There have been NHL players changing positions for a very long time.
Frederick Wellington Taylor may not ring a bell but Cyclone Taylor is known to vintage hockey fans. The 5-foot-8 and 165-pound Taylor was converted to forward in 1913 and went on to win five scoring titles as a member of the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA).
Taylor was known for taking the puck as a defenseman and rushing the puck up the ice, most of the time untouched. He then earned the name “Cyclone” as it seemed to fit the speed at which he played.
He was a pure goal-scorer throughout his career, even in the defensive position. He had a sneaky shot that would always elude the goaltender and used that to his advantage while playing a gritty style of game.
Taylor would win 2 Stanley Cups, one with the Ottawa Senators in 1909 and one with Vancouver in 1915. He would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947 and was later inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame along with the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.
Taylor would finish his career but went on to bigger and better things, remaining in the game of hockey. He was named the inaugural president of the Pacific Coast Hockey League (PCHL) from 1936-1940. He would have an incredible career as a player and would be one of the first real goal-scorers of his time.
After breaking his hip in 1978, his health began a downward spiral. He left his earth on June 9, 1979, in the place where he spent most of his hockey career, in Vancouver.
He would be honored by the Vancouver Canucks organization, having a trophy named after him, the “Cyclone Taylor Trophy”, given to the team’s Most Valuable Player.