While we're in the playoff state of mind in the NHL, we're going to profile a goalie who may have not had any experience in the NHL playoffs, but other leagues-- he was a gem in the second season. Going undrafted and paying his dues, he got to the NHL, even if it was for a short time. This week, a look at the career of Joe Daley.
Daley started his trek by playing in the Saskatchewan junior leagues with the Weyburn Red Wings, but had an inawespicous start in the 1961-62 season going 17-29-7 in 53 games. Also, he would play in the EPHL with the Sudbury Wolves for a game, a loss. Daley returned to Weyburn in the 1962-63 season with better results during his 51 games, going 28-17-6 with three shutouts to boot.
In the 1963-64 season, Daley made the jump to the pro ranks, playing with the Eastern League's Johnstown Jets and held his own, going 40-22-4 in 66 games with the Jets, then going 5-5 in ten playoff games; all while winning Rookie of the Year honors. Daley was able to get a call from the Pittsburgh Hornets of the AHL for two games (1-1-0) and the Cincinnati Wings of the CPHL, losing the only game he played in there. Daley would stay in Johnstown for the 1964-65 season, going 41-31-0 in 72 games, but only going 2-3 in five playoff games.
Daley would be signed by the Detroit Red Wings before the 1965-66 season and sent to the CPHL's Memphis Wings, where he would play 68 games with a 25-31-12 for the Wings. Daley would also play that season for eight games in the Western League's San Francisco Seals (5-2-1). The 1966-67 season saw Daley back in Memphis for 50 games, sporting a 23-21-5 record in the regular season and 3-4 in the post-season, while also playing with the AHL's Pittsburgh Hornets going 11-1-3 in only 16 games.
Due to the NHL expansion, Daley was picked up off waivers by the newly formed Pittsburgh Penguins, becoming the first member of the Penguins. However, the 1967-68 season has Daley play with the Baltimore Clippers of the AHL, where he would go 23-25-8 in 56 games. However, Daley would get his time in the 1968-69 season, playing behind Les Binkley in Pittsburgh and playing 29 games with a 10-13-3 record in his first season in the NHL. The 1969-70 season had Daley in Pittsburgh for nine games, going 1-5-3 before being sent to the Clippers for the rest of the season, playing in 34 games (no record provided) with a 3.44 GAA in the process and 1-4 record in five playoff games.
Daley was made available for the 1970 Intra-League Draft, where he became the first player rostered of the Buffalo Sabres, as that draft took place before the Expansion Draft happened. Daley played the 1970-71 season in Buffalo behind Roger Crozier, playing in 38 games with a 12-16-8 record. However, that wasn't enough to keep him there for long.
The Sabres put Daley on waivers, where he was picked up by the Detroit Red Wings. Back with the Wings, Daley would play in 29 games and go 11-10-5 behind Al Smith in the 1971-72 season. He would later be claimed in the AHL reserve draft by the Cincinnati Swords, but Daley decided to go on a different path.
Daley was picked by the Winnipeg Jets in the WHA player draft and would find his way into the WHA for some more job security. Daley would play behind Ernie Wakely for 29 games, going 17-10-1, then going 5-2 in seven playoff games, as the Jets would lose in the Avco Cup final. Daley would split time with Wakely in the 1973-74 season, playing in 41 games and going 19-20-1, while he would get the starting gig in the 1974-75 season, playing 51 games with a 23-21-4 record by season's end. Daley would be the backstop for the powerhouse Jets team in the 1975-76 season, going 41-17-1 in 62 games with five shutouts, then going 10-1 in 12 playoff appearances to help the Jets win the Avco Cup. That year, Daley would be a WHA First Team All-Star.
Back in Winnipeg for the 1976-77 season, Daley kept going in playing 65 games for the Jets, going 39-23-2 over the season, then 11-9 in 20 playoff games, where the Jets would lose in the Avco Cup Finals. The 1977-78 season saw Daley's time dwindle with the acquisition of former AGM Gary Bromley, as Daley would only see 37 games and going 21-11-1, as well as posting a 4-1 playoff record in five games, helping the Jets to yet another Avco Cup. Daley would be the back-up to Markus Mattsson in 1978-79, playing in only 23 games with a 7-11-3 record, but not registering a decision in three playoffs games-- another playoffs where the Jets would take home the Avco Cup; the last team to do so.
Daley would retired after that season, leaving the WHA as the all-time winning goalie (regular season and playoffs), tied with the single-season shutout mark (5 in 1975-76), and three Avco Cup-- all with the Jets.
After his playing career, Daley coached the Pentincton Knights in the 1981-82 season, but would relocate to Winnipeg to open up "Joe Daley Sports Cards," which is one of the bigger outlets for cards and memorabilia.
While he didn't make too much of a mark in the NHL, Daley was one of the guys who enjoyed the WHA coming along because it game him a chance to shine and actually play. Lucky for him, he had some great teams in front of him and showed how successful he could be in the right circumstances.