Pat Elynuik is a bit of a legend back in Saskatchewan. The Foam Lake native played three seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders, helping them win one Memorial Cup. He was a two time WHL All Star who scored back to back 50 goal and 100 point seasons. He was also a top scorer for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships, although that Team Canada is more famous for being banished from the tournament for brawling with the Russians.
Elynuik’s fine junior career caught the eyes of the NHL scouts, who projected him as a 35-40 goal guy at the NHL level. The Winnipeg Jets were quick to grab him with the 8th overall selection in the 1986 entry draft.
He started his career in the minor leagues, but finished the year with 13 games in the NHL. His first full NHL season was an injury plagued 1988-89 season. A shoulder injury didn’t slow him though, as he scored and impressive 26 goals and 51 points as a rookie in 56 games.
Elynuik, who complemented slick center Thomas Steen very nicely, took his game to the next level the following two years, reaching the 30 goal plateau both times. However he was unable to duplicate in 1991-92.
The Jets were looking to beef up in the summer of 92, and traded Elynuik to Washington in exchange for playoff hero and rugged right winger John Druce. One of the main criticisms of Elynuik’s game was that he had no physical element to his game. He shied away from the front of the net and was not much of a banger. He was a good skater who knew how to get himself open for a shot, usually either at the top or bottom of the right faceoff circle. Despite his lack of grit, Elynuik was a decent defensive player.
Elynuik had an quiet year in Washington, scoring 22 goals but not meeting expectations. Early in the 1993-94 season he was traded to Tampa Bay for the always popular future considerations, but was released at seasons end. He signed with Ottawa for the next two seasons but played little and scored less.
In 1996-97 many were surprised that the Dallas Stars offered him a chance. He signed with them but spent the entire year, his last in the pros, in the minor leagues.
Elynuik was a nice player in Winnipeg, especially when teamed with the highly underrated Thomas Steen. He scored 154 goals and 342 points in 506 career NHL games.
By The Way – For whatever reason, Pat Elynuik may be a bigger hockey legend in the cyber world than on the actual ice. He was a surprising star player in the NHLPA 93 video game way back in the day!
See the original post at Greatest Hockey Legends: Pat Elynuik
Category: Jets Biographies