The No. 1 Pick: Keep It Or Dump It?
Jonathan Tavares should be a lock to find himself the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The main question, which is soon to be answered, is where will he go.
Every year there are rumors of teams trading up for the No. 1 pick, but it often stays in the hands of the team who “earned” the pick.
Looking back, many teams have been successful in acquiring the pick, others have been successful trading away the pick. Here is my list of top “No. 1 pick Trades”.
5) Rick Nash or Jay Bouwmeester
2002 Florida trades No. 1 pick to Columbus for No. 3 pick. The trade worked quite well for both teams, both adding key players to their lineup.
Rick Nash was picked first overall, and many people questioned the pick. Jay Bouwmeester was thought to be the number one choice, but Columbus shocked us all when they traded up to take Rick Nash.
Rumor has it that Nash still would have been available at No. 3 anyway with Atlanta set on choosing Goalie Kari Lehtonen. Nash has shown he is a very talented goal scoring forward, but Bouwmeester has moved past him in value after a slow start with the Panthers.
4) Berard or Redden?
In the 1995 Draft, the Ottawa Senators knew there was a chance that Bryan Berard would not play in Ottawa, but drafted him anyway. Even though they did not trade the pick away, they right away traded him to the New York Islanders for Wade Redden, who just happened to be the No. 2 pick in the same draft.
The Senators also gave up Martin Straka, and with Redden picked up Goalie Damian Rhodes. Berard was the Calder Trophy winner early on, but as we all know, was struck with a errant high stick that took the eyesight in his right eye.
Berard did make a comeback after 2 years off, but was never the same player as before the injury. Berrard on the other hand became the defensive backbone for the Senators for many years, and was a big part of the Senators Stanley Cup run of 2007.
3) Fleury or Horton
In 2003, the Florida Panthers again swapped the No. 1 pick for the No. 3 pick. This time it was with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and it wasn’t nearly as successful.
The Panthers sent the No. 1 pick, who turned out to be Marc-Andre Fleury along with the No. 73 pick(Daniel Carcillo), in-exchange for the No. 3 pick, Nathan Horton, No. 55 Stefan Meyer and Mikael Samuelsson.
Fleury has turned into a Stanley Cup winning goaltender, and although Horton has been a 20 goal scorer in the past four seasons, he hasn’t been the talent that was needed to push the Panthers into the playoffs.
2) Lindros or Forsberg
Bryan Berard’s choice to not play in Ottawa was probably highly influenced by the actions of one Eric Lindros four years earlier.
In 1991, it was well know that Lindros wouldn’t play in Quebec. The Nordiques did draft Lindros, and while it took a long time to find a deal, Quebec finally found a taker, and the Philadelphia Flyers ended up giving up the player who was chosen as the sixth pick in the same draft, Peter Forsberg.
It seemed like a hugely lopsided deal as the Flyers gave up Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, a first-round selection (Jocelyn Thibault) in 1993, a first-round selection (later traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, later traded to the Washington Capitals -Nolan Baumgartner) in 1994, and $15,000,000 cash.
Lindros ended up being a huge part of why the Flyers were competitive for so many years, but the trade was in no way an even trade. The Colorado Avalanche were turned into a competitor instantly, and didn’t take long to contend as they won the Stanley Cup twice with Forsberg, who also ended up winning the Hart trophy in 2003.
1) Lafleur All The Way
The trade that had the most impact on the teams involved was one that goes way back, and it had almost as bad an impact on the trading team as it did have a positive impact on the acquiring team.
The California Golden Seals were never really contenders in the NHL, but made an attempt to become competitive in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens.
In 1970, the Seals traded their first pick in the 1971 draft for the Canadiens’ No. 1 pick in 1970. The Seals also gave up Francois Lacombe and received Ernie Hicke. Chris Oddliefson was the Seals’ pick that year, but nothing seemed to help the Seals ending the season with the worst record.
That gave the Canadiens the No. 1 pick, who turned out to be Guy Lafleur. We all know what happened with Lafleur in Montreal and it wasn’t five more years before the Seals moved, and eventually were dissolved into the Minnesota North Stars.