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1981 Entry Draft
Seven out of eight players the wings drafted in 1981 made it to the NHL at some point, not bad considering their normal luck with draft picks in the 70's and 80's. When the wings opened training camp in 1981, 6 of the 8 players drafted were playing for jobs, and when camp was over 4 of them had signed contracts, with goalie Corrado Micalef even making the opening day roster. Unfortunately the wings first three picks did not live up to expectations, despite their advanced billing. The good news was that the wings 6th, 7th, and 8th picks (Gallant, Stefan, and Zombo) far exceeded the hype and went on to be integral parts of the Detroit lineup for the next 10 years.

1st Rnd, 2nd Overall    
 Traded to Los Angeles with Andre St Laurent and the 4th overall pick in 1980 for Dale McCourt and the rights to Rogie Vachon 8/22/79.
2nd Rnd, 23rd Overall    NHL Totals 616-92-117-209-1149-(-132)
Center Claude Loiselle
A high-scoring two-way center in junior, Loiselle put up good minor-league numbers, but couldn't nail down full-time NHL employment with the Red Wings. Traded to the New Jersey Devils in 1986, Loiselle enjoyed an eight-year NHL career and found a niche as a defensive center who could chip in offensively.
3rd Rnd, 44th overall    NHL Totals 113-26-59-15 4.24GAA 2SO .859%
Goaltender Corrado Micalef
This highly regarded, award winning, QMJHL all-star goalie was an acrobatic player with stardom written all over him. Micalef showed up for his first camp and beat out Larry Lozinski for the backup job, starting the season in Detroit. He followed that up by being named red wings rookie of the year in 1982-83. Consistency was the major hurdle that Corrado could not cross as he continued to post 5 and 6 game undefeated streaks followed by horrendous losing streaks. By 1986 Micalef was out of the organization and playing in Europe.
4th Rnd, 65th Overall    
 Traded to Philadelphia for Dennis Sobchuk 9/4/79.
5th Rnd, 86th overall    NHL Totals 91-5-13-18-74-+3
Defenseman Larry Trader
Drafted as a big, solid, offensive defenseman, the 6'1 Trader rang up 19 goals, 56 points and 171 penalty minutes as a 19-year-old with London. Larry wedged an AHL 2nd all-star nod in between 2 stints with Detroit. During the 1984-85 season Trader was well on his way to becoming a regular before a knee injury derailed his season. Over the off-season Detroit hired Jacques Demers as coach and Larry was traded to St Louis for Demers favorite Lee Norwood. Trader played a few more NHL games for St Louis and Montreal but by 1989 he had left for Europe and finished his career there.
6th Rnd, 107th overall    NHL Totals 615-211-269-480-1677-+55
Center Gerard Gallant
This skinny, 5'10" 158 pound center was noticed by the wings while scouting goalie Corrado Micalef in Sherbrooke, and was drafted after scoring 101 points as a QMJHL Rookie. 2 seasons later Gallant became a 50-goal scorer playing in Verdun with linemate Pat LaFontaine, while raising his penalty minute total to 244. Gallant graduated to Adirondack, Detroit's AHL farm club in 1983 and scored 31 goals while adding 195 penalty minutes, and by 1984 was in the NHL. Gallant was switched to the wing and reeled off 4 straight 30-goal seasons patrolling Steve Yzerman's left side. Gerard backed up his offense with a feisty, physical, 2-way game, and would drop the gloves with anybody. Gallant's career high was a 93-point season that saw him named a post-season all star in 1989. A back injury in 1990 would limit the physical play that "Spuddy" was known for and after 3 injury filled years, Gallant was gone to Tampa Bay where he finished his career.
7th Rnd, 128th overall;   NHL Totals: 299-115-127-30 3.99gaa 5 SO .869%
Goaltender Greg Stefan
Stefan was a combative goalie who had 92 penalty minutes in junior the year he was drafted. The wing's scouts compared him favorably to the Islanders Billy Smith, and hoped he would be able to channel that competitiveness into wins. Greg attended camp in 1981 and turned pro the same year, starting in Adirondack. By the end of the 1982-83 season, Stefan had grabbed the starting job in Detroit, and for the next 6 seasons he averaged 20 wins a year. In 1989 Greg suffered a serious knee injury, and despite almost 2 seasons of rehab, he was not able to return and retired still in his prime.
8th Rnd, 149th overall;   NHL Totals: 652-24-130-154-728-+23
Defenseman Rick Zombo
Zombo was projected as an offensive defenseman after scoring 10 goals and 36 points in 43 games for Austin of the USHL. Rather than turn pro, Rick attended the University of North Dakota for three years, and by the time he turned pro had changed his game to a stay at home defenseman. After spending the better part of 3 seasons apprenticing in Adirondack, Zombo made the Wings lineup for good in 1987. At the start of the 1991-92 season with the team in need of goaltending help, Zombo was dealt to St Louis for Vincent Riendeau. Rick played 4 more years with St Louis before finishing his NHL career with a year in Boston.
9th Rnd, 170th overall;   NHL Totals: 0-0-0-0-0
Left Wing Don LeBlanc
Leblanc was the only member of the 1981 draft class that didn't sign a pro contract. Don was a huge goal scorer at the Tier 2 level who found the OHL to be a lot tougher. Despite attending Wings camp from 1981-1984, Leblanc played only one full season in the OHL, and parts of 2 others, before retiring after being cut from camp in 1984.
10th Rnd, 191st overall;   NHL Totals: 236-13-70-83-254-(-36)
Defenseman Robert Nordmark
Nordmark was a big puck moving defenseman from Lulea, Sweden that the wings took a chance on at the end of the draft. The problem was the wings could never get him over to North America to attend camp, and after 4 years, his rights were up for grabs. In 1987 the St Louis Blues re-drafted him in the 3rd round and got him to sign on the dotted line. Nordmark played 1 season for St Louis and 3 more for Vancouver before returning to Sweden to finish his career.