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[[Category:Retired in 1985]]
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Revision as of 19:43, October 14, 2011

Ivan Boldirev
Position Centre
Shot Left
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
190 lb (86 kg)
Teams Boston Bruins
California Golden Seals
Chicago Black Hawks
Atlanta Flames
Vancouver Canucks
Detroit Red Wings
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born August 16 1949 (1949-08-16) (age 70),
Zrenjanin, Yugoslavia
NHL Draft 11th overall, 1969
Boston Bruins
Pro Career 1969 – 1985

Ivan Boldirev (born August 16, 1949 in Zrenjanin, Yugoslavia (now Serbia)) is a retired Serbian-Canadian professional centre who played 15 seasons in the NHL from 1970 until 1985. An elegant center, Boldirev was noted during his career as one of the sport's best stickhandlers.

Playing career

Born in Yugoslavia but raised in Canada, Boldirev was the first choice (11th overall) of the Boston Bruins in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft. After a stellar junior career with the Oshawa Generals, Boldirev turned pro in 1969 and spent his entire first season with Boston's CHL affiliate Oklahoma City Blazers. Boldirev was called up to Boston as a spare body for the 1970 NHL playoffs, but didn't play a game as Boston romped to their first championship since 1941. However, in a quirk of history he managed to get his name engraved on the Stanley Cup before ever playing in an NHL game, the only forward ever to do so.

Boldirev was back in Oklahoma City for the 1970–71, although he received his first NHL action with a two-game callup to the Bruins. During this period, Boston was the best, deepest squad in the NHL, and for a young player to crack their roster was a formidable task. Boldirev was in a group of players (Reggie Leach and Rick MacLeish), each of whom would star for Flyers later in the decade were others) who were good enough to play for many NHL squads but were instead stuck in Boston's system, and would need a trade to get the opportunity they needed.

Boldirev started the 1971–72 as a depth player in Boston, but received his big break partway into the season when he was dealt to the hapless California Golden Seals. On the talent-starved Seals, Boldirev received the chance he needed and blossomed into a solid NHL player, finishing 4th on the team with 16 goals and 41 points. By 1973–74, he finished 2nd on the Seals with 25 goals and 56 points.

In 1974, Boldirev was dealt to the Chicago Black Hawks, where he would go on to the most productive phase of his career. He immediately established himself as one of the team's top players, posting 24 goals and 67 points in 1974–75. He posted 60+ points in each of his five seasons in Chicago, and by the late 1970s had replaced Stan Mikita as the team's top offensive player. He led the Black Hawks in goals, assists, and points in 1976–77 and 1977–78, and was selected to play in the 1978 NHL All-Star Game.

Boldirev was leading the Black Hawks in scoring again in 1978–79 when he was dealt to the Atlanta Flames late in the season in a huge 9–player trade. He contributed 14 points in 13 games after joining the Flames, but his stay in Atlanta would last less than a year before he was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks. Interestingly, Darcy Rota was moved along with Boldirev in both trades, and the two would be teammates (and frequently linemates) for nearly a decade with three different organizations.

After joining the Canucks, Boldirev went on a goalscoring binge to close out the 1979–80 season with 16 goals in 27 games. In Vancouver, he continued to be a consistent productive performer, and continued to dazzle fans with his elegant, effort displays of stickhandling. He was a standout performer in Vancouver's run to the 1982 Stanley Cup Finals, scoring 8 goals in 17 games after a 73-point regular season.

Boldirev's production dropped off in the 1982–83 season, as he registered just 5 goals and 25 points in his first 39 games. Thinking Boldirev (now in his mid-thirties) was in decline, the Canucks sent him to the Detroit Red Wings for journeyman forward Mark Kirton. Boldirev proceeded to undergo a resurgence in Detroit, scoring 13 goals and 30 points in just 33 games with the Wings. In 1983–84, he had the most productive season of his career, matching his career high of 35 goals and setting a career high of 83 points. Boldirev combined with rookie Steve Yzerman to form an excellent one-two punch down the middle, and helped Detroit back to the playoffs for the first time since 1978.

In 1984–85, Boldirev played in his 1000th NHL game and notched his 500th assist, but his production waned as he failed to notch 50 points for the first time since 1973. He retired at the end of the season with career totals of 361 goals and 505 assists for 866 points in 1052 NHL games. He currently does periodic work on behalf of the Blackhawk Alumni Association.

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1967–68Oshawa GeneralsOHA5018264473
1968–69Oshawa GeneralsOHA54253459101
1969–70Oklahoma City BlazersCHL65184967114
1970–71Boston BruinsNHL20000
1970–71Oklahoma City BlazersCHL681952719851459
1971–72Boston BruinsNHL110226
1971–72California Golden SealsNHL5716233954
1972–73California Golden SealsNHL5611233458
1973–74California Golden SealsNHL7725315622
1974–75Chicago Black HawksNHL802443675484262
1975–76Chicago Black HawksNHL782834623340110
1976–77Chicago Black HawksNHL802438624020110
1977–78Chicago Black HawksNHL803545803440222
1978–79Chicago Black HawksNHL6629356425
1978–79Atlanta FlamesNHL136814620222
1979–80Atlanta FlamesNHL5216244020
1979–80Vancouver CanucksNHL271611271440220
1980–81Vancouver CanucksNHL722633593411120
1981–82Vancouver CanucksNHL78334073451783114
1982–83Vancouver CanucksNHL395202512
1982–83Detroit Red WingsNHL3313173014
1983–84Detroit Red WingsNHL753548832040554
1984–85Detroit Red WingsNHL751930491620110
NHL totals 1052 361 505 866 507 48 13 20 33 14

External links

Boston Bruins First Round Draft Picks
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