Wayne McBean

Wayne McBean is forever linked in hockey's memory more for who he dated than anything he accomplished in the NHL.

McBean of course dated Alyssa Milano - Tony Danza's TV daughter on Who's The Boss at the time. She of course would go on to several other notable gigs. McBean, not so much.

McBean was selected by the Kings fourth overall in the 1987 draft. He was a fantastic skater. The Hockey News raved about the Memorial Cup MVP in their annual draft preview.

"I think McBean is the best player in the draft. Better than everyone, including Pierre Turgeon and Brendan Shanahan," says one scout.

"He controls the game when he's out there. He would be one of the best players on any major junior team in Canada."

THN champions McBean as the best defenseman available, ahead of future long time NHLers Glen Wesley, Stephane Quintal, Luke Richardson, Yves Racine and Eric Desjardins, as well as junior standouts Chris Joseph and Bryan Fogarty.

So what went wrong? Why did McBean never truly emerge as a NHL player?

I suspect the Kings rushed him to the big leagues. Even the best junior defensemen need more time to develop their games to be NHL ready. The Kings, cursed with a thin blue line and weak goaltending, used him in 27 games that first season and he struggled defensively and offensively, picking up just one assist.

A year (and 33 more games) later McBean was traded with fellow prospect (and junior teammmate) Mark Fitzpatrick (Doug Crossman would also be part of the deal later) for goaltender Kelly Hrudey. Gretzky's Kings were in 'win now' mode and sacrificed the future for the goaltender they lacked.

Perhaps the Kings were comfortable releasing McBean as they saw him struggle greatly with the NHL level of play. He could have really benefited from another season in Medicine Hat and a season of apprenticing in the AHL or with the Canadian national team at the time. But the Kings rushed him in. Compounding the situation of high expectations was Gretzky's spotlight. The Milano paparazzi may have only compounded the situation. That's a lot for anyone to handle, never mind a teenager.

McBean never got untracked on Long Island either. Over the next 5 seasons he only played in 120 games in the NHL. He was up and down to the minors, and really battled injuries. A serious knee injury topped that list.

McBean joined the Winnipeg Jets in 1993-94, only to suffer a career ending wrist injury.

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