Blues alumnus Scott Mellanby had a very long career. He was drafted 24th in the 1984 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, played two games, got horribly injured in a barroom fight (the cut on his arm sliced four tendons), and didn’t play his first full season until 1986-1987. That gave him at least two years of aging and conditioning, and as a member of the Flyers he used his size and strength to his advantage. The same ethos that led him to defend a friend in a fight made him an extremely tough competitor who was always more than willing to play with an edge if that meant that his team and teammates were successful.
If you look up “blue collar” in the dictionary (if you even still have one of those things) there is a picture of Mellanby in it. Depending on where you bought that dictionary, it’s either a photo of him in a Blues sweater or a Florida Panthers sweater. After five solid seasons with the Flyers and two with the Edmonton Oilers, Mellanby and his 1038 penalty minutes in 524 games played went to the Florida Panthers in the 1993 expansion draft.
The Panthers were not a good team out of the gate but Mellanby made his mark by scoring the franchise’s first goal. The Panthers by 1996, however, were the Cinderellas of the NHL, making it to the Stanley Cup Final. Many credit this to Scott Mellanby killing a rat with his stick before the team’s home opener that season, then scoring two goals with the same stick. The “rat trick” was born, and whenever their team makes the post-season, Panthers fans make the rubber rats fly.
Mellanby spent seven and a half seasons with the Panthers before he was traded to the Blues in February of 2001 for Dave Morisset and a fifth-round pick in the 2002 entry draft. By the 2002-2003 season, Mellanby had turned back the hands of time to the 1996-1997 season, scoring 26 goals and 57 points on the year - and adding 176 PIM in 80 games played for good measure. He was allowed to go to free agency the following summer and signed with the Atlanta Thrashers. He became the only Thrashers captain to retire in the jersey when his career ended in 2007.
Scott Mellanby made it to the Stanley Cup Finals twice, but never won. It’s sad to see a player who encapsulated such a solid work ethic not be rewarded with hockey’s ultimate prize. Mellanby spent two seasons with the Blues as an assistant coach before working with the Montreal Canadiens as an assistant general manager, which is a nice coda to a long career.
Mellanby probably isn’t getting into the HHOF any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t appreciate him around here.
How many guys do you know who can score a greasy powerplay goal, trigger the opposition’s goalie into fighting, and then get bonus power play time for their team because of the goalie losing his cool?
This is my favorite example of Mellanby being a team player:
“You don’t run over Pavol Demitra.” Damn straight you don’t.