli trade, and Peter Zezel.

Washington made the playoffs with Iafrate three times, getting knocked out by Pittsburgh twice and the New York Islanders once.

THE TRADE

Poile sent Iafrate to Boston for Juneau straight up — no draft picks, no prospects — as part of a busy Trade Deadline in March of 1994.

Alan May and a seventh round pick went to Dallas for defenseman Jim Johnson, and Joe Reekie came to Washington for Enrico Ciccone and two draft picks. Washington made the playoffs, where they finally defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

Juneau finished in the top-five in team scoring for the next five seasons. Iafrate missed the two seasons after the playoff run in Boston, making a comeback with the San Jose Sharks in 1996. In the ’98 playoffs, the Sharks lost to the Chicago Blackhwaks in six games. Iafrate got hit through the glass by Jean Yves-Leroux during one of the games at United Center.

Iafrate retired following the 1998 season, even though the Nashville Predators selected him in the expansion draft.

AFTERMATH

Technically, Boston still held Iafrate’s rights in 1996. Boston traded him to San Jose for right wing Jeff Odgers and a fifth-round pick in 1996. Boston selected Elias Abrahamsson.

Odgers had an 821-game career, amounting 145 points and 2,364 penalty minutes. Abrahamsson never made it to the NHL, playing 228 AHL games in Providence and Hamilton, than playing 19 games with the ECHL’s Columbus Cottonmouths. He finished his career in Sweden with Hammaraby IF.

Juneau, following his heroics in overtime against Buffalo, fell out of favor in Washington. Despite being third on the team in scoring, Washington traded Juneau to Buffalo for a third-round pick (Tim Preston) and Alexei Tezikov.

Preston played one professional season with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, then retired at the age of 21.

Tezikov made his NHL debut with Washington, scoring no points in five consecutive losses to end the 1999 season. Tezikov scored his first and only NHL goal on the second game of the 1999-2000 season against Dominik Hasek, a 3-2 Capitals win.

In 2001, the Capitals traded him and a fourth-round pick in 2001 to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for Jason Marshall.

Tezikov retired from the NHL after 30 games in four seasons in 2002. He played with seven different teams in Russia before calling it quits in 2011.

Marshall played five games in Washington after the March trade. He went on to sign with Minnesota in the off-season.

The Ducks drafted defender Brandon Rogers out of the University of Michigan with the pick from Washington, but he never made it to the NHL.

TREE STATUS

DEAD. All player branches of this tree are inactive.

Caps Branches: Dennis Maruk

Max Wolpoff

Max Wolpoff

Churchill High School graduate (2015) and current Boston University journalism student. Follow me on Twitter (@Max_Wolpoff) for game-day tweets or my random musings about being a college student.
Max Wolpoff

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