Pat Boutette was a hardnosed but productive forward who spent 10 seasons in the National Hockey League. He enjoyed spells with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Hartford Whalers, and Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1970s and ’80s. During a career that saw him total 477 points in 802 regular season and playoff games at hockey’s highest level, Boutette played alongside Gordie Howe and briefly represented Canada.
Boutette was born in Windsor on March 1, 1952. By the age of five, he was involved in the Riverside Minor Hockey system, where he would play with distinction until 1969. In his final year with Riverside, Boutette won the OMHA Midget Championship.
Boutette spent one season (1969-70) with the OHL’s London Knights before joining up with the University of Minnesota, which competed in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. In 1972-73, his last of three seasons in college hockey, he contributed 18 goals and 45 assists for 63 points in only 34 games. Boutette was named an NCAA First-Team West All-American and Second-Team WCHA All-Star.
The Toronto Maple Leafs selected Boutette in the ninth round (139th overall) of the 1972 NHL entry draft. He spent two seasons with the Oklahoma City Blazers in the CHL before graduating to the NHL club, where he stayed from the 1975-76 to ’79-80 seasons. During his time with the Leafs, Boutette reached the quarterfinals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in ’76 and the semifinals in ’78.
Midway through the 1979-80 season, Boutette moved to the Hartford Whalers, where he would suit up alongside Gordie Howe, Dave Keon, and Bobby Hull and enjoy the most productive season of his career. Boutette scored at an exactly point-per-game pace in ’80-81, with 28 goals and 52 assists in 80 contests. The noteworthy campaign earned him a call to play for Team Canada in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in Sweden. He played in six matches during the tournament, managing one goal and one assist.
The next season, Boutette moved to Pittsburgh, where he tallied 26 goals and 52 assists for 78 points in 85 games. He played for the Penguins from 1981-82 to ’84-85, during which season he returned to the Whalers. He finished that campaign with the Binghamton Whalers, the team’s AHL affiliate, before calling it a career.
Boutette finished his career with 181 goals, 296 assists, and 477 points over 802 regular season and playoffs games in the NHL. He added 1,463 penalty minutes to round out an impressive NHL resume.