Ranking the 10 Most Lopsided Trades in NHL History
Although it is not even a week old and the aftermath will likely take a few years to officially pan out, Jarome Iginla's trade from the Calgary Flames to the Pittsburgh Penguins comes off as a candidate for one of Lewis Black's "I will repeat that" moments.
The Pens only needed to sacrifice a pair of NCAA-based prospects to nab Iginla's coveted services this past Wednesday. His acquisition amplifies their outlook as a Stanley Cup favorite, whereas the return package leaves the Flames' future ambiguous, at best.
Still, anything is possible, and there is ample time for Kenny Agostino or Ben Hanowski to blossom out of the blue and balance out the deal long term. It is early enough that this has not yet cemented its position among the most lopsided swaps in the history of the NHL.
Here are 10 trades who have had plenty of time to settle down prominently under that heading. They each involve one party picking up a player who made an instant and/or lasting impact while the other picked up, at best, a one-year wonder as part of the return package.
10. Edmond Bouchard for Joe Malone
Joe Malone was anything but the scoring stud he was during his early years in Montreal when he went back to the Habs to finish his career. In fact, he was not even what he was with the Hamilton Tigers in 1921-22, the season that preceded his trade in exchange for Edmond Bouchard.
Malone went from being a goal-per-gamer (24 in 24) with the Tigers to tallying all of one goal and zero assists in 30 games with the Canadiens over a two-year span. In that same stretch, Bouchard put in 42 appearances and charged up a cumulative 10-17-27 scoring log for Hamilton.
9. Ryan McDonagh for Scott Gomez
Before being exported by the Rangers in 2009 in a deal involving seven players, Scott Gomez had posted his lowest single-season point total since 2002-03 with 58.
His arrival in Montreal did nothing to sprout those numbers back up. He mustered one more point in one more game during the 2009-10 season and then plummeted over the next two years, aggregating 49 in 118 appearances and bringing on the end of his days with the Habs.
Conversely, the young Ryan McDonagh broke into the NHL with the Blueshirts in 2010-11 and has been an exemplary defenseman since then. Over his first two full seasons in The Show (this year and last), he has played an average of more than 24-and-a-half minutes per night and consistently been among the team's plus/minus leaders.
8. Doug Jarvis for Greg Hubick
Doug Jarvis was a second-round pick by the Maple Leafs in 1975. Greg Hubick was a fourth-round draft choice by the Canadiens in 1971.
They were traded for one another before either one had even made their NHL debut, but they both broke in after that summer swap in Jarvis' draft year.
Unfortunately for Toronto, Hubick was anything but a late-blooming feel-good story. He stayed with the Leafs for one season and 72 games and briefly resurfaced with the Vancouver Canucks for five more NHL appearances in 1979-80.
By the start of that season, Jarvis had won four Stanley Cups in as many seasons with the Habs, pitching in 135 points in the regular season and 22 in the playoffs along the way. He would spend another three productive seasons in Montreal before splitting the next six between Washington and Hartford.
7. Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan McCabe and Trevor Linden
While Trevor Linden was not exactly a bust on Long Island, placing third on the team with 47 points in 1998-99, he was still deemed expendable after barely a year-and-a-quarter. By the start of the 1999-00 season, the Islanders' pick-up in a Feb. 6, 1998 deal was with Montreal.
Meanwhile, at least one of the Isles' two exports to Vancouver, Todd Bertuzzi, became a Canucks catalyst once he started seeing action for the majority of the schedule. After charging up 31 points in 54 games over his first year-plus with his new team, he broke out in 1999-2000 for 50 points in 80 appearances and exponentially upped his yearly output in the subsequent three campaigns.
In the midst of that rise to celestial certification, he became teammates with the second-time Canuck, Linden.
6. King Clancy for Eric Pettinger and Art Smith
Neither Eric Pettinger nor Al Smith played another NHL game after their lone season with the old version of the Ottawa Senators, who got them from Toronto in exchange for Clancy on Oct. 30, 1910. In that 1930-31 campaign, the two combined for 56 games played and six points, all scored by Smith in his 43 appearances.
That same year, Clancy played in all 44 regular-season contests for the Maple Leafs and scored a 7-14-21 transcript. He broke double digits in the goal column over the next three seasons, including a 1932 Stanley Cup championship, and eventually retired in 1936 after logging 130 points in 286 games for Toronto.
Have we mentioned that Clancy was primarily a defenseman? Not very bad output for a player of that position in that era.
5. Red Kelly for Marc Reaume
Marc Reaume did not play a single full season for the Detroit Red Wings, who acquired him late in the 1959-60 season and parted with him after 1960-61. He had just enough time to play 47 games with Detroit.
Red Kelly, the player the Wings relinquished to get Reaume from Toronto, had the best season of his career during his first full year as a Maple Leaf. Although he would not match his 50 assists and 70 points at any point afterward, his services were still good for another six seasons, including four championship runs.
Kelly retired in 1967, having won four titles in Detroit and four in Toronto. Incidentally, the Leafs have not won a Cup since he left the game, and the Wings went without one in the 42 years between 1955 and 1997.
The Detroit drought was prolonged, in part, by Kelly's Leafs in a 1964 finals meeting, during which Reaume was nowhere to be seen.
4. Washington and Pittsburgh Blockbuster
Three players came to the Penguins' organization from Washington on July 11, 2001 in exchange for Jaromir Jagr and Frantisek Kucera.
The blueliner Kucera was irreproachable in what proved to be his final NHL season, tallying 14 points and retaining a plus-seven rating over 56 appearances with the Caps. But with back-to-back finishes in the 30-goal and 40-assist range, Jagr trumped the combined impact of all other players on their respective new employers.
On Pittsburgh's end, Michael Sivek did not arrive until 2002-03 and was finished after amassing six points in 38 games that season. Ditto Ross Lupaschuk after three uneventful outings that same year.
The third Capital-turned-Penguin involved, Kris Beech, did post a decent 10-15-25 scoring log in 79 games in 2001-02. But he followed that up with a cumulative two points and 16 appearances over the next two years, after which he went to Nashville.
3. Minnesota and Toronto Blockbuster
This was all but the quintessence of quantity and quality going in inverse directions.
Only one of the five players (Murray Hall, Duke Harris, Don Johns, Len Lunde, Ted Taylor) that the North Stars traded to Toronto on Dec. 23, 1967 ever actually played a game for the Maple Leafs. That would be Harris, who lasted all of four games and brooked a minus-four rating in that span.
Minnesota claimed two men in return on the deal. One of them, Milan Marcetta, was so-so with his entire NHL transcript consisting of 54 games and 7-15-22 scoring log for the North Stars.
But the other player, J.P. Parise, was the only rising player on either end of the swap to significantly blossom anywhere, which he did in the Twin Cities.
The majority and some of the more decorated portions of Parise's 14-year, 890-game, 594-point NHL career were spent in North Stars attire, including his two All-Star years in 1970 and 1973.
2. Doug Gilmour for Gary Leeman
Gary Leeman and Doug Gilmour were the biggest figures on their respective sides of a swap that involved a total of 10 players.
Dealt by Calgary to Toronto in the middle of the 1991-92 campaign, Gilmour had more than twice as many points (49) within his first half-season as a Maple Leaf than Leeman did in his entire brief stint with the Flames.
Leeman amassed a mere 23 points in 59 games for Calgary, which passed him over to Montreal during the 1992-93 season. That happened to be Gilmour's first of two straight seasons with triple-digit points in Toronto, where he stayed until moving to New Jersey late in 1996-97.
1. Markus Naslund for Alek Stojanov
Alek Stojanov tripled his career goal totals after the Vancouver Canucks dealt him to Pittsburgh for Markus Naslund on March 20, 1996.
Sounds impressive, until you realize that "tripled" means he elevated his career collection from one to three.
Those three goals matched Stojanov's total NHL seasons, the last of which was a five-point, 35-game campaign for the Penguins in 1996-97.
Naslund? He multiplied his career goal total almost 15 times from 25 to 371 after he transferred from Pittsburgh to Vancouver, where he lasted 11 full and enriched seasons.