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Date: September 9, 1982
To Washington: Rod Langway, Doug Jarvis, Craig Laughlin and Brian Engblom
To Montreal: Ryan Walter and Rick Green
The Washington Capitals were established in 1974-75 and were an NHL bottom feeder for years. In its first eight years, the franchise's highest point total in an 80-game season was 70. Until the Canadiens decided to help, that is.
Doug Jarvis was one of the best defensive forwards in the game at the time of the trade. He had been an integral part of Montreal's four straight championships in the mid-1970s. He wound up playing three-and-a-half seasons in Washington and was an important part of the team's success.
Craig Laughlin spent four-and-a-half years in Washington, scoring 20 or more goals three times.
Brian Engblom's career with the Capitals didn't last long, as he was part of the trade that brought Larry Murphy to Washington the next season.
But the key was Rod Langway.
He was already a Stanley Cup-winning defenseman with the Canadiens and had a bright future. Giving up on him turned out to be a huge mistake.
Following the trade, he was named captain of the Capitals and led his team to the playoffs 11 consecutive times until he retired. He also won the Norris Trophy in 1983 and 1984. He is regarded as one of the better American defenseman to ever play the game.
In return, the Canadiens received Ryan Walter and Rick Green.
Walter was Washington's captain at the time and was a coveted young star. At the time of the trade, he was coming off a season in which he had scored 38 goals. Unfortunately for the Canadiens, that was the best offensive year of his career.
Walter went on to have a solid career with the Habs. He played in 604 regular-season games and had 349 points, winning the Stanley Cup in 1985-86.
Green was also a part of that championship team. His career in Montreal as a physical, hard-hitting defenseman spanned 399 games.
The Canadiens did not receive total busts from this trade. They did, however, give up one of the best defenseman of the 1980s.
The trade that sent Langway, Jarvis, Laughlin and Engblom to the Washington Capitals ultimately made them one of the top teams in the NHL. After the transaction, they would go on to qualify for the playoffs every year until 1996-97. It was one of the worst moves in the history of the Canadiens.