The Biggest Trade Disaster in Each NHL Team's History

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IMarch 5, 2012

The Biggest Trade Disaster in Each NHL Team's History

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    Every team has made some good trades in their history, and every team has had a few disasters. There are minor losses, and then there are biblical failures, the likes of which have cost general managers their jobs and left fans to be taunted by other fans on Twitter and in bars for years.

    What follows is a look at the worst trade in the history of every NHL team. For teams that have relocated, we have restricted this list to moves that have been made at their current location.

    We look forward to any mistakes that may also be worthy of mention in the comments.


Anaheim Ducks

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    At the 2009 NHL draft, the Ducks sent Chris Pronger to Philadelphia for Joffrey Lupol, Luca Sbisa, and two first-round picks.

    This deal wasn't great for the Ducks at the time, mostly because they traded away a Hall of Fame defenseman they couldn't replace at the time. But the tragedy here was compounded when they traded Lupol and prospect Jake Gardiner to the Leafs for Francois Beauchemin.

    Ultimately, the trickle down of trading away Pronger was an All-Star forward, and the top young blue line prospect joined Pronger playing somewhere other than Anaheim.

Boston Bruins

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    So how did forwards Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau and defenseman Brad Stuart do for the Bruins? That's what Boston landed in an early-December blockbuster that sent Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks in 2005.

    Thornton has gone on to post number that have him in the conversation for the Hall of Fame someday.

Buffalo Sabres

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    Stop me if you've heard this one before: So a team traded a second round pick for Dominic Moore, and...

    Yeah, the Sabres aren't the only team to have moved a second-round pick for Moore, but they were so underwhelmed by his performance that they would have likely preferred the second-round pick be forfeited.

Calgary Flames

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    In early March 1988, the Flames decided to part ways with a player with a huge name and was having a pretty good season.

    At the time of the trade, Brett Hull had 50 points in 52 games, but the Flames decided they would be better served with defenseman Rob Ramage and goalie Rick Wansley.

    Hull went on to post 1,340 points after leaving Calgary and lived up to the billing of his famous last name. He's in the Hall of Fame.

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Acquiring Ron Francis might have been one of the better trades in Carolina/Hartford history, but trading Francis away to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a fourth-round pick in the 2005 draft was a disaster.

    There wasn't a lot left for Francis, but he should have finished his career in Carolina.

Chicago Blackhawks

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    The Blackhawks have made enough epic disaster trades in their history for the entire NHL. From Jeremy Roenick for Alexei Zhamnov to a couple picks for Dominik Hasek and trading hometown hero Chris Chelios to the Red Wings, the 1990s were brutal for Hawks fans.

    But no deal in team history—indeed, perhaps in league history—was as bad as the deal that sent a young forward named Phil Esposito to Boston.

    Esposito went on to put up incredible numbers in Boston and is regarded as one of the best pure scorers in the history of the game. The Hawks tried to make it up to his family by stealing his brother Tony from Montreal a couple years later, but Chicago fans will forever wonder, "What if Espo had stayed in Chicago?"

Colorado Avalanche

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    It's hard to project a trade that only took place 12 months ago as the worst in a franchise's history, but last year's trade between St. Louis and Colorado has looked like a one-way win to date.

    Kevin Shattenkirk looks like a stud, and while Chris Stewart has frustrated fans in both cities, the results in St. Louis have been significantly better than the Avs have received from Jay McClement and Erik Johnson.

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Just last summer, the Jackets traded Jakub Voracek, the eighth overall draft pick (Sean Couturier) and a third-round draft pick (Nick Cousins) in the 2011 draft to Philadelphia for Jeff Carter.

    Carter was hurt a lot, and wasn't terribly effective when he did play, and is now in Los Angeles.

Dallas Stars

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    Another deal from last season's trade deadline makes the list, but the Stars haven't had a terrible history in dealing.

    Last year, when the Stars sent James Neal and Matt Niskanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Alex Goligoski, they were trying to make a good trade of undervalued assets. Unfortunately, Neal appears to have been overwhelmingly undervalued by the Stars; he's been among the league's leading scorers all season with the Pens.

Detroit Red Wings

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    In 1957, the Wings' Jack Adams made an emotional move that would ultimately bite him in the backside.

    Because of off-ice politics, Adams traded future Hall of Famers Ted Lindsay and Glenn Hall to the Chicago Blackhawks for Johnny Wilson, Forbes Kennedy, Hank Bassen and William Preston.

    Lindsay fell out of favor for supporting the birth of the players' union, while Hall and Adams had a number of disagreements at the beginning of Hall's career. Hall went on to become one of the best netminders of his generation in Chicago, leading the Hawks to the 1961 Stanley Cup.

Edmonton Oilers

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    They traded Wayne Gretzky. The end.

Florida Panthers

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    Back in 2006, the Panthers decided to part ways with a solid young netminder.

    They traded Roberto Luongo with Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round pick in the 2006 draft (Sergei Shirokov) to the Vancouver Canucks for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen, Alex Auld and a conditional pick in the 2007 draft.

    Obviously, Bertuzzi, Allen and Auld continue to play in the NHL, but none of them have been between the pipes for a gold medal-winning game or into a Stanley Cup Finals. Indeed, Bertuzzi's best hockey has been played outside of Florida.

Los Angeles Kings

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    After six games in the 1983-84 season, the LA Kings traded defenseman Larry Murphy to the Washington Capitals for Ken Houston and Brian Engblom. Yes, that Brian Engblom.

    Murphy went on to have an exceptional career, while Engblom might have the second-worst hairpiece on television behind The Donald.

Minnesota Wild

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    Three years ago, the Minnesota Wild made a move to add a young defenseman. They moved an older defenseman, Kim Johnsson, and a prospect in college to Chicago for Cam Barker.

    Unfortunately, the college kid's name was Nick Leddy, a former high school Mr. Hockey in Minnesota who was starring as a freshman at the University of Minnesota.

    Two years later, he's averaging over 20 minutes per game for the Blackhawks, while Barker has since been bought out by the Wild.

Montreal Canadiens

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    For any Original Six team, there is enough history that there have been some really bad trades. The Habs have certainly had their share of mistakes (see Roy, Patrick), but a deal involving a couple Hall of Famers takes the cake as the worst.

    In 1990, the Habs traded young defenseman (and Norris Trophy winner) Chris Chelios to the Blackhawks for a superstar many in Montreal thought should have been in Montreal his entire life, Denis Savard.

    Savard had decent numbers in parts of three seasons for the Habs, but was never fully healthy and didn't get close to the 100-point player he was in Chicago. Chelios, on the other hand, was a superstar captain and All-Star in Chicago, winning the Norris Trophy again. He won the Cup a couple more times in Detroit as well.

Nashville Predators

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    Today, the Preds might not miss Tomas Vokoun because of Pekka Rinne being on their roster. In 2007, Nashville moved Vokoun to Florida for three draft picks because he was too expensive.

    It's encouraging for Preds fans that they have now decided to spend money long-term on a goalie.

New Jersey Devils

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    Most fans thought a year ago that the Devils' worst trade ever was the deal that acquired Ilya Kovalchuk. But to Kovalchuk's credit, he's adjusted his game to how they do things in New Jersey and is back to being a point-per-game player.

    This year, though, the Devils may have made a bigger mistake.

    They unloaded Kurtis Foster, Stephane Veilleux, prospect Nick Palmieri, and a second-round pick in 2013 (the pick the Washington Capitals traded to the Devils) and a conditional third-round pick for defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who had been benched and was clearly on his way out in Minnesota.

    Zidlicky's a nice player, but he certainly isn't worth that package and won't be around Jersey long enough to be worth Palmeiri and the two picks.

New York Islanders

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    Sure, he might have had superstar potential, but the Islanders traded away Zdeno Chara and a draft pick that became Jason Spezza for a guy they'll pay for longer than most players in the NHL have been alive.

    This might have been the worst trade in NHL history.

New York Rangers

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    Ken Hodge had been a nice player for the Bruins, so when they traded him to the Rangers for Rick Middleton, the Boston faithful hoped they would get a decent return.

    In 12 years, Middleton posted almost 900 points for the B's. Not bad.

Ottawa Senators

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    In late November 1996, the Sens traded Pavol Demitra to the St. Louis Blues for Christer Olsson.

    If you haven't heard of Olsson, don't feel bad; most hockey fans haven't thought much of him. But Demitra was widely regarded as a class act and put up fantastic numbers for the Blues.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    In early December 2005, the Flyers traded from a position of perceived strength and moved Patrick Sharp and Eric Meloche to Chicago for Matt Ellison and a third-round pick.

    Less than five years after the trade, Patrick Sharp was raising the Stanley Cup on Philly's ice as a member of the Blackhawks. He's also been an All-Star Game MVP.

    Ellison...not so much.

Phoenix Coyotes

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    In 2003, the Coyotes traded Danny Briere with a third-round pick in the 2004 draft to the Buffalo Sabres for Chris Gratton and a fourth-round pick in 2004.

    Gratton had 30 points in parts of two seasons with the Coyotes before he was traded out of Phoenix, while Briere has been a really good forward for the Sabres and Flyers since.

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    In 1996, the Pens traded Markus Naslund to the Canucks for a guy named Alex Stojanov. Stojanov had six points in 45 games with the Pens, while Naslund had almost 800 points in a Canucks sweater.

San Jose Sharks

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    Dany Heatley might not be the superstar he once was, but trading him straight-up for Martin Havlat has been a clear mistake for the Sharks.

    Havlat, who has passed 20 goals three times since 2004, has been out because of a number of injuries for most of this season, while Heatley has 46 points for the Wild.

St. Louis Blues

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    Despite winning the 2000 Norris Trophy for the Blues, St. Louis traded Chris Pronger for Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka.

    Brewer spent some decent time in St. Louis, but nothing close to what Pronger was for the Blues, and has continued to be as an NHL captain and All-Star.

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    In 2008, the Lightning traded Brad Richards to the Dallas Stars in a blockbuster deal that brought goaltender Mike Smith, center Jeff Halpern and left wing Jussi Jokinen back to Tampa.

    If you can't see that this was an epic disaster just by looking at the names, we'll remind you that Richards had more points in the 2009-10 season (91) than Jokinen and Halpern had in their Lightning careers combined (81).

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    In October 1989, the Maple Leafs traded their first-round pick in the 1991 draft to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Tom Kurvers.

    Kurvers played 89 games for the Leafs before being moved to the Canucks, while the pick Toronto traded to New Jersey ended up being the third overall selection, which became Scott Niedermayer.

Vancouver Canucks

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    In early June 1986, the Canucks moved a first-round pick and Cam Neely to the Boston Bruins for center Barry Pederson.

    Pederson may have passed 70 points in each of his first two seasons in Vancouver, but Neely became an iconic Hall of Famer in Boston.

Washington Capitals

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    Anson Carter is a really nice guy, and he's doing a wonderful job right now on NHL Network providing analysis.

    But in 2003, the Washington Capitals traded Jaromir Jagr to the New York Rangers for Carter. One-for-one, straight up.

Winnipeg Jets

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    In their brief history, the biggest trade made by the Jets has actually looked pretty good on paper, acquiring a second- and third-round pick for veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya. Oduya will be a free agent this summer.

    So, until they screw something up, the Jets get a pass.