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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lost Rookies: 1985-86 OPC Ken Strong

  By 1982, after years of bickering, the Toronto Maple Leafs and all-star, and former captain, Darryl Sittler were at the end of their ropes.  In January of 1982, the Leafs dealt fan favourite Sittler to the Philadelphia Flyers for Rich Costello, a 2nd round pick, 25th overall - used to select Peter Ihnacak, and future considerations.  The future considerations turned out to be Ken Strong.
1985-86 OPC #268 Ken Strong (RC)

  In the end, the trade is considered a candidate for the worst Maple Leafs trade ever.  Although Sittler only netted another 205 career points in 252 games before retiring, the return for the fan favourite was lackluster.  Ihnacak had a promising rookie season with 66 points, but then quickly faded away.  Costello played 12 career NHL games.  Strong played 15 career games. 

1985-86 OPC #268 Ken Strong

  Strong would fall out of favour with Maple Leafs management, as the Leafs wanted Strong to add pugilistic elements to his game.  After a shoulder injury, Strong would not return to the NHL after the 84-85 season.  Strong went overseas in 1987-88 to play in Austria.  Strong eventually became a dual-citizen and played for Austria in the 1994 Olympics.