Undrafted, Lambert signed with the San Diego Gulls of the International Hockey League for the 1991-92 season. He would play four seasons with the Gulls, including the Gulls finest season when they made it to the Turner Cup Finals in 1993. While with the Gulls, he would average 260 penalty minutes a season, with a high of 314 in 1993-94, third in the league by less than 10 minutes.
Lambert had a fine 1994-95 season, scoring 25 goals and 60 points, double his average from the previous three seasons, which caught the attention of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, who signed him for the remainder of the season, which made for a long year for Lambert, as combined he played in 88 regular season games that season, which must rank as one of the highest totals ever. Lambert scored his first NHL goal that season on his way to 4 points
He split the following season between the Baltimore Bandits of the American Hockey League and the Mighty Ducks, playing 44 games with Baltimore and 33 with Anaheim.
For the 1996-97 season, Lambert was signed by the Ottawa Senators as a free agent, playing 80 games his first season and another 72 games in 1997-98, setting a NHL high of 250 penalty minutes that season, as well as scoring a career best 9 goals.
Now established as a full-time NHLer, Lambert was chosen by the Nashville Predators in the 1998 NHL Expansion Draft, where he would play the entire 1998-99 season.
It was back to Anaheim for the 2001-02 season for his second stint with the Mighty Ducks. There Lambert yet again finished with between 213 and 219 penalty minutes for the fifth time in six seasons, with only his 250 minutes in 1997-98 tampering with his amazing consistency.
Lambert wrapped up his career with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL in 2002-03 before retiring as a player. After some time as an assistant, Lambert would become head coach of the Soo Greyhounds, his junior club, for three seasons from 2008 to 2011.
Today's featured jersey is a 1991-92 San Diego Gulls Denny Lambert jersey. This iteration of the Gulls were members of the IHL for five seasons, a team name that dates back to a previous Western Hockey League franchise which began play in the mid 1960's.
After their five seasons in San Diego, the IHL franchise relocated up the coast to become the Long Beach Ice Dogs, and were immediately replaced by a new franchise in the WHL, also known as the Gulls. Their membership would become part of the ECHL and last through 2006. Two seasons later, the San Diego Gulls name would once again resurface, now used by a Junior A team in the Western States Hockey League, now the fourth franchise to use the Gulls name in San Diego!
The Gulls stellar 1992-93 season saw them finish with a 62-12-8 record for a league record 132 points, but fell short in the finals. Notable players for the Gulls were Ron Dugay, Glen Hanlon, Charlie Simmer, Ray Whitney, Sean Burke, Lindy Ruff and IHL scoring champion Dimitri Kvartalnov.
While the Gulls history was a brief one, they left behind a legacy of attractive jerseys with classic styling and a very sharp logo.
Anaheim entered the league in 1993-94 and immediately shook up the establishment with eggplant and jade colored jerseys that had diagonal striping on not only the arms, but the waist stripe as well at a time when 25 out of 25 other teams had a straight waist stripe and only two other teams, the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins were so bold as to have angled sleeve striping.
While the Mighty Ducks alternate jerseys came and went, thankfully in some cases, their original home and road jerseys remained unchanged for 13 years until new ownership rebranded every aspect of the franchise, including the team name, as they adopted the more conventional Anaheim Ducks moniker as well as adopting an all new color scheme.
Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1998-99 Nashville Predators Denny Lambert jersey from the Predators first season in the NHL.
Two things set the first season Predators jerseys apart from those that would follow. First, the secondary shoulder patch for their first season would have "98" added to the design, as shown below.
Second, the first season Predators jerseys were supplied by Bauer, making them completely unique in the NHL, as six teams were supplied by Nike, nine by CCM and the remaining 11 by Starter. For their second season, Nashville would change to CCM jerseys, leaving the first season Bauer jerseys as an interesting footnote for collectors.
In today's video section, Lambert does what he does best, as he throws haymakers with Paul Kruse of the Salt Lake Golden Eagles during the 1991-92 IHL season.
Next is an interview with Lambert, who recalls his time with the Senators.