Butch Deadmarsh

Everyone knows who the first junior player drafted by the Buffalo Sabres was - the great Gilbert Perreault. But not everyone knows who was the second player Buffalo selected in that 1970 entry draft.

The Sabres used the first pick of the second round, 15th overall, to select a physical warrior from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western junior league. Perreault was undoubtedly the man who would lead the Sabres in scoring, but the Sabres wanted Deadmarsh to be their power forward as well as Perreault's protector. Butch, whose real name is Ernest, was a hot commodity in the 1970 Entry Draft. After a strong season with the Brandon Wheat Kings that saw him lead all WCJHLers with 301 PIMs but also saw him record 37 goals in 54 games, the Buffalo Sabres took their chances on Butch with the 15th overall selection.

Ultimately things never worked out for Deadmarsh, who is a cousin of current NHL star Adam Deadmarsh. He spent more time in the minor leagues than in the NHL over the first three years of his professional career. He showed he could play at the AHL level when he scored an impressive 34 goals in 1971-72. He also picked up 145 penalty minutes.

The Sabres ended up trading Deadmarsh to Atlanta partway through the 72-73 season, thus ending the Butch Deadmarsh experiment in Buffalo. They received Norm Gratton in return for the tough guy.

Deadmarsh encountered injury troubles in Atlanta. He only got into 42 games in his only full NHL season in 1973-74.

The Kansas City Scouts claimed Deadmarsh in their inaugural expansion draft. He was a high pick in that expansion draft, as the Scouts selected him with their 2nd selection. However he only got into 20 games - scoring 3 goals and 2 assists - before he was sold to WHA Vancouver Blazers.

Deadmarsh never returned to the NHL. He spent 3 years bouncing around 4 teams in the WHA. He was involved in a unique situation when the Calgary Cowboys traded him to Minnesota for Richard Lemieux. Lemieux, no relation to Mario, never reported to Calgary, so after 35 games as a Fighting Saint, Deadmarsh was forced to return to the Cowboys when the trade was rescinded.

Deadmarsh once described his style of play.

"I don't go around looking for trouble. I just skate up and down my wing. If somebody gets in my way, I'll pop him. but I don't think of myself as a policeman."


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