The Best NHL Trades by Team (Part 1)
One of the most exciting events that a hockey fan can experience, even if there isn't any hockey being played, is a trade. Fans are always anticipating and investigating the next big trade that could help their favourite team reach that next level.
In this slideshow, we will reflect on the best/worst trades made in the NHL by every team.
For the sake of young and old hockey fans alike, let us look at the "modern" NHL by focusing on trades that occurred post-lockout (the first one).
This may be the first of two sets of slideshows examining each team's modern trade history. This is the first half of the "best of," and the second half will be followed by a "worst of." If you like that idea, please let me know and I'll be happy to do it.
Some of the biggest trades in Anaheim Ducks history have involved Chris Pronger. Oddly enough, the deal that brought Pronger to the Ducks in 2006, and the deal that took him out of Anaheim in 2009 both involved Joffrey Lupul. These two were very big trades, but any deal that wins a franchise a championship warrants the title of "best" trade.
In 2006, the Ducks made a blockbuster trade with the Edmonton Oilers:
2007 First-Round Pick - Nick Ross
2008 Second-Round Pick - Travis Hamonic
Conditional 2008 First-Round Pick - Jordan Eberle
Now, some may argue that Edmonton won this deal, but let's look a little further.
Edmonton, no doubt, acquired a real superstar in this deal. Not Lupul. Not Smid. Certainly not Ross or Hamonic. The real steal in this deal is and was Jordan Eberle. He is perhaps the most clutch performer in the entire league, and undoubtedly has an extremely bright future in this league, especially surrounded by a young team of superstars in Edmonton. He fits right in.
However, the other parts of the deal aren't as great. Smid is still with the Oilers, which I'm sure Edmonton is happy about. However, many hockey fans have never heard of Nick Ross. Travis Hamonic never played a game for the Oilers, as his draft pick was traded to the Islanders. And Joffrey Lupul only recorded 28 points in one season with the Oilers.
Anaheim, on the other hand, with the help of fantastic numbers from Pronger on the blue line, won a Stanley Cup.
This is a steal if ever there was one.
The Boston Bruins have made many significant trades that helped make them the powerhouse team they are today. But this...this is just robbery.
In the 2006 offseason, the Boston Bruins traded the once-promising, then-struggling Andrew Raycroft to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Toronto's former first-round pick Tuukka Rask.
The previous season, Raycroft had played in 30 games, posting a GAA not far from 4.00 and a save percentage of .879. Yikes. Raycroft went on to play two seasons and 91 games in Toronto, posting a GAA of no better than 2.99.
Most recently, Raycroft played most of last season with Dallas' farm team, where he posted numbers that I don't even want to post because I know Leaf fans will just start breaking down (as if they already haven't).
Rask, on the other hand, is still with the Bruins organization and is expected to take over the starting position after Tim Thomas announced he would be taking a year off (at least) from the game. Rask has played three seasons so far, recording a GAA in and around 2.00 and, most recently, a save percentage of .929.
Good trade? Meh, I guess...
In June 2008, the Buffalo Sabres made a trade with the Los Angeles Kings (now there's a trade relationship you don't hear about everyday). The Sabres organization must have done their homework when they made this trade. I say this because they ended up drafting a man that could be the face of their franchise for many years to come.
Los Angeles Acquires:
2008 13th Overall - Colton Teubert
2008 Third-Round Pick - Ryan Howse
2008 12th Overall - Tyler Myers
First of all, it surprises me that Tyler Myers slipped all the way down to 12th overall in the 2008 draft. Secondly, WOW.
On the Kings' side of things, Colton Teubert is no longer with the club. He was packaged in a deal to Edmonton which brought Dustin Penner to LA. And as for Ryan Howse? Who knows. And who cares. He's probably somewhere in the AHL, destined to be there his entire career.
In this deal, Buffalo acquires a beast of an athlete; a second-coming of Zdeno Chara. And honestly, which team wouldn't like to have that.
When all is said and done though, the Penner deal which Teubert was a part of did eventually get them a Stanley Cup. So are the real winners of this deal, the Kings?
Personally, I'm not buying it.
Myers > Teubert.
On Free Agency Day in 2008, the Chicago Blackhawks made a trade with the Calgary Flames which would greatly impact the improvement of the Flames three years down the road.
2010 Second-Round Pick (later traded to the Maple Leafs for Jimmy Hayes)
Bourque had decent numbers in Chicago. He was, by no standards, an essential part of that team and at the time of the trade, this seemed like a fair deal. However, when Bourque arrived in Calgary as a member of the Flames, his numbers skyrocketed. He was seen as a scorer with a big body, and the league took notice.
Not much happened on Chicago's side of things. When the 2010 NHL Entry Draft came around, they found themselves trading this draft pick to the Maple Leafs for a prospect named Jimmy Hayes. Toronto used the pick to select forward Bradley Ross of the Portland Pirates.
Fast forward a year or two.
Rene Bourque was traded to the Montreal Canadiens—a deal which brought former Flame, sniper Mike Cammalleri, back to Calgary. This deal was only possible because of the high numbers Bourque posted in Calgary when he was traded from Chicago.
The Hurricanes are a team to be wary of this season. They are the most improved team in the NHL, by far. They've solidified a legitimate scoring unit by adding sniper Alex Semin through free agency, and also by uniting brothers.
2012 Eighth Overall - Derrick Pouliot
It is far too early to declare a "winner" in this trade, but on paper, I think both teams won. Pittsburgh acquires a legitimate third-line centre and a blue-chip prospect on the back-end.
Hurricanes fans must be ecstatic. The Staals are a very talented bunch of boys, and to have two of them on one team is a scary thought. The chemistry on the ice between these two would not be unlike watching a bigger and nastier version of the Sedin twins with all the skill.
This trade is by far the most significant and best overall trade the Carolina Hurricanes have probably ever executed.
Another case of robbery here. Someone call the cops.
In 2005, a couple of months after the conclusion of the lockout, hockey in Chicago began to come alive again, and this trade is arguably what started it all:
2006 Third-Round Pick
To be fair to the Flyers, that third-round pick did turn out to be an NHL player, Ryan White of the Montreal Canadiens. Too bad he didn't play a single game for the Flyers. He wasn't even drafted by the Flyers; the draft pick ended up in the hands of the Canadiens.
Patrick Sharp obviously was a huge part of the Stanley Cup that Chicago won, coincidentally, against the Philadelphia Flyers.
So the winners in this deal?
1. Chicago Blackhawks
2. Montreal Canadiens
3. Philadelphia Flyers.
Fail. You know its a bad deal when you come in third of a two-team deal.
Colorado's best trade in the modern NHL might have been won by the other team.
If you take a look at Colorado's trade history, you'll be surprised to find that the Avalanche are very hesitant with taking big steps from an organizational standpoint.
Their biggest trade in modern history must be proclaimed their best. They acquired a franchise player here.
St. Louis Acquires:
2011 First-Round Pick - Duncan Siemens
Colorado really needed another Adam Foote—someone who could be super dependable on the blue line. That cornerstone. That rock. They got it in Erik Johnson. He doesn't put up huge numbers, but that's not his job. Avalanche fans know what he does, and he can do it for a long time. Another Adam Foote.
Jay McClement is gone via free agency, and Duncan Siemens is still in the system.
St. Louis acquired a great young defenceman that can and has put up great numbers. No wonder St. Louis was second overall in the Western Conference. Chris Stewart was an under-achiever this past season in St. Louis. If he can pick up his game, and if Shattenkirk can maintain his, I think St. Louis wins this deal.
Columbus Blue Jackets
This is not an instance where the biggest trade in the modern era for the club was the best. The best trade the Blue Jackets have executed came this offseason, but did not involve the name Nash.
Both teams may very well win this trade, but I find that very unlikely. This past season, Methot played in 46 games and recorded 7 points. First of all, Methot is unreliable. He is injury prone. You cannot count on him to be in the lineup every night. Secondly, his stats aren't very impressive. But this may be justified.
If he was making less than $2 million, it's alright, isn't it? Well the question is moot, since he has a cap hit of $3 million for the next three years. Oh boy. Hopefully he can find his groove in his hometown.
Now, Nick Foligno. One of the most underrated players in the NHL. He had a great year last season, recording 47 points in 82 games played. Dependable. Productive. Great two-way forward. And given the minutes he'll be playing in Columbus, the sky is the limit for Foligno.
This deal is a total win and a total steal for Columbus.
At the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets swapped draft picks with the Dallas Stars. Little did they know they were trading away a future superstar.
Dallas' Fourth Round Pick - Maksim Mayorov
Columbus' Fifth-Round Pick - Austin Smith
Boston's Fifth-Round Pick - Jamie Benn
Buffalo's Fifth-Round Pick - Michael Neal
This is just bad luck for Columbus, and I guess for Boston as well. Both teams missed out on a great player with great potential.
Jamie Benn has scored 160 points in 222 NHL regular-season games with the Dallas Stars. Even Austin Smith and Michael Neal are still with the Stars organization, contributing at the AHL level.
Maksim Mayorov, on the other hand, has scored three measly points in 22 NHL games with the Blue Jackets, and will likely remain in the AHL for most of his career.
Detroit Red Wings
This is another example of a team executing a decent-sized trade which eventually led them to winning a championship. The Detroit Red Wings were crowned 2008 Stanley Cup Champions after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the player acquired in this trade definitely contributed a major part in the win.
Los Angeles Acquires:
2008 Second-Round Pick (later traded to Colorado for Brad Richardson)
2009 Fourth-Round Pick (later traded to the Atlanta Thrashers)
Los Angeles got a decent player out of this deal in Brad Richardson. The players drafted with these picks have yet to reach their full potential (if any).
So it seems Detroit won this trade outright. They acquired a solid, hard-hitting, stay at home defenceman who eventually helped contribute to a championship.
You know a trade is good when it is the best trade in modern history for BOTH clubs.
Again, we revisit the Pronger to Anaheim deal. But let's not focus on Anaheim's side of things. Let us examine how Edmonton won this deal.
2007 First-Round Pick - Nick Ross
2008 Second-Round Pick (later traded to the New York Islanders)
Conditional 2008 First-Round Pick - Jordan Eberle
If I had to declare one winner in this deal, I'd say it was Anaheim. But Edmonton definitely got what they should have for an All-Star like Pronger.
As stated before, Lupul only spent one season with the Oilers and didn't post impressive numbers. Nick Ross, who? The Oilers traded away the second-round pick to the New York Islanders in a terrible swap (I say terrible because the pick ended up being Travis Hamonic).
The only two assets still with the Oilers organization from this trade are Ladislav Smid and Jordan Eberle. Smid is a solid, top-four, stay at home defenceman that knows how to use his size. Jordan Eberle is a superstar. Period.
So would I do this deal again if it were Eberle and Smid for Pronger? Some would. Some wouldn't. I would do the deal if that second-round pick was still in play; and I wouldn't trade the pick to the Islanders for a guy named Allan Rourke and a third-round pick.
Remember when Brian Campbell was with the Buffalo Sabres? Remember when he was an absolute stud and considered one of the best offensive defencemen in the game? Remember when he was traded to the San Jose Sharks and scored 19 points in 20 games?
He may not be back to that kind of production, but it seems like he's definitely back in the groove.
After a tough 2010-2011 season with the Chicago Blackhawks, Brian Campbell the superstar has been revived in Miami. He is again among the elite point-producing defencemen of the NHL.
Ratislav Olesz, on the other hand, has spent most of his time with Chicago's farm team in Rockford. He has been a huge part of their success, but has yet to become an effective NHL player. In six games with the 'Hawks last season, he was held pointless.
Los Angeles Kings
The LA Kings are a team to be aware of. They steam-rolled their way through the NHL playoffs. Their will and determination is incredible. And with most of the team sticking around, I wouldn't surprised if we had an NHL dynasty era in Los Angeles.
The Kings made many significant trades to get to the next level in the past few years, but one trade which was executed in 2009 was a complete steal.
Los Angeles Acquires:
2009 Second-Round Pick - Brian Dumoulin
Justin Williams just won a cup with the Kings, and scored just shy of 60 points this past season. Impressive. He also scored 15 points in 20 playoff games. More impressive.
The pinnacle of O'Sullivan's career came in 2007-2008 season when he scored 53 points in 82 games with LA. Since then, his point-production has been dropping off significantly and, most recently, has spent the majority of last season with St. Louis' farm team in Peoria.
A complete win for LA.
In the 2011 offseason, the Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks made two blockbuster deals which would dramatically change the complexion of both teams. Both of these trades were big, and both were well-executed and fair, but one of them provided Minnesota with great young talent.
San Jose Acquires:
2012 Second-Round Pick (later traded to Tampa Bay for Dominic Moore)
2011 First-Round Pick - Zach Phillips
San Jose's defence definitely took a step in the right direction by adding a big body in Brent Burns. Despite his stature, he is versatile and provides leadership in the locker room and out on the ice.
Minnesota definitely improved for the future with this trade. They received a solid, young, scoring winger in Setoguchi, but also receive great prospects in Coyle and Phillips.
Great deal for both teams.
In February of 2007, the Montreal Canadiens completed a trade with the San Jose Sharks that would bring players to the most successful hockey franchise in history who would be counted upon to carry on Montreal's tradition of winning.
San Jose Acquires:
2008 Fifth-Round Pick - Julien Demers
2007 First-Round Pick - Max Pacioretty
Craig Rivet would eventually retire a few seasons after the trade, and Julien Demers never really amounted to much in professional hockey (not to be confused with Jason Demers).
Josh Gorges went on to become a familiar face on the Canadiens' blue line for years to come, as did Max Pacioretty whom the Canadiens selected 22nd overall in the 2007 draft. Pacioretty is now one of the young faces who will be counted upon to turn around Montreal's poor fortunes of late.