Monday, July 26, 2010

Absurd Goalie Monday: Pat Riggin

While we're in the dog-days of summer; I came across this week's AGM with an interesting note during his junior career; as well as getting noticed from his performance in the WHA first before joining up in the NHL. He went from team-to-team, league-to-league, and city-to-relocation city. We'll take a look at the career of Pat Riggin in this week's AGM.

Starting off, Riggin played with the London Knights of the OMJHL (now OHL) and played there for three seasons from 1975-76 until 1977-78; finishing with a GAA of 3.43. However, even with the wonders of the internet; there is no record available for Riggin in his OHL days. The only time Riggin wasn't with the Knights is when they loaned him to the Ottawa 67s for the 1977 Memorial Cup. The 67s got to the final game, but lost to the New Westminister Bruins. Riggin was named Top Goaltender of the Memorial Cup and named the All-Star Team, as well. In 1999, Riggin was named goalie of the London Knights all-time team.

Riggin went undrafted in the NHL following his final junior season, so he signed on with the WHA's Birmingham Bulls for the 1978-79 season. Riggin was one of six teenagers to sign with the Bulls (Craig Hartsburg, Rob Ramage, Rick Vaive, Michel Goulet, and Gaston Gingras the others); which helped earn Birmingham the nickname of the Baby Bulls. Riggin went undetered on an inexperience team, playing 46 games and going 16-22-5 for the year with a 3.78 GAA. However, when the WHA folded, Riggin didn't know what would happen next.

Luckily, Riggin was picked in the second round of the 1979 NHL Draft to the Atlanta Flames. Riggin started the 1979-80 season in a familiar place; going to the Central League's Birmingham Bulls for 12 games (8-2-2) before getting the call to move up to Atlanta. In Atlanta, he made the most of his chance behind Daniel Bouchard, going 11-9-2 in 25 games. As the Flames moved to Calgary from Atlanta for the 1980-81 season; Riggin moved into a bigger role for the Flames, as he would takeover the starting role when Bouchard was traded to Quebec. Riggin had 42 games for the season and would go 21-16-4 and he would help carry the Flames to the NHL Semi-finals, but lost in six games to the Minnesota North Stars. Back in the starter role for the 1981-82 season, as Riggin would have a somewhat so-so year, going 19-19-11 and going 0-3 in the Playoffs, as the Flames were swept by the Vancouver Canucks.

In June of 1982, Riggin was traded with Ken Houston to the Washington Capitals for Howard Walker, George White and draft picks. Riggin would get into a tandem situation with Al Jensen for the 1982-83 season; with Riggin getting 38 games and going 16-9-9 for the Caps. Riggin would see three appearances in the playoffs, but would go 0-1 in a quick exit by the Caps in the first round. Riggin and Jensen would be the two-headed monster for the Caps in the 1983-84 season, seeing Riggin getting 41 games in with a 21-14-2 record; as well as going 1-3 in the playoffs. Riggin and Jensen would win the William Jennings Trophy for fewest goals-against in a season. Riggin also played three games in the AHL with the Hershey Bears going 2-0-1. For the 1984-85 season, Riggin got most of the starts due to Jensen going down to an MCL injury midway through the season. Riggin wouldn't disappoint, going 28-20-7 in 57 games, but it would lead to another quick exit for the Caps in the first round. Riggin would be back in the fold for the 1985-86 season, but it lasted only seven games going 2-3-1 in those games.

In November of 1985, Riggin was traded to the Boston Bruins for former AGM Pete Peeters. Many believe that Riggin was traded from the Caps, even though he was at the top of his game, due to the remarks he made following a game in the World Championships. Riggin was playing for Canada and beat the US. After the game, Riggin said he was motivated because he was tired of the US players taking jobs in the NHL. Now, most of the Caps top players at the time were American; like Rod Langway, Bobby Carpenter, and Dave Christian and it probably didn't sit well with management with these comments.

Riggin would assume the tandem role for the Bruins, playing 38 games and going 17-11-8 in those starts. Riggin would start the 1986-87 season with the Bruins, playing 10 games going 3-5-1 but would be send down to the AHL's Moncton Golden Flames due to the logjam in Boston's net. Riggin would go 6-5-2 in 14 games with Moncton before he was on the move again.

Riggin would be traded in February of 1987 to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Roberto Romano. Riggin would play 17 games with the Penguins that season and go 8-6-3. Riggin would start off the 1987-88 season with the Penguins, playing in 22 games (7-8-4), but would be pushed out in another logjam in net. He would be sent to the IHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks and went a solid 13-2-0 with a 2.70 GAA; but would only go 1-1 in two playoff games. At the age of 28 and seemingly unwanted-- Riggin retired after the 1987-88 season.

Riggin seems to have faded onto obscurity these days, but he did plenty in his short career; including playing in a Memorial Cup his team wasn't even apart of. And while he may have burned some bridges along the way; he did well with what he had in front of him and was able to get some individual accomplishments along the way.

1 comment:

Gary said...

Strange? Absurd? I think not. Garrin Riggin