Top five NHL players born on Leap Day


February 29 is rather special to me. On a personal note, it is my mom’s birthday, and it only happens once every four years. Here are the five best NHL players all-time born on February 29, also known as Leap Day.

5) Kari Eloranta

The native of Lahti, Finland is 68 years old today. A defenseman, Lahti played five NHL seasons with the Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues from 1981 to 1987. In 267 games, he had 13 goals and 103 assists for 116 points. Eloranta was a +23 with 155 penalty minutes, 37 power-play points, 217 shots on goal, two shorthanded points, and one game-winning goal. The game-winning goal came on March 18, 1982 in a 7-4 Blues win over the Detroit Red Wings. Eloranta scored from Wayne Babach of Edmonton, Alberta and hall of famer Guy Lapointe at the 41 second mark of the third period, and put the Blues up 5-3 at the time.

4) Dan Daoust

The centre from Montreal, Quebec is 64 years old today. He played eight seasons in the NHL from 1982 to 1990. Daoust was with the Canadiens in 1982 and then the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1982 to 1990. In 522 games, Daoust had 87 goals, and 167 assists for 254 points. He was a -95 with 544 penalty minutes, 71 power play points, 20 shorthanded points, six game-winning goals, and 711 shots on goal. In 1982-83, Daoust was on the NHL All-Rookie Team as he had 52 points (18 goals and 34 assists) in 52 games.

3) Simon Gagne

The left winger from Ste-Foy, Quebec is 44 years old today. He played 14 seasons in the NHL from 1999 to 2015. Gagne was with the Philadelphia Flyers from 1999 to 2010 and 2013, the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2010 to 2011, the Los Angeles Kings from 2011 to 2013, and the Boston Bruins from 2014 to 2015. In 822 games, Gagne had 291 goals and 310 assists for 601 points. He was a +129 with 328 penalty minutes, 191 power-play points, 24 shorthanded points, 53 game-winning goals and 2312 shots on goal. Gagne was on the NHL All-Rookie Team in 1999-2000 (20 goals and 28 assists for 48 points), led the NHL with 33 even strength goals in 2005-06, and won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012. Gagne won a gold medal for Canada at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, and represented the Flyers at the 2001 and 2007 NHL All-Star Game.

2) Cam Ward

The goaltender from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is 40 years old today. He played 14 NHL seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes (2005 to 2018), and one season with the Chicago Blackhawks (2018 to 2019). In 701 games, Ward had a record of 334 wins, 256 regulation losses, and 88 losses in extra time. He had a goals against average of 2.74, save percentage of .908 and 27 shutouts. During his rookie season of 2005-06, Ward won the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy with the Hurricanes. Then in 2011, Ward represented the Hurricanes at the NHL All-Star Game.

1) Henri Richard

The Hall of Fame centre from Montreal, Quebec was born on February 29, 1936 before passing away in 2020. In 1258 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens from 1955 to 1975, Richard had 358 goals and 688 assists for 1046 points. He had 932 penalty minutes, 162 points, 53 game-winning goals and one shorthanded point. The shorthanded point came in a 4-3 Canadiens win over the Detroit Red Wings on March 5, 1963. Richard set up Don Marshall of Montreal. Henri Richard was the brother of Canadiens legend Maurice Richard. Henri also has the NHL record for most Stanley Cups won as a player (11), represented the Canadiens at 10 All-Star Games, was on the NHL’s First All-Star Team in 1957-58 and won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1973-74.


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