Ex-Red Wings Nedomansky, Rutherford inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame

Jim Rutherford of the Pittsburgh Penguins attends the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

DETROIT – Two players from the "Dead Wings" era have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and it's not for what they did while playing for the Red Wings. 

Vaclav Nedomansky

Forward Vaclav Nedomansky was inducted in the players category largely due to the fact that he was first to defect from his Eastern European home to play professionally in North America. He went on to have a modest NHL career with the Red Wings (1977-1982), then spent a year each with the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers before finishing his career in 1983.

Nedomansky also spent four years in the WHA before he moved over the NHL. He was already in his 30s when he joined the Red Wings in 1977. He had back-to-back 30-goal seasons in 1978-79 and 1979-80. He was considered a bright spot on an otherwise dull Red Wings team. Overall he scored 278 points in 421 NHL games played, but not before scoring 253 points in 252 WHA games played.

He is considered a pioneer for other players who followed in his footsteps from Russia and other Eastern European countries.

Jim Rutherford

Jim Rutherford was inducted to the hall in the builders category. The former goalie played for the Red Wings between 1973 and 1981. Overall, he played 457 career NHL games with a 151-227 record and .869 career save percentage.

It's Rutherford's work after his playing career that got him inducted. He got his start as president and general manager of the Hartford Whalers back in 1994, and soon became famous for pulling the trigger on the Chris Pronger-Brendan Shanahan trade deal. Rutherford then won the Stanley Cup as Carolina Hurricanes GM in 2006, then celebrated two more Cups as GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pronger-Shanahan trade was a sign of things to come for Rutherford as he became known for bold trades and acquisitions. The approach has worked out well for him, too.

Rutherford told SportsNet radio this week that he credits his start in NHL management to former Detroit businessman Peter Karmanos, who helped him start his coaching and management career in the junior leagues then talked Rutherford into purchasing the Whalers franchise with him.

Other 2019 inductees

Guy Carboneau, Sergei Zubov and women's star Hayley Wickenheiser were the other three players category inductees. Jerry York, who is the winningest active coach in NCAA hockey history at Boston College, was inducted as a builder.

About the Author: