NHL Trades: The Worst Trade in Each Team's History
Everyone remembers the horrible trades.
As great as it feels when one's home team has just reeled in a top prize at the trading deadline, the blunders a general manager makes are what sting for years and years.
No team has been mistake-free throughout its entire history, so here is the biggest blunder in the history of each NHL franchise.
Trading Away Chris Pronger
The Anaheim Ducks have a relatively clean history when it comes to trading. However, one trade that gets overlooked as a solid deal for Anaheim was the move that sent Chris Pronger to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa and a pair of first-round picks. Lupul is no longer with the team, Sbisa is molding into an average defenseman and the two first-round picks have yet to show much promise.
Meanwhile, Chris Pronger has continued to turn in dominant seasons for the Philadelphia Flyers. The Ducks needed to get younger and unload Pronger's contract, but the Flyers were the beneficiary.
Kovalchuk, Heatley, Lehtonnen
None of the above trades were particularly bad values for the Atlanta Thrashers at the time, but by dealing Ilya Kovalchuk, Kari Lehtonnen and Dany Heatley on separate occasions, the Thrashers proved that they were unable to hold onto their high-end homegrown talent. Thus, the Thrashers ended up being relocated instead of competing for championships.
Trading Away Joe Thornton
Nobody could blame the Boston Bruins for trading away Joe Thornton when they did. Twenty-three games into the 2005-2006 season Thornton had just 24 points. However, after being traded, Thornton piled up 92 points in 58 games. Since, he has continued to accumulate top-notch numbers while the players he was traded for are no longer on the Bruins roster.
Acquiring Dominic Moore
The Buffalo Sabres thought they had made an excellent trade in 2009 when they swapped their second-round pick for Toronto's Dominic Moore. Instead, Moore was a huge disappointment as he scored just once in 18 games and was subsequently shown the door.
Trading Away Brett Hull
Do the names Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley ring a bell? Probably not, huh? Well, those are the players the Calgary Flames managed to get in return for Brett Hull, one of the greatest goal scorers of this generation. Hull went on to a dominant decade for the St. Louis Blues.
Dealing Ron Francis
The Hartford Whalers never had much success in the NHL, and part of that has to be attributed to the fact that the team made some questionable roster moves. The worst blunder the team made was shipping off Ron Francis and Ulf Samuelsson for three players who made very little impact. Francis and Samuelsson, meanwhile, went on to win a pair of Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Phil Esposito Gets Sent Packing
Phil Esposito is one of the best players in Boston Bruins history. The amazing thing is that he was acquired by the team in exchange for Pit Martin, Gille Marotte and Jack Norris.
The Avs Acquire Jose Theodore
The Colorado Avalanche have had a stint of mediocrity ever since the run of dominance the team had to open the decade. Towards the end of that run the Avs were clinging to hope that they could remain an elite team and they traded for Jose Theodore, inserting him as the starting goaltender. Needless to say, it was a bad choice.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Acquiring Jeff Carter
The Columbus Blue Jackets have not yet made any big mistakes on the trade market in their existence, so I am going to analyze the possibility that the most recent blockbuster the Jackets completed will not pan out.
Without question, having Jeff Carter to play with Rick Nash is an outstanding move for Columbus. However, the price the Jackets paid was fairly steep. They got rid of Jakub Voracek, a first-rounder that turned into Sean Couturier and another draft choice. I think in five years the Columbus Blue Jackets will look back on this deal with great regret.
Getting Rid of James Neal
The Dallas Stars are another team that has been mildly successful over the years on the trade market. However, earlier last season, they may have made a blunder when they sent James Neal packing for Pittsburgh.
Neal wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire for the Stars, but at just 23 years old, Neal has a chance to become a solid 60-point-per-season player in the NHL. His skill set is also valuable in both zones of the ice.
Detroit Red Wings
Getting Rid of Adam Oates
It's safe to say that the Red Wings weren't quite sure what they had in Adam Oates when they traded him to the St. Louis Blues for Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney. The pair of aging veterans contributed very little to Detroit, while Adam Oates went on to help Brett Hull to three consecutive 70-point seasons.
Trading the Great One
On August 9, 1988, the landscape of the Edmonton Oilers organization changed forever. They traded the single greatest player to ever lace up the skates. Gretzky was heartbroken, Oilers fans were heartbroken, but the Oilers front office had much heavier pockets when the day was done and that's all that seemed to matter to them.
Trading Roberto Luongo
Looking back at the history of terrible transactions the Florida Panthers have made, it's no secret as to why they are constantly bottom feeders in the NHL.
Easily the biggest mistake this team made was a trade that essentially sent Roberto Luongo to the Vancouver Canucks and brought in a return of Todd Bertuzzi, who was a colossal disappointment for the Panthers.
Los Angeles Kings
For some reason, things never even remotely worked out between the L.A. Kings and Dan Cloutier. The Kings traded a second-round pick to acquire him, and he responded by suffering through an injury-riddled career, not nearly earning the money he was given. Cloutier was eventually bought out by the team.
Any Wild fan who hears the name Cam Barker can't help but cringe. The defenseman was brought in from Chicago at the price of Kim Johnsson and homegrown prospect Nick Leddy. What seemed like a decent move at the time turned ugly for the Wild when Barker completely busted and Nick Leddy blossomed into a solid NHL blueliner. Leddy is still getting better, and Barker is no longer on the Wild.
There has never been a goaltender as prolific as Patrick Roy, so trading him while he was in the prime of his career is an easy choice as the worst trade in Montreal Canadiens history. After winning a pair of Stanley Cups with the Canadiens, Roy went on to win two more after being traded to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Nashville Predators are often stingy with their money, which is what caused them to ship Tomas Vokoun to the Florida Panthers in exchange for some draft picks. Granted, the Preds were able to parlay those picks into a top-10 pick in the 2008 NHL draft, which resulted in Colin Wilson. However, Wilson is still unproven and Vokoun has continued to dominate.
Of course, Nashville is content with a deep stable of talented goaltenders, but the point is that the team let their stinginess get in the way of the hockey operation.
New Jersey Devils
Obtaining Ilya Kovalchuk
The New Jersey Devils generally run a pretty clean ship. However, the decision to splurge at the 2010 NHL trade deadline and acquire Ilya Kovalchuk hasn't quite panned out how they had hoped. They suffered an early exit in the 2010 NHL playoffs, and suffered one of the worst seasons in recent memory in 2011. Kovalchuk's lackluster play didn't help matters.
New York Islanders
Milbury Deals for Yashin
The New York Islanders are still paying Alexei Yashin, and will continue to do so until his 10-year $87 million contract runs out at the end of the 2014-2015 season. If that doesn't sting enough, the Isles had to give up Zdeno Chara and Jason Spezza to get Yashin from the Ottawa Senators.
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers invested a lot when they traded for Eric Lindros back in the 2001-2002 NHL season. Three of the Rangers' top prospects and draft choices made up the package that brought in Lindros, who managed 73, 53 and 32 points in three seasons with the club at roughly $10 million per year.
Christer Olsson for Pavol Demitra once seemed like a relatively even trade. However, 15 years later it's plain to see that the Ottawa Senators got royally screwed by the St. Louis Blues in this deal. Demitra went on to be one of the best players to ever wear a Blues uniform. Olsson, on the other hand, had just five points for the Senators in his entire career.
Eric Lindros had a prolific career for the Philadelphia Flyers, piling up points and even captaining the team for a number of years. However, the price he commanded was the most outrageous in the history of the league. The Flyers sent Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Ron Hextall, Steve Duchesne, Chris Simon, a draft pick and $15 million to the Quebec Nordiques in exchange for Lindros.
Considering some of the players dealt helped the Colorado Avalanche to a pair of Stanley Cups, the price may have been a bit steep.
The Gift of Kris Draper
For whatever reason, the Winnipeg Jets, before being relocated to Phoenix, decided to give the Detroit Red Wings a complete and total gift, sending Kris Draper their way in exchange for $1. Not much else can be said about that.
For the Vancouver Canucks, the price to obtain Markus Naslund from the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 1996 was Alex Stojanov. Naslund outscored Stojanov 802 to six from that point on in their respective NHL careers.
St. Louis Blues
Chris Pronger will go down in history as one of the greatest defensemen to ever play in the NHL. So, the fact that he was once dealt for Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka is somewhat embarrassing.
It's not like Pronger hadn't established himself as an elite defenseman by that team, either. He won the Norris Trophy in the year 2000 suiting up for the Blues.
San Jose Sharks
Goodbye Owen Nolan
It's never an easy sell when a team trades away the face of the franchise. It's especially difficult when that player is Owen Nolan and the return is Alyn McCauley, Brad Boyes and a first-round pick in the 2003 NHL draft that turned into Steve Bernier. The trade marked a definite transition into rebuilding mode for the Sharks, who managed to pull themselves out of it with the Joe Thornton trade.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Even more painful than trading away the face of a franchise is trading away a Conn Smythe Trophy winner who delivered the only Stanley Cup in your franchise's history. But that's just what Jay Feaster and the Tampa Bay Lightning did in February of 2008.
In exchange the team got very little that is still impacting the present-day roster. The Stars sent Tampa goalie Mike Smith, forwards Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern and a 2009 fourth-round draft pick.
Toronto Maple Leafs
In 1991 the Toronto Maple Leafs made a subtle move to improve their defensive depth, trading away their first-round draft pick to acquire Tom Kurvers. Had they known that the draft pick would be future Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer, they may have thought twice about how much they really needed that depth.
When the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, it had to sting a bit extra when Canucks fans saw Bruins team president Cam Neely hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head. Back in 1986, the Canucks sent Neely along with a first-round draft choice, which turned into Glen Wesley, to the Bruins in exchange for Bary Pederson, whose production was not the same after the trade.
It is easily one of the most regrettable trades in NHL history.
David Poile lost all of the faith Washington Capitals fans had in the organization when he elected to trade Dino Ciccarelli to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Kevin Miller. Ciccarelli scored 97 points the next season for the Red Wings, while Kevin Miller managed just three in his entire Capitals career.