Monday, February 21, 2011
15 year veteran Keith Acton played his junior hockey with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League. The center eased his way into the lineup his first season, but led the team in scoring in both 1976-77 and 1977-78, the latter season by 57 points! He also placed 4th in league scoring with his 128 points scored in 68 games. Peterborough later advanced to the Memorial Cup Final that season.
Acton was then drafted by the Montreal Canadiens who assigned him to the Nova Scotia Voyageurs of the American Hockey League for the 1978-79 season. He returned to Nova Scotia for the 1979-80 season, during which he also made his NHL debut with a pair of games for Montreal, scoring his first NHL point with an assist.
Having served his apprenticeship in the AHL, the hard working Acton made the jump to the NHL for his first full-time season in 1980-81, during which he scored 15 goals and 39 points. He really found his comfort level in 1981-82 when he scored 36 goals and 88 points in 78 games playing between Steve Shutt and Guy Lafleur.
Acton's 1980-81 Montreal Canadiens jersey
Nine games into the 1983-84 season Acton was dealt to the Minnesota North Stars as part of a huge trade which sent Bobby Smith to Montreal. While he would never again approach his 88 point season again, Acton was a vital part of the Minnesota linueup with his tenacity, faceoff skills and strong two way play. He was a model of consistency with Minnesota for the next four and a half seasons, never playing less than 71 games and scoring between 55 and 58 points.
Acton's 1986-87 Minnesota North Stars jersey
Halfway through the 1987-88 season, Acton was acquired by the Edmonton Oilers and went on to win a Stanley Cup later that season.
Acton's 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers jersey
He started the 1988-89 season with the Oilers, but after 46 games was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers. There he played more of a defensive checking role, which limited his offensive numbers, but earned him a fan following with his continued hard work.
Acton's 1991-92 Philadelphia Flyers jersey with the NHL 75th Anniversary and 1992 NHL All-Star Game patches
Oddly, Acton was traded to the Winnipeg Jets prior to the 1989-90 season on September 28, 1989, but sent back to Philadelphia in a separate trade just one week later! Acton would remain a Flyer for four and a half seasons, but the Flyers entered a down period and failed to qualify for the playoffs after Acton's first season in Philadelphia.
Acton as a Flyers assistant captain in 1992-93
Following the 1992-93 season, Acton signed with the Washington Capitals but played just six games with Washington before being claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders, with whom he played 71 games that season, including his 1,000th NHL game on this date in 1994 in a gratifying 4-0 shutout of the Capitals.
Acton continued to play the next season with the Hershey Bears of the AHL, but retired after 12 games in which he scored 12 points.
Acton's 1994-95 Hershey Bears jersey
Acton's final NHL totals are 1,023 games played with 226 goals and 358 assists for 584 points. He also amassed 1,172 penalty minutes and scored 33 points in 66 playoff games and got his name engraved on the Stanley Cup in 1988 while with Edmonton.
Due to the fact Acton played on some non-playoff teams, he was able to participate in the World Championships for Canada on three occasions, 1986, 1990 and 1992.
Acton's style appears unchanged as he remains active in hockey as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs!
Today's featured jersey is a 1993-94 New York Islanders Keith Acton jersey as worn during his only season with the Islanders during which he competed in his 1,000th NHL game.
The Islanders original 1972-73 jerseys had a laceup collar and orange numbers. They quickly changed to white numbers for their second season and changed to a v-neck collar in 1977. Their jerseys underwent a minor striping tweak one year later, as a white stripe was added to the orange sleeve stripes and the blue in between the white and orange waist stripes went away, creating the jersey they would wear throughout their Stanley Cup dynasty of the 1980's.
The font for the numbers underwent some changes through time, including a switch to the same font used by the Pittsburgh Penguins for the 1991-92 season which featured squarish sleeve numbers and beveled angles the occasional odd serif, as shown on the "4" on today's featured jersey.