Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
This blockbuster deal saw the Penguins trade John Cullen (C), Jeff Parker (RW)and Zarley Zalapski (D) to the Hartford Whalers for Ron Francis (C), Grant Jennings (D) and Ulf Samuelsson (D).
Francis was the face of the Hartford Whaler team, their captain and best player. Only 28 and fresh off an 101-point season and scoring 76 points in 67 games, the Whalers saw fit to trade him for the slightly younger Cullen (26), who was in the middle of a 31-goal, 94-point season in Pittsburgh.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Francis had two fantastic back-to-back playoff runs in Pittsburgh, as the second line center behind Mario Lemieux. He had 17 points in 24 games the first time the Penguins won a Cup and 27 points in the mere 21 games it took them to win a second Cup in 1992.
He played seven more seasons in Pittsburgh, seldom missing a game. He had an 100 point season in 1992-93, along with a career-high 119-point season in 1995-96. Francis still had enough in the tank to move on to Carolina and play most of six seasons for the Hurricanes. He was their leading playoff scorer in their first failed run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2001-02, as a 39-year-old.
Cullen, meanwhile, was a point per game player in one season with the Whalers before getting moved to Toronto. His career tanked with the Leafs and he never again scored 20 goals in a season.
Samuellsson and Zalapski both played big roles on their respective teams. Ulf Samuelsson was the big nasty shutdown defenseman for Pittsburgh for the next four seasons. Zalapski was more of an offensive defenseman, who scored 20 in a season for Hartford and lasted slightly over two seasons before they traded him to Calgary.
Parker only played four games for Hartford and Jennings played as a depth defenseman for the Penguins.