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Bill Mikkelson

Bill Mikkelson
Born (1948-05-21) May 21, 1948 (age 66)
Neepawa, MB, CAN
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for Los Angeles Kings
New York Islanders
Washington Capitals
Playing career 1970–1977

William Robert Mikkelson (born May 21, 1948 in Neepawa, Manitoba) is a retired Canadian ice hockey defenceman who played in the National Hockey League during the 1970s. Mikkelson is best known for posting the worst plus/minus rating in single-season NHL history at -82 for the Washington Capitals in 1974–75.

Playing career

Mikkelson played his junior hockey for the Brandon Wheat Kings and Winnipeg Jets, and was signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Kings in 1970. He spent two years in the minors in LA's system, earning a 15-game callup to their NHL squad in 1971–72.

In the 1972 NHL Expansion Draft, Mikkelson was exposed by the Kings and claimed by the New York Islanders. In their inaugural season of 1972–73, Mikkelson emerged as one of the icetime leaders on the blueline for the Islanders, and posted 1 goal and 10 assists for 11 points in 72 games. In a sign of things to come, he also posted a plus/minus rating of -54, the third-worst mark ever recorded at the time since the NHL had begun recording the stat in 1967. For the 1973–74 season, Mikkelson lost his spot on the Islanders with the arrival of rookies Denis Potvin and Dave Lewis, and ended up spending the entire season in the American Hockey League with the Baltimore Clippers.

Mikkelson was exposed again in the 1974 NHL Expansion Draft and this time was claimed by the Washington Capitals. His first season with the expansion Capitals would play out almost identically to his first season with the expansion Islanders, as he emerged as an icetime leader on a struggling team. Despite being assigned to the minors late in the year and appearing in only 59 games, he ended up posting an all-time NHL worst plus/minus rating of -82. More than three decades later, this remains an NHL record and no-one has posted a mark worse than -61 since.

Mikkelson would spend two more seasons in the minors, appearing in only a single NHL game for the Capitals in 1976–77 before retiring in 1977. In his career, he appeared in 147 NHL games, recording 4 goals and 18 assists for 22 points, along with 105 penalty minutes.

Family

Mikkelson comes from a prominent hockey-playing family in Manitoba. His uncle Jim McFadden was a star center for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks and won the Calder Trophy in 1947–48 and the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 1950. His brother Glen was drafted 140th overall in the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft by the Minnesota North Stars, although he never played an NHL game.

Mikkelson's son Brendan Mikkelson is a defenceman for the Pittsburgh Penguins who was selected 31st overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks. He has spent NHL time with the Ducks, Calgary Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning. His daughter Meaghan plays for the Canadian national women's team, with whom she won a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
1964–65 Brandon Wheat Kings SJHL 3 0 1 1 0 5 0 1 1 0
1965–66 Brandon Wheat Kings SJHL 60 9 14 23 92 11 1 3 4 12
1966–67 Brandon Wheat Kings MJHL 60 9 14 23 92 11 1 3 4 12
1967–68 Brandon Wheat Kings WCHL 56 14 27 41 119 8 0 1 1 4
1968–69 Winnipeg Jets WCHL 53 5 26 31 43 7 0 1 1 0
1969–70 Winnipeg Jets WCHL 59 5 34 39 76 14 1 5 6 16
1970–71 Springfield Kings AHL 69 2 9 11 50 12 1 2 3 14
1971–72 Los Angeles Kings NHL 15 0 1 1 6 -11 0 0 0 0 0
1971–72 Springfield Kings AHL 32 2 3 5 36 0 0 0 0 0
1972–73 New York Islanders NHL 72 1 10 11 45 -54 0 0 0 0 0
1973–74 Baltimore Clippers AHL 75 1 21 22 77 7 0 1 1 6
1974–75 Washington Capitals NHL 59 3 7 10 52 -82 0 0 0 0 0
1974–75 Richmond Robins AHL 10 0 0 0 16 3 0 0 0 4
1975–76 Baltimore Clippers AHL 76 3 18 21 52 0 0 0 0 0
1976–77 Washington Capitals NHL 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
1976–77 Rhode Island Reds AHL 51 3 7 10 2 0 0 0 0 0
1976–77 Hershey Bears AHL 22 1 2 3 28 6 0 1 1 4
4 seasons NHL totals 147 4 18 22 18 -147 0 0 0 0 0

External links

  • The Internet Hockey Database
  • Legends of Hockey
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