2016 was a tough year for hockey fans with several legends passing away. Tom Lysiak was one, losing his battle with leukemia on May 30. Lysiak was a scoring leader in the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers in two of his three seasons in the league. He then moved on to a 900+ game career in the National Hockey League without spending a day in the minors.
Tom was the second to win consecutive scoring titles in the WHL and just one of four to accomplish the feat, to date. His number 9 was retired by the Medicine Hat Tigers in recognition of his greatness in junior. His two goals in seven seconds will forever remain an Atlanta Flames record. However, Lanny McDonald topped that with two in six seconds in 1984 with the Calgary Flames for the franchise record.
Tom Lysiak – Junior
Tom Lysiak played three years in the WCHL (now just WHL) with the Medicine Hat Tigers from 1970-71 to 1972-73. Over those three years, he scored 118 and assisted on 209 for 327 points in 195 regular season games. Most of that offense came in his final two seasons.
In 1971-72, Lysiak scored 46 and assisted on 97 for 143 points over 68 games. He played with Lanny McDonald and was one of five Tigers to have 100 points or more that year. Tom led the league in assists, 22 more than Medicine Hat teammate Stan Weir. His point total game him a ten point margin over the second place Weir. However, his 46 goals didn’t even rank him the top ten.
That season, the Tigers lost in the opening round of the President’s Cup playoffs to the Calgary Centennials. Lysiak was named a WHL First Team All-Star.
In his senior year in the WHL, Lysiak’s goal scoring increased with 58 goals in 67 games. He tied for seventh with Blaine Stoughton of the Flin Flon Bombers and teammate Ed Johnstone. He once again led in assists with 96, 16 momre than Dennis Sobchuk of the Regina Pats. Tom also led in overall scoring for the second season with 154 points, seven more than Sobchuk. Again a First Team All-Star, however, it was Sobchuk that got the MVP honours.
In 17 playoff games, Lysiak’s scoring didn’t slow. He scored 12 and assisted on 27 for 39 points as Medicine Hat won the President’s Cup by beating the Saskatoon Blades in the finals. The Tigers then participated in the three team Memorial Cup tournament in Montreal. It was the Toronto Marlboros winning the title over the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL.
Tom Lysiak – NHL
Between 1973-74 and 1985-86, Tom Lysiak played 919 regular season games in the National Hockey League with the Atlanta Flames and Chicago Blackhawks. Over that time, he scored 292 goals and assisted on 551 more for a healthy 843 points. In the playoffs, he added 63 points in 76 games.
Tom Lysiak Collection
At the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft, Lysiak was the second overall pick, going to the Flames. Tom came in behind just Denis Potvin, who was drafted first overall by the New York Islanders from the Ottawa 67’s. He was also taken in the second round of the 1973 WHA Amateur Draft by the Houston Aeros, 23rd overall.
In his rookie season, Lysiak came in second in voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. It was Potvin that came ahead of him.
Over his career, Lysiak was a 30+ goal scorer three times and topped 20 goals in nine seasons. He topped out with 32 goals in 1981-82 with the Chicago Blackhawks. His 55 assists with Chicago in 1980-81 was a career best. He twice reached the 82 point level, in 1975-76 with Atlanta and in 1981-82 with the Blackhawks.
Tom was team captain for the Flames from the start of 1977-78 until his trade to Chicago late in the 1978-79 season. He replaced Pat Quinn and was replaced by Jean Pronovost. He is Atlanta’s all-time leader in assists and points while coming in second for goals behind Eric Vail.
On March 13, 1979, the Flames sent him to Chicago with Greg Fox, Harold Phillipoff, Pat Ribble and Miles Zaharko. Going to the Flames were Ivan Boldirev, Darcy Rota and Phil Russel. In 52 games with Atlanta in 1978-79, Lysiak scored 23 and assisted on 35 for 58 points. In 14 games with Chicago, he was reduced to ten assists and no goals.
With Chicago, Tom was able to go deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs, something that never happened while the Flames were in Atlanta. Three times, the Blackhawks reached the semi-finals with Lysiak in the lineup.
In 1981-82, Chicago fell to the Vancouver Canucks in the semis. Tom had 15 points in 15 games, just behind team leader Denis Savard. The following year, it was another semi-final appearance, this time losing to the Minnesota North Stars. In 1984-85, another final four appearance saw Chicago lose to the Edmonton Oilers.
On the international stage, Lysiak played for Canada at the 1978 IIHF World Hockey Championships. The tournament was help in Prague, Czechoslovakia and Canada came away with bronze. Taking gold was the Soviet Union while the hosts took silver.
Tom Lysiak – Rookie Card
The Tom Lysiak rookie card appears as number 68 in the 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee and Topps NHL hockey card sets. He is shown with the Atlanta Flames. His final card is with the Blackhawks in the 1985-86 O-Pee-Chee and Topps sets.
His 1975-76 O-Pee-Chee card refers to Lysiak being the second player to lead the WCHL in scoring in consecutive seasons. The first was Bobby Clarke of the Flin Flon Bombers in 1967-68 and 1968-69. The trophy handed to the scoring leader in the WHL is now the Bob Clarke Trophy.
Since, there have been just two players to lead the WHL in scoring in two straight seasons. In 1977-78 and 1978-79, Brian Propp of the Brandon Wheat Kings was the leader. In 1985-86 and 1986-87, Rob Brown of the Kamloops Blazers won back to back titles.
His 1978-79 O-Pee-Chee card refers to his Atlanta Flames team record two goals in seven seconds on April 1, 1977. That feat is locked as an Atlanta record but the franchise record was broken on March 22, 1984 when Lanny McDonald scored two in six seconds for the Calgary Flames.
Tom Lysiak Career Stats
|1970-71||Medicine Hat Tigers||WCHL||60||14||16||30||112|
|1971-72||Medicine Hat Tigers||WCHL||68||46||97||143||96|
|1972-73||Medicine Hat Tigers||WCHL||67||58||96||154||104|