NHL Trades That Shocked the League, Part II

Sebastien TremblayCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2008

And now for part two!


In 1995, Montreal trades Mike Keane and Patrick Roy to Colorado for Andrei Kovalenko, Martin Rucinsky and Jocelyn Thibault.

This day stayed marked in my head as the day I would forever hate Mario Tremblay and Ronald Corey…the two responsible for that horrible horrible trade. How dare you trade one of the best goaltender in HISTORY fortw2 underachievers and a rookie goalie?!

Someone had a big bubble going through his brain when that happened. Colorado still laughs at Montreal for this trade (but then we sent them Jose Theodore a couple years ago…which kinda equals the deal!)

For those who don’t know the entire story I’ll make it short. Montreal was playing Detroit and were being beaten badly. Prior…coach Mario Tremblay and goalie Patrick Roy had lots of arguments. Basically, Roy was king in the locker room (funny, roy translate to king in french…).

Tremblay didn’t quite agree his leadership was being challenged by one of his players. So he wanted to make a point and make Patrick Roy realise he is not the boss of this team. Roy was obviously not doing or feeling well in that game against Detroit. Any coach in his right mind would have pulled off his goaltender after four, five or maybe six goals.

But Mario Tremblay decided to leave Roy in net to make a point. In the end…Montreal lost 9 to 1. And yes…Roy let in all of the nine goals. After the ninth goal, Tremblay pulled Roy from the game.

When he reached the bench, Roy went strait for Ronald Corey who was sitting in the stands behind the bench and spoke seven words: "J’ai jouer mon dernier match à Montréal." Translated it means "I just played my last game in Montreal." So the end of Patrick Roy’s era in Montreal was caused by a stupid coach on a power trip. Since that day I’ve despised Mario Tremblay (who is now assistant coach for Minnesota).

Jocelyn Thibault never became a true No. 1 goaltender. He did okay considering the team he had in fron of him was struggling badly from a series of bad trades and even worse draft picks. Martin Rucinsky had his best season in Montreal, 25 goals and 60 points in 56 games and Kovalenko, played only 51 games for Montreal before running off to Edmonton for his only 30 goals season.

Montreal also lost Mike Keane in that deal. Although not an impact player, Keane did manage to become captain in Montreal before Pierre Turgeon’s arrival. Keane was a superb defensive player much like Guy Carbonneau was in his prime. So Montreal lost lots of leadership as well.

So why is it such a bad trade…Well this trade effectively sent back the Canadiens 10 years, started the rebuilding process in Montreal which they are just barely getting out of the last two years, gave Colorado two Stanley Cups, a "can’t miss" hall-of-famer, not to mention the best goaltender in the NHL at that point. This is why Colorado retired Roy’s number before Montreal.

Just looking at the impact this trade had on the Canadiens makes me quiver. The team was not the same for the next 10 years after. If New Jersey traded Martin Brodeur for a bag of pucks it would have the same effect…

In 1996, Vancouver traded right-winger Alex Stojanov to Pittsburgh for right-winger Markus Naslund.

Well…I don’t think anybody can accurately say they understand this deal. I’m confused as to what went through Pittsburg’s managers minds. It’s a complete mystery.

Okay, let’s just try to understand the trade:

Both are first round draft picks in 1991…a good start. Stojanov was picked higher, seventh overall, Naslund was 16th. Both were expected to have good careers and at the moment of the trade. Naslund is Swedish, Stojanov is…well you probably thought he’s Russian right. Technically he’s not, he’s actually from Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

In a lot of general manager’s minds, North American players have lots more chances to make the NHL and are more "dependable" than Europeans. That might’ve thought Stojanov would have less trouble adapting to pro hockey in America.

Naslund had a slight advantage, being more productive. But that production could’ve been a fluke, Naslund may have taken advantage of a few of his ultra productive teammates like Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Petr Nedved, and Sergei Zubov. Stojanov, on his side, had Alexander Mogilny, Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning, and Russ Courtnall that were less productive.

At the time of the trade, Naslund and Stojanov were both 22. Pittsburgh already had a few youngsters in their ranks ready for prime-time. Jagr, Nedved and Smolinski were all 23. They also had highly regarded Glen Murray at 22 years old. So they probably thought they had enough talented young as it is.

As for Marcus Naslund, well we know what happened with him. He spent 12 years with the Canucks, became captain of the team, notched over 700 points with the Canucks. He had three consecutive seasons over 40 goals and at this point, he’s the most prolific scorer in Vancouver Canucks history.

In the end, Pittsburgh traded a high scoring top three forward, possible franchise player and leader…for a goon. This is definitely one of the worst trades in NHL history if not the worst. Maybe a pro hockey career wasn’t meant to be for Stojanov…especially when you end your career with the New Mexico Scorpions!