Protected lists this year were 18 skaters and two goaltenders. As always first-year professionals were exempt. Teams were no longer allowed to protect additional young players as they had been in '77 and '78.
The draft was held on October 8.
|Player||Picked by||Picked from||Player dropped from|
|Claim player or cash|
|Yvon Vautour||Colorado Rockies||New York Islanders||Gary Croteau||cash|
|John Wensink||Quebec Nordiques||Boston Bruins||Curt Brackenbury||cash|
|Rick Smith||Detroit Red Wings||Boston Bruins||Dennis Polonich||cash|
|Curt Brackenbury||Edmonton Oilers||Quebec Nordiques||Colin Campbell||cash|
|Colin Campbell||Vancouver Canucks||Edmonton Oilers||Harold Phillipoff||cash|
Many sources also attribute the Nordiques' acquisition of Dan Geoffrion from the Canadiens to this draft but that was not the case. Geoffrion was indeed left off the Canadiens' protected list but the Nordiques had priority claim on him. One of the conditions of the merger agreement between the WHA and NHL was that any players reclaimed by the NHL clubs from the WHA clubs and subsequently offered on waivers had to be offered to the former WHA club from which he was reclaimed first. If his former WHA club waived their claim he would then be offered to the other three WHA clubs. If they waived, he would then be allowed to be claimed by any club. Geoffrion had to be offered to the Nordiques first, before the draft. The Nordiques claimed him, and after the draft traded him to the Jets for cash.
Another condition of this arrangement was the waiver price. The Nordiques only paid $100 for Geoffrion. The amount of money they received from the Jets for him later that day was undisclosed, but it was surely more than a hundred bucks.