Top 10 Trade Deadline Deals in Canucks History
With the NHL's trade deadline set for February 27 and with the Vancouver Canucks again in a strong position to compete for the Stanley Cup, the team will no doubt be looking to add a player or two who could make the difference between winning and losing the Cup.
The Canucks have traditionally been bit players in the NHL's annual re-shuffling and once again figure to make only minor moves this season, but some of the biggest changes in team history have occurred at the deadline. With that in mind, we look at the team's top 10 trade deadline deals.
No. 10: Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe and a 3rd-Round Pick for Trevor Linden
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This deal, made Feb. 6, 1998 with the New York Islanders, came approximately six weeks prior to the trade deadline.
Although many fans were upset to see favourite son Trevor Linden dealt, the trade’s positive impact on the team cannot be denied. Bertuzzi was a unique talent who could dominate games with his strength and skill. McCabe, a gifted offensive defenceman, was the key component in Brian Burke’s draft day trading that eventually allowed the team to draft Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
The third-round pick turned into Jarko Ruutu, an effective agitator for the Canucks, and later, the Senators, Penguins and Ducks. The only reason this trade is not much higher on the list is the fact that it is not a “deadline deal” in the true sense of the term.
No. 9: John Garrett for Anders Eldebrink
Aside from his remarkable performance in the 1983 All-Star Game, in which he was initially named MVP only to have a late scoring surge from Wayne Gretzky take that honour away from him, John Garrett’s career with the Canucks was quite unremarkable. His high goals against average and low save percentage were typical of journeymen goalies of the 80s.
Garrett has, however, served as the colour commentator for the Canucks broadcasts since 2002, and at this job, he is better than unremarkable. He is actually very insightful and likeable.
No. 8: Murray Craven and a 5th-Round Pick for Robert Kron, a 3rd-Round Pick and Futures
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By necessity, teams that go to the Stanley Cup Finals have a tremendous amount of depth. Murray Craven will never be characterized as a gifted offensive player, but he was a solid role player who contributed 13 points in the Canucks run to the Cup in 1993-94.
No. 7: Brendan Morrison and Dennis Pederson for Alexander Mogilny
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This trade would probably make the list of best deadline deals in Devils history, particularly considering that Mogilny and the Devils went on to win the Stanley Cup in 1999-00, but it was also a good deal for Vancouver.
The Canucks were able to acquire a key component in their rebuilding project in Morrison, who served as the centreman on the “West Coast Express," one of the best lines in hockey throughout the early 2000s.
Morrison was able to provide linemates Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi with skilled passing and defensive responsibility, two components that only he could bring to that line.
No. 6: Maxim Lapierre and MacGregor Sharp for Joe Perrault and a 3rd-Round Pick
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Team chemistry is a concern with any trade deadline deal, and it’s that much more of a concern when your team is the best in the league, as the Canucks were last season.
With that in mind, the addition of Lapierre was a risky one. Lapierre had already been traded from Montreal to Anaheim in the 2010-11 season and had had locker room issues for both the Canadiens and Ducks.
But the Lapierre deal gave the Canucks an added grit and energy that served them well in the playoffs, particularly in the absence of the injured Manny Maholtra.
No. 5: Chris Higgins for Evan Oberg and a 3rd-Round Pick
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Higgins provided much-needed scoring depth for the Canucks team that lost to the Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
He was playing even better this season until he was sidelined with foot and hand injuries. Picking up a talented and motivated Higgins for a mid-level prospect in Oberg and a draft pick was a steal for GM Mike Gillis and the Canucks.
No. 4: Brett Hedican, Jeff Brown and Nathan LaFayett for Craig Janney
When the Blues signed restricted free agent Petr Nedved of the Canucks, Craig Janney was assigned to the Canucks as compensation. The disgruntled Janney, however, refused to play for the Canucks, forcing Canucks management to trade him back to St. Louis. By acquiring Hedican and Brown, the Canucks were provided with the defensive depth they needed for their 1993-94 Stanley Cup run.
Pavel Bure’s legendary goal in Game 7 against Calgary (perhaps the most memorable in team history) would not have been possible without the brilliant pass from Brown. This deal would have been higher on the list if not for the post that prevented LaFayette from tying Game 7 of the Finals.
No. 3: Jyrki Lumme for a 2nd-Round Pick
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Lumme is undeniably one of the best defensemen in Canucks history. His 321 points rank him second behind only Mattias Ohlund in all time scoring amongst Canucks defensemen. In addition, he was the best all-around defensemen on the Canucks Stanley Cup Finals team of 1993-94.
No. 2: Courtnall, Ronning, Momesso, Dirk and Futures for Quinn and Butcher
It is safe to say that the Canucks would not have made their run to the 1993-94 Stanley Cup Finals had this trade not been made. Geoff Courtnall, Cliff Ronning and Sergio Momesso, with 19, 15 and seven playoff points respectively, were all key contributors to the team that lost in Game 7 to Mark Messier’s New York Rangers.
The Blues received Dan Quinn and Garth Butcher, both solid contributors for the Canucks, but both players whose best years were behind them.
No. 1: Markus Naslund for Alek Stojanov
The goal of trade deadline deals is typically to prepare a team for a long playoff run. The deal that tops this list, however, did not help the Canucks in the 1995-96 season (a season in which they finished below .500 and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs), but instead reaped them long-term rewards.
In exchange for Alex Stojanov and his two career goals, the Canucks received one of the best players in their history. Naslund captained the team for a record eight seasons, recorded a team-best 346 goals and 756 career points in a Canucks uniform, and eventually became just one of three Canucks to have his jersey retired (Trevor Linden and Stan Smyl being the others).
Although the Canucks won only two playoff rounds in Naslund’s tenure with the team, his talent on the ice, in addition to his contributions to the community off the ice, cannot be overlooked. All that in exchange for a career minor leaguer in Stojanov adds up to the best deadline deal in the Canucks’ history.