Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Mike Pelyk
To watch Mike Pelyk skate as a junior for the Toronto Marlies in 1967 was to assume that he would be a prize on any NHL blueline. He moved with ease from point A to anywhere on a set of wheels worthy of a Corvette. And when he got where he wanted to be, he could dish out tough defense and chip in with timely offense.

His transition to the majors with the Toronto Maple Leafs was less auspicious, however. His flashes of brilliance were usually followed by defensive lapses that could only be cured through the acquisition of maturity and experience. Pelyk spent six-and-a-half seasons pursuing those qualities while delighting and frustrating Leaf fans and management along the way. His skating style was not unlike that of Frank Mahovlich. He could cover so much ice with so few strides that from the stands he appeared to be a floater with insufficient perspiration on his face. As such, he often became the object of the Garden's boo birds.

But as the Leafs turned the corner into the 1970s, Pelyk's maturing process appeared a little more like a feast than a famine. By 1973-74, he was finally looking like a blueliner worthy of acclaim. But no sooner than kids were no longer embarrassed to assume his name in a road-hockey game, the real Pelyk jumped to the WHA.

He played one season with the Blazers in Vancouver and a second with the Cincinnati Stingers. In the latter setting, he performed as the club's captain but failed to satisfy the expectations of the team's brass. As a result, they sold his rights back to the Leafs in exchange for being relieved of responsibility for his lucrative contract.

Pelyk's return to the Gardens was less than auspicious. He was unable to recapture his earlier form. As a result, he spent most of his final two seasons of pro hockey in the CHL where he skated for the Dallas Blackhawks and the Tulsa Oilers. He then signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Sabres in 1978, but elected to retire during training camp.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1963-64 Toronto Midget Marlboros THL
1964-65 York Steel OHA-B 25 2 21 23
1965-66 Toronto Westclairs ON-Jr.B
1965-66 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 17 0 3 3 20
1966-67 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 48 2 18 20 146 17 3 10 13 35
1966-67 Toronto Marlboros M-Cup 9 0 4 4 37
1967-68 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 24 0 3 3 55 +3
1967-68 Tulsa Oilers CPHL 47 0 16 16 131
1968-69 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 65 3 9 12 146 -2 4 0 0 0 8
1969-70 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 36 1 3 4 37 -10
1970-71 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 73 5 21 26 54 +17 6 0 0 0 10
1971-72 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 46 1 4 5 44 -2 5 0 0 0 8
1972-73 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 72 3 16 19 118 -20
1973-74 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 71 12 19 31 94 +5 4 0 0 0 4
1974-75 Vancouver Blazers WHA 75 14 26 40 121
1975-76 Cincinnati Stingers WHA 75 10 23 33 117
1976-77 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 13 0 2 2 4 -4 9 0 2 2 4
1976-77 Dallas Black Hawks CHL 62 9 26 35 73
1977-78 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 41 1 11 12 14 +1 12 0 1 1 7
1977-78 Tulsa Oilers CHL 32 2 12 14 35
NHL Totals 441 26 88 114 566 40 0 3 3 41


Selected by Minnesota (WHA) in 1972 WHA General Player Draft, February 12, 1972. WHA rights traded to Cincinnati (WHA) by Minnesota (WHA) for future considerations, June, 1974. Loaned to Vancouver (WHA) by Cincinnati (WHA) for 1974-75 season, June, 1974. Rights traded to Toronto by Cincinnati (WHA) with the rights to Randy Carlyle for cash, June, 1976.
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