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1979 Entry Draft
All six players chosen in this draft turned pro, with 4 of them making the NHL. Mike Foligno and John Ogrodnick would go on to turn in very solid NHL careers, and one can only imagine how things might have been in Detroit with the 2 star wingers being centered by Yzerman for most of there careers. If Detroit's management would have held onto a few of these draft choices, they would have had quite a stable full of young goal scoring forwards to lead the team instead of many empty years until the mid to late eighties.

Pictured - Detroit GM Ted Lindsay shakes hands with 1st round draft pick Mike Foligno at the 1979 draft.

1st Rnd, 3rd Overall    NHL Totals 1018-355-372-727-2049
Right Wing Mike Foligno
A fiesty goal scoring winger, Foligno had all the tools to make scouts drool. A great skater with a hard accurate shot, who was tough as nails, and had leadership qualities, Mike scored 65 goals and 150 points during his draft year. Signed by the wings 2 months after the draft, he made a splash in the NHL, scoring 36 goals and 71 points and finishing runner up to Rookie of the Year Ray Bourque in Calder voting. Foligno was traded with Dale McCourt to Buffalo 2 years later in a disastrous deal for Danny Gare. Mike went on to captain the Sabers playing in over 1000 NHL games as a consistent 30 goal scorer who could drop the gloves with the best of them.
2nd Rnd, 24th overall    NHL Totals 620-72-141-213-484
 Traded to Washington for the rights to Ron Low and the a 3rd rnd pick in 1979 (Boris Fistric).
3rd Rnd, 45th overall    NHL Totals 68-14-15-29-26
Right Wing Jody Gage
This goal scoring junior winger turned a 46-goal campaign into a 3rd round selection by Detroit, and finished as one of the AHL's all time leading scorers. Gage turned pro in 1979, and started the season on the inaugural Adirondack (AHL) team, where he scored 4 goals in his first pro game before being demoted to Kalamazoo (IHL). Jody saw action with Detroit for parts of 3 seasons before moving on to Buffalo, but most of his career was spent as a sniper in the AHL with Adirondack and Rochester where he compiled 504 goals and 1048 points in 1038 games.
3rd Rnd, 46th overall    NHL Totals 0-0-0-0-0
Defenseman Boris Fistric
A 6'2 220 pound defenseman from perennial Memorial cup champion New Westminster, Boris was a tough customer who led the WHL in penalty minutes with seasons of 414 and 460. Fistric used his size and toughness to create space, and could put up some good offensive numbers too. After turning pro with Kalamazoo in 1980 Fistric put up some decent offensive numbers and led the IHL in penalty minutes one season with 391. After being unable to move up during 2 years in Kalamazoo, Fistric was not re-signed and retired.
4th Rnd, 66th overall    NHL Totals 928-402-425-827-260
Left Wing John Ogrodnick
"Johnny-O" was another product of the New Westminster champions mill, winning the memorial cup in 1977 and 1978. A 6'0 speedster with soft hands, and a knack for playmaking, Ogrodnick turned pro after camp in 1979, and spent all of 39 games in Adirondack (AHL) before joining the varsity. John played on a line with fellow '79 draftee Mike Foligno and center Dale McCourt, and before long would be one of the wing's true superstars. Ogrodnick led the team in scoring from 1980-1986 including a 55-goal, 105-point season in 1984-85. Traded to Quebec in 1987 John played 6 more season in the NHL, rejoining the wings for his final campaign.
5th Rnd, 87th overall;   NHL Totals: 291-19-37-56-831
Center Joe Paterson
A tough, aggressive two-way center that played with determination and grit, Paterson used his work ethic and willingness to drop the gloves to carve out an NHL career. Joe was able to put nice numbers in the minors, but found that he would have to become an enforcer if he wanted to make the move to the NHL. Paterson played parts of 4 season with the wings before being dealt to Philadelphia in the Darryl Sittler trade. After leaving Detroit, Joe became a regular in Los Angeles, even playing with Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor for a while.
6th Rnd, 108th overall;   NHL Totals: 0-0-0-0-0
Left Wing Carmine Cirella
At 6'4, 215 pounds, Cirella had the size to play his banging, defensive game, and knew what it took to win. Drafted from Peterborough after winning the 1979 Memorial cup, Carmine turned pro in 1980 with Adirondack (AHL). Although he only played in the AHL for 3 1/2 seasons, he won 2 Calder cups, the last while playing defense for the Maine Mariners. Cirella was never able to generate enough offense to earn a shot at the NHL and retired in 1984.