Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joe Reekie

Always underrated in my books, Joe Reekie was one of the best kept secrets in the National Hockey League.

Originally Drafted 128th overall in the 1983 Entry Draft by Hartford, Reekie re-entered the Draft in 1985 and was taken 119th overall by Buffalo. The big, aggressive Reekie would appear in 104 games over 4 years with the Sabres. He was already developing a reputation for an uncanny sense of perfect defensive position that was usually reserved for veterans. However a serious knee injury really slowed his progress, as it cost him most of the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons.

The Sabres traded Reekie to the New York Islanders prior to the 1989-90 season where he would play 3 seasons mostly in the National Hockey League. In that time he quietly impressed as a penalty kill regular. His combined +45 rating over three years convinced the Tampa Bay Lightning to select him in the 1993 expansion draft.

Reekie would spend almost two seasons in the Florida sunshine before finding a home in Washington. From 1994 to 2002 Reekie served as a top four defender. He was often used against the other team's top players because of his strength and seemingly flawless defensive positioning. He was smart and tough, although that brought inevitable injuries that slowed him. Regardless, he always played with a subtle savvy that I always admired, as well as with a tough and physical, yet clean, presence.

The highlight of Reekie's career came in 1998 when he was a big part of the Capitals march into the Stanley Cup finals. Unfortunately the Detroit Red Wings handled the Capitals to deny Reekie a Stanley Cup championship

Reekie was traded on January 17th, 2002 to Chicago for Petr Dvorak, and would finish his 17 year career following the 2001-02 season.

When all was said and done Joe Reekie had participated in 902 NHL matches, scoring 25 goals and 139 assists for 164 career points. He added 3 more goals and 7 more points in 54 Stanley Cup contests. Impressive numbers? No. But every coach in the league wish they had a dependable defender like Joe Reekie on their blue line.

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