One of the NHL’s first players that could be described as vastly injury-prone, Marcel Pronovost could not escape getting hurt. However, that was caused more by his style of play rather than flukes.
Pronovost began his career in Detroit in the 1950-51 season. He would play there for the next 15 seasons, helping the Red Wings win three Stanley Cups during his tenure. After his 15th season in Detroit, he would be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in an eight-player deal that sent Leaf great Andy Bathgate to Michigan.
He would then join a Leafs blue line that already included players like Tim Horton, Jim McKenny, Al Arbour, Bobby Baun and Allan Stanley in 1965-66. That group, with the exception of Arbour, stayed together the next season, helping guide the Maple Leafs to their last Stanley Cup in 1967.
In his five seasons with the Leafs, Pronovost played 223 of his 1,206 career games. While he only amassed 48 points as a Leaf, he was never known for his offensive game. He was a kamikaze-style defenseman that was just as likely to throw a hit as he was to be hit by an opposing player.
Despite having an injury-filled career that included all sorts of ailments, Pronovost helped guide a dynasty in Detroit and then helped finish a dynasty in Toronto.
Marcel was the most underrated defenceman ever to play in the league. When he hit you, you were hit. He was a tremendous skater and defensively, he was as good as anyone. He might have been overlooked by the press, but he was never overlooked by his teammates. Years later, I brought him back to Detroit as a coach. He is very knowledgeable and a very astute observer of the game.