Wayne Gretzky and the NHL's 20 Biggest Trades of All Time
We’ve been through a busy offseason in the NHL for trades. We saw the likes of Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and even Dany Heatley switching addresses over the summer.
Some of the best trades are those with the biggest names and the most bodies being shipped away.
Let’s look back on some of the biggest blockbusters that have happened over the years.
20. Rob Blake to Colorado
Colorado receives: Rob Blake and Steven Reinprecht
LA receives: Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, Jared Aulin and a first-round pick
Unwilling to meet his lofty contract demands, LA shipped Rob Blake to the Avalanche; where he would go on to win the Stanley Cup. It was LA’s only option, as Blake intended to test free agency.
Rob Blake had great size and used it well. He owned a great shot and was a great leader in his time.
19. Alex Mogilny to New Jersey
New Jersey receives: Alex Mogilny
Vancouver receives: Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson
The Devils shook up their team by acquiring Alex Mogilny at the trade deadline in 2000.
Mogilny won the cup soon after the trade.
He then scored 43 goals and 83 points in his first full year with the Devils, and helped them make it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, where they lost in seven games to the Avalanche.
Brendan Morrison performed admirably for the Canucks, scoring at least 50 points in each of his first six seasons with the team.
18. Joe Thornton to San Jose
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San Jose receives: Joe Thornton
Boston receives: Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau
Six years after the fact and Joe Thornton still leads the Sharks to playoff failures on a regular basis.
To be fair, Thornton has led the Sharks to back-to-back conference final appearances and has proved his passing skills are some of the best in the league.
None of the three players the Bruins traded for remain on the roster, but at the time, they felt the shake-up necessary as the team struggled to win games.
17. Chris Pronger to Anaheim
Anaheim receives: Chris Pronger
Edmonton receives: Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, a first-round pick, a second-round pick and a conditional pick
Chris Pronger requested a trade out of Edmonton due to personal reasons. It was reported that Pronger’s wife Lauren wanted out of Edmonton. In any case, Oilers’ fans were not very fond of him after that.
A future Hall of Fame defenseman, Chris Pronger brought home the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks.
Pronger, considered one of the best shutdown defenders in the league, possesses great size and a great shot.
16. Jarome Iginla to Calgary
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Calgary receives: Jarome Iginla and Corey Millen
Dallas receives: Joe Nieuwendyk
Now here we have a true win-win trade.
Dallas would win a Stanley Cup with Joe Nieuwendyk on the roster. No matter how steep a price Jarome Iginla looks like, there can’t be any regrets if the team goes on to win the Stanley Cup.
Calgary received the player that would become an elite power-forward and franchise player.
15. Frank Mahovlich to Detroit
Detroit receives: Frank Mahovlich, Pete Stemkowski, Garry Unger and Carl Brewer
Toronto receives: Norm Ullman, Paul Henderson and Floyd Smith
A complete player in his day, but accused of being lazy, Frank Mahovlich found himself in the Motor City after having a down year in 1966-67 with the Leafs.
All he needed to flourish was a trade from Toronto, where he crumbled under the constant pressure and suffered multiple nervous breakdowns.
14. Dany Heatley to Ottawa
Ottawa receives: Dany Healtey
Atlanta receives: Marian Hossa and Greg de Vries
After being involved in a terrible accident that resulted in the death of teammate Dan Snyder, Dany Healtey wound up on the Ottawa Senators.
He posted back-to-back 50 goal campaigns and had 4 seasons with at least 39 goals for the Sens.
Hossa played well for the Thrashers, posting two seasons with more than 90 points.
13. Marcel Dionne to Los Angeles
LA receives: Marcel Dionne and Bart Crashley
Detroit receives: Terry Harper, Don Maloney and a second-round pick
Rolling in at number 13 is the trade of Marcel Dionne, the highest scoring French Canadian player of all time.
Dionne could not work out a contract with Detroit and it resulted in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings.
He never won a cup with the Kings, but he has his name on the Art Ross and Lady Byng trophies.
12. Pavel Bure to Florida
Florida receives: Pavel Bure, Bret Hedican, Brad Ference and a third-round pick
Vancouver receives: Ed Jovanovski, Dave Gagner, Mike Brown, Kevin Weekes and a first-round pick
With Vancouver going nowhere in the standings, they shipped Pavel Bure over to the Panthers and shook things up on their roster.
Just like that, they lost one of the most exciting players to suit up for them.
A promising young player, defenseman Ed Jovanovski brought toughness and offensive ability to the Canucks.
11. Brendan Shanahan to Detroit
Detroit receives: Brendan Shanahan and Brian Glynn
Hartford receives: Keith Primeau, Paul Coffey and a first-round pick
Brendan Shanahan requested a trade out of Hartford because he wanted to play for a contender.
He got his wish when Detroit came calling. The trade worked out as Detroit went on to win two consecutive Stanley Cups with Shanahan.
Primeau stayed with Hartford and then Carolina for three seasons, but Coffey didn’t last a full season with the franchise.
10. Mats Sundin to Toronto
Toronto receives: Mats Sundin, Garth Butcher, Todd Warriner and a first-round pick
Quebec City receives: Wendel Clark, Sylvain Lefebvre, Landon Wilson and a first-round pick
One of the most historic franchises in the game receives what is arguably the best player to ever play for them.
Sundin played a complete game for the Leafs and is the franchise leader in points. He did everything for the Leafs except lead them to a Stanley Cup.
Wendel Clark, a beloved Leaf for his toughness and scoring touch, went over to the Nordiques.
9. Paul Coffey to Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh receives: Paul Coffey, Wayne Van Dorp and Dave Hunter
Edmonton receives: Craig Simpson, Dave Hannan, Moe Mantha and Chris Joseph
Paul Coffey had sat out for a portion of the season due to contractual issues. He ended up getting traded and gave Lemieux some support in Pittsburgh.
Coffey helped the Penguins win their first Stanley Cup in 1990-91. He also eclipsed the 100-point barrier twice in five years with Pittsburgh.
8. Ray Bourque to Colorado
Colorado receives: Ray Bourque and Dave Andreychuk
Boston receives: Brian Rolston, Martin Grenier, Sami Pahlsson and a first round pick
Ray Bourque had played more games than any other player without having touched the Cup.
At 39, he requested a trade from Boston to have a chance to sip from Lord Stanley’s mug.
In 2000-01, the Avalanche beat the Devils and Bourque finally had a Stanley Cup championship to his name.
7. Ron Francis to Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh receives: Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings
Hartford receives: John Cullen, Zarley Zalapski and Jeff Parker
The Penguins received another top centre in addition to Mario Lemieux. Francis went on to become the fourth highest scoring player in league history.
Samuelsson provided toughness and Jennings proved himself as a good defensive player.
A leader in the room, John Cullen was a tough piece to trade for the Penguins, but the trade worked out, as the Penguins went on to win two straight Stanley Cups.
6. Phil Esposito to Boston
Boston receives: Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield
Chicago receives: Gilles Marotte, Pit Martin and Jack Norris
After being shipped to the Bruins for not meeting expectations as a Hawk, Phil Esposito became one of the best players of all time.
Esposito holds the honour of becoming the first player to ever score 100 points in a single season, and he accomplished the feat six times.
5. Doug Gilmour to Toronto
Toronto receives: Doug Gilmour, Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville and Rick Wamsley
Calgary receives: Gary Leeman, Craig Berube, Michel Petit, Alexander Godynyuk and Jeff Reese
Toronto receives Gilmour in a trade that sees ten players switching destinations.
Nicknamed Killer, Gilmour had a Hall of Fame career that saw him win a Selke Trophy with the Leafs for best defensive forward.
Gilmour led the Leafs to back-to-back final four appearances in 1992-93 and 1993-94.
4. Mark Messier to the New York Rangers
New York Rangers receive: Mark Messier and future considerations (Jeff Beukeboum for David Shaw)
Edmonton receives: Bernie Nicholls, Steve Rice and Louie Debrusk
In an attempt to reduce costs, Edmonton traded Mark Messier to the New York Rangers.
One of the best leaders in all of sports, Messier brought a combination of speed, skill and toughness equalled by few in the game.
With 1887 points, Messier has scored more points than anyone in NHL history not named Wayne Gretzky.
In 1993-94, he led the New York Rangers to a Stanley cup championship.
3. Patrick Roy to Colorado
Colorado receives: Patrick Roy and Mike Keane
Montreal receives: Andrei Kovalenko, Jocelyn Thibault and Martin Rucinsky
In December of 1995, after ten years with the Montreal Canadiens, Patrick Roy decided it was time to move on.
After becoming fed up with Head Coach Mario Tremblay, Roy had requested a trade out of town.
He was sent to the Avalanche and solidified himself as one of the best goalies of all time.
2. Eric Lindros to Philadelphia
Quebec receives: Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Mike Ricci, Steve Ducheshe, Kerry Huffman, Chris Simon, two first-round picks and $15 million
Philadelphia receives: Eric Lindros
In this mammoth deal, Lindros found himself in Philadelphia after refusing to play for the Nordiques, the team that drafted him.
Dubbed as the next great player in the league, Lindros dominated using his size and skill.
When healthy, he did dominate the league. But he succumbed to injury problems and could never quite fulfill his lofty expectations.
An integral piece on the Avalanche, Forsberg helped them to two Stanley Cup championships in 1995-96 and 2000-01.
1. Wayne Gretzky to Los Angeles
LA receives: Wayne Gretzky, Marty McSorely, and Mike Krushelnyski
Edmonton receives: Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, Three first-round picks and $15 million
Could there really be anyone else at No. 1?
In 1988, Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pockington faced financial troubles and decided to ship Gretzky over to the Kings for a much needed $15 million.
Very rarely do you see the best player in the league get traded, and this one absolutely shocked the hockey world.
This blockbuster proved that no one is untouchable, anyone can be traded.