Jets Trade Babych for "Stone Hands" Neufeld
November 22, 1985
Once thought to be the cornerstone of the franchise, Dave Babych is no longer a member of the Winnipeg Jets.
Yesterday, Vice President and General Manager John Ferguson traded his once highly-coveted defenseman to the Hartford Whalers in exchange for Ray "Stone Hands" Neufeld.
"It was a very difficult decision to make," said Ferguson. "It was something we felt we had to do, but it wasn't easy. We still think David Babych is going to have an outstanding career in the National Hockey League, but in order to get someone of Ray's ability, you've got to give something up, and today, we gave up David Babych."
Coming to the Jets is St. Boniface native Ray Neufeld, bringing with him an established reputation for his lack of finish around the opponent's net and little else.
"Ray is someone we've been after for a while now. Our scouts have spoken well of the young man, and how well he would fit in with our program, " added Ferguson. "Ray will give us added depth up front where we need it right now. We have plenty of mediocrity on our blue line, but we needed someone like Ray to bring our complement of forwards up to that level. Ray will fit right in and bring that type of mediocrity that we're looking for. We expected that, in order to give up someone of David Babych's caliber, the player we received will have be out of the league in three or four years and playing in some senior league, and we think we have that kind of player in Ray Neufeld."
Babych was originally the second overall selection in the 1980 Entry Draft, but in recent times, had fallen out of favor with the organization and failed to live up to the hype and level of expectations that followed him to Winnipeg from the junior ranks.
"I'm kind of shocked right now," said Babych. "I wasn't aware that I was being shopped around, but I guess I was. It's a little unnerving, but that's business side of pro sports, you just have to deal with it."
"I'm quite excited to be coming to Winnipeg," said Neufeld. "I spoke to Mr. Ferguson on the phone and he told me that they've been pursuing me for some time and was pleased that they will finally able to make a deal with the Whalers to bring me to Winnipeg. I know they thought highly of Dave Babych, so I know they must have wanted me. Of course you don't want to be traded, but at least you know the team that traded for you really wanted you. Hopefully my luck will change and I'll be able to hang on for a few more years in the league. I hope to be able to contribute to a solid third-place finish in the Smythe Division for the Jets. Mr. Ferguson told me that's what they're shooting for this year, and hopefully we can get there. Maybe we can even win a playoff game."
Neufeld was originally selected by the Whalers in the fourth round of the 1979 Entry Draft and spent his first full season with the Whalers in 1982-1983.