NHL Trades That Shocked the League, Part I

Sebastien TremblayCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2008

I know, there are lots of trades that have us scratching our heads, and lead us wondering what they were thinking. Sometimes the reason of a trade is obvious and, at least, solves a problem for the respective teams. However, sometimes, whatever way you look at it, it just doesn't seem to make sense. 

It must've made sense for those involved though right? Hmm, or maybe not. So let's look at a few trades that shocked the NHL world when they happened. I'm not necessarily writing about bad trades, but rather those we didn't expect or still can't understand.

Here we go:


In 1986, Vancouver traded Cam Neely to Boston for Barry Pederson.

June 1986 will go down as one of the darkest moments for the Canuck’s. Vancouver traded Cam Neely, a home town guy, a fan favorite, and a player with amazing potential and upside. And to make matters worse, Vancouver also threw in a first round pick in the deal, who happened to become Glen Wesley.


To Vancouver’s defense, at the time of the deal, Neely had three average seasons of 31, 39, and 34 points and no more than 21 goals in a season. Vancouver was struggling, having posted a loosing record for three consecutive years at this point. They needed scoring and more of an impact player to turn the tide. So, the question is: Did the Canucks do better with Pederson in and Neely out? No. They actually became worse. Thankfully, a young, 18-year-old Trevor Linden was coming in to save them!


On his side, when the trade occurred, Pederson was already a well respected center who had already two seasons over 40 goals and 100 points. Looking at both their statistics, I feel Vancouver was simply impatient and wanted production right away from Neely.


Since it didn’t seem to come fast enough, they went for a guy that had already proved he could score and produce big numbers. When will they learn that statistics don't necessarily represent the player’s potential?


It didn’t take long for Neely to make the Canucks' general managers look bad. Within a year, his production exploded and he became one of the most feared power forwards in the NHL and three-time 50 goals scorer.


In 525 games with the Bruins, Neely racked up 344 goals for the Bruins. Before he was injured in 1993-94, he had 50 goals in just 49 games on pace for a 83 goal season. Impressive numbers.


Pederson was 25 years old at the time and was a huge disappointment, so technically in his prime (Neely was 20). But his career went down from this point, there were no indication that his production would slip like it did. After the trade, Pederson’s production decreased to the point he finished his career in the AHL.


Neely was such an outstanding scorer and is now inducted into the hall of fame. I hope this trade served as an example. BE PATIENT WITH YOUNG PLAYERS, Because they might end up being the franchise player your looking for.



In 1992, Philadelphia traded Peter Forsberg, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, first round draft pick in 1993 and 1994, Chris Simon, and 15 million to Quebec for Eric Lindros.

Well, I hear both sides on this one, some say it was a good trade, some says it was a horrible trade. To me, it was a very bad trade, although sending all those players away didn’t affect the Flyers that much right away.


Eric Lindros was thought to be the next Mario Lemieux and quite honestly, when he started playing, I actually believed he could be a new version of Mario Lemieux. Lindros was big, tough, talented, could score, pass, and hit. He had absolutely everything.


Where this trade becomes a mistake is in the fact that Lindros, although he had a very good career and was one of the top players in the league when healthy, never delivered the Stanley Cup, which is what the Flyers were obviously looking for. Instead, it went to Colorado twice within five years. How you ask?


Those players traded for Lindros were a huge part of that success and those two Stanley Cups. We all know what Peter Forsberg turned out to be, arguably the most creative and productive player in the NHL when healthy.


Mike Ricci helped Colorado get to the finals and win the cup a couple years after the trade. The draft pick in 1993 became Jocelyn Thibault who was then traded to Montreal in return for Patrick Roy (another horrible trade…).


Trading Forsberg for Lindros would still be a mistake. Lindros has had multiple concussions and injury problems within a very short time span. Actually, Lindros has never been able to play 82 games in an NHL season, whereas Forsberg, although having some injury problems towards the end of his career, blossomed into an amazing play-maker quickly.


He later won the Calder,  several Stanley Cups, and various medals, you name it. To further prove my point, Forsberg's statistics to this day are 885 points in 706 games. Lindros on the other hand has 865 points in 760 games, which is less points in more games than Forsberg.


So technically, by getting Eric Lindros, the Flyers essentially gave Colorado two Stanley Cups. How about that for a bad trade?!