March 13, 1961 |
Big River, SK, CAN
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Weight||185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)|
|NHL Draft||18th overall, 1980
Barry Alan Pederson (born March 13, 1961) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey centre who played twelve seasons in the National Hockey League between 1980 and 1992. While he was for a time one of the top playmaking centres in the NHL, he may be best remembered as the player traded by Boston for Cam Neely. He won a Stanley Cup in 1991 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pederson was drafted in the first round (18th overall) by the Boston Bruins in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft after playing junior hockey with the Victoria Cougars. He would return for one more season in Victoria after being drafted, scoring 147 points in 55 games, and another five points in a nine-game stint in Boston.
He would break into the NHL in exceptional style in the 1981–82 season, setting Bruin rookie records for goals (44, which still stands) and points (92) and finishing runner-up to Dale Hawerchuk for the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. Included in his 92 points was a 7-point effort against the Hartford Whalers which also remains a Bruin rookie record. Pederson and star winger Rick Middleton had instant chemistry, and would be one of the league's most dangerous duos for several seasons.
In 1982–83, he emerged as a full-fledged star, finishing with 46 goals and 107 points. He led the Bruins in assists and points, and finished 5th in league scoring (the only player in the top 8 not to eventually make the Hockey Hall of Fame). In the playoffs, he would take his game to another level, as he and Middleton wreaked havoc combining for 65 points in just 17 games before losing out to New York Islanders in the conference finals. Pederson finished 3rd in playoff goals and points despite not reaching the finals.
Pederson would continue his exploits in 1983–84, posting 39 goals and 77 assists for 116 points. His assist and point totals again led the Bruins, and his point total placed him 6th in the NHL. His 77 assists were 3rd in the league behind only Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey. He would play in his second consecutive NHL All-Star Game, and was selected to represent Canada at the 1984 Canada Cup tournament that summer.
At this point Pederson, despite being only 23, was one of the brightest young players in the game, and his career was on par with players such as Denis Savard, Michel Goulet, Ron Francis and Hawerchuk, all of whom went on to the Hall of Fame. However, his career would take a turn in the summer of 1984 when he was diagnosed with a benign tumor in his shoulder. He would return for 22 games in the 1984–85 season, posting 12 points, before a second, more serious surgery had to be performed on the shoulder. This procedure required the removal of part of his shoulder muscle, and forced him to miss the remainder of the season.
Pederson returned to Boston's lineup for the 1985–86 season, but did not perform at the level he had prior to his injury. He finished the season with respectable totals of 29 goals and 76 points, good for 4th on the team but a 40-point drop from his last healthy year two seasons previous. At the conclusion of the season, Boston GM Harry Sinden, fearing that he would not return to form, allowed Vancouver Canucks to sign him as a free agent. Cam Neely was left unprotected and claimed by Boston (along with a first-round draft pick) .
For the 1986–87 season, he finished with 24 goals and a team-leading 52 assists for 76 points, and was named Canuck MVP by both the team's media and fans. In 1987–88, he would again lead the team in assists with 52, and added 19 goals for 71 points. He remains one of only four players in Canuck history (along with André Boudrias, Thomas Gradin and Henrik Sedin) to record consecutive 50-assist seasons.
In 1988–89, Pederson would slump to just 16 goals and 41 points while missing almost 20 games due to injury. Dogged by comparisons to Neely, the Canucks would deal him to the Pittsburgh Penguins 16 games into the 1989–90 season.
Pederson would continue to struggle in Pittsburgh, finishing the season with just 6 goals and 31 points in 54 games between the Canucks and Penguins. Now primarily a utility player, he would appear in just 46 games in 1990–91, but was a member of the Penguin team that won the Stanley Cup Championship that year.
Released by the Penguins that summer, he signed with the Hartford Whalers but was released after only five games. He would re-sign with the Bruins and finish out his career where he started. At the end of the 1991–92, he retired at the age of 31.
Trade for Cam Neely
In the summer of 1986, Barry Pederson was a valuable commodity. Still just 25, he was considered one of the best young centers in the game. He had already posted two 100-point seasons, and was only two years removed from finishing 3rd in the NHL in assists and 6th in points. To the offense-starved Vancouver Canucks, who were the 3rd-lowest scoring team in the league the previous year, he looked like a saviour and had the added attraction of being a 'local boy' - while originally from Saskatchewan, he'd played his junior hockey nearby in Nanaimo and Victoria from the age of 15 onward.
However, Boston management were convinced that, despite Pederson's age, his best years were behind him as a result of two surgeries during the 1984–85 season to remove a tumor from his shoulder. On June 6, 1986, the Canucks signed Pederson as a restricted free agent. Cam Neely was left unprotected by Vancouver and went to the Bruins along with a first-round draft pick in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft as compensation for Pederson. The 9th overall pick in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, Neely's development had stagnated and he finished the 1985–86 season with just 14 goals. However, Boston coveted his size and toughness, and considered him a potential heir apparent to Bruin warriors of the past such as Terry O'Reilly and Wayne Cashman.
Neely's game took off immediately, as he scored 36 goals in his first year in Boston. The next year he scored 42 and was named a 2nd team All-Star. By the 1989–90 season, he was the most feared power forward in the game, as respected for his natural scoring touch as well as his ferocious fighting ability. While Neely's career was cut horribly short by injury, he still registered three 50-goal seasons, is a legend in Boston, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005. At the same time, Pederson had a couple solid seasons in Vancouver, but his career went into a spiral afterward, becoming a marginal NHL player by the time Vancouver dealt him away. He registered less than 100 points past the age of 27, and was out of the game by 1992. To add insult to injury, Vancouver's poor season following the deal turned the draft pick into the #3 overall selection in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, with which the Bruins selected Glen Wesley who developed into an All-Star defender for the Bruins, and go on to a stellar 20-year career.
Pederson currently resides in Swampscott, Massachusetts.
In his post-playing career, he has worked with Barclays in Boston. In recent years, Pederson served as a studio analyst for Boston Bruins telecast coverage on NESN, often working with former Bruin teammates Rick Middleton and Cam Neely.
- Barry Pederson's biography at Legends of Hockey
- Barry Pederson's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Profile at hockeydraftcentral.com
|Boston Bruins first round draft pick