3 Trades the New York Rangers Never Should Have Made
The NHL trade deadline has finally come and gone, and the New York Rangers made arguably the biggest splash of them all by acquiring Martin St. Louis from the Tampa Bay Lightning for Ryan Callahan, per Katie Strang of ESPN.
Except it wasn't just Callahan.
The Rangers also surrendered a 2015 first-round selection and a conditional 2014 second-round selection, which could become a 2014 first-rounder if the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference Final. If the Lightning re-sign Callahan, the Rangers would receive a 2015 second-rounder, and Tampa would collect a 2015 seventh-round selection.
On the surface, the Rangers are a better team with St. Louis, but they paid a steep price for a 38-year-old. The potential to miss out on a first-round pick for three seasons in a row could be detrimental to the franchise's future.
If the Rangers do not win the Stanley Cup in the next two seasons, the trade could be considered a bust.
It’s way too soon to consider this a bad trade, but if it eventually is, it wouldn't be the first in Rangers history.
On the busiest day for trades in the NHL, we’ll take a look at three of those acquisitions that left New York fans and management shaking their collective heads.
Here are the three worst trades in Rangers history.
Marc Savard to Calgary (1999)
The 91st selection in the 1995 NHL draft, Marc Savard joined the Rangers after an impressive junior career with the Oshawa Generals, which saw him put up 130 and 139 points in two of his four seasons in the OHL.
In 1997-98, his first season with the Rangers’ minor league affiliate the Hartford Wolf Pack, he scored 74 points in 58 games and featured in 28 games for the Rangers, registering six points.
In 78 games for the Blueshirts in 1998-99, the center tallied 45 points in 70 games in an impressive rookie campaign, but he was traded—along with the Rangers’ 1999 first-round selection Oleg Saprykin—to the Calgary Flames at season’s end.
The return: Calgary’s first-round selection in 1999 (Jamie Lundmark), a 1999 third-round pick (Craig Anderson)—which was eventually traded back to Calgary—and the rights to Jan Hlavac.
Savard would go on to score 53 points in 1999-2000 and 65 points in 2000-01, tallying a career-high 97 with Atlanta in 2005-06. In total, he scored 706 points in 807 games and won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011. Unfortunately, he hasn't played an NHL game since 2010-11 due to post-concussion syndrome.
As for the Rangers’ return, Lundmark is considered one of the worst first-round picks in the team’s history at ninth overall in 1999. He never scored more than eight goals in a season for New York and was traded to Phoenix in 2005-06. He now plays for Klagenfurt AC in Austria.
The third-round choice was returned to Calgary, and Hlavac, although he was a useful player who scored 104 points in 146 games during his first stint with the Rangers, was eventually traded to Philadelphia as a part of the trade that brought Eric Lindros to New York in 2001.
Hlavac played 72 games for the Rangers in 2003-04 and scored 26 points.
Kelly Miller, Mike Ridley and Bob Crawford to Washington (1987)
In a notoriously bad trade throughout the league, the Rangers traded three young players in Kelly Miller, Mike Ridley and Bob Crawford to the Washington Capitals on New Year’s Day in 1987.
The Rangers’ target was Bobby Carpenter, a center who scored 95 points in 80 games for the Caps in 1984-85. New York also received a 1989 second-round pick (Jason Prosofsky).
Miller registered 55 points in 112 games for the Rangers over three seasons from 1984-1987 after playing four years at Michigan State University, while Ridley proved more promising, scoring 101 points in 118 games as a Blueshirt and making the NHL All-Rookie Team in 1986. Crawford was more of a throw-in.
Carpenter played just 28 games for the Rangers in 1986-87, registering only 10 points, before being traded to Los Angeles just two months later. That trade yielded Marcel Dionne, but the 731-goal scorer notched just 98 points in 118 games over three injury-riddled seasons in New York.
Prosofsky never played a regular-season game with the Rangers.
Ridley and Miller would go on to typify the hardworking style of play the Caps exemplified over the course of the next half decade. Ridley played with Washington until the 1993-94 season and scored 547 points in 618 games. Miller played for the Caps for 13 seasons and scored 408 points in 931 games.
Rick Middleton to Boston (1976)
Arguably the worst trade in Rangers history involved Rick Middleton and Ken Hodge Sr.
A near 33-year-old declining Hodge—who dropped from 105 points in 1973-74 to 66 in 1974-75 and 61 in 1975-76—was brought to the Rangers in exchange for 22-year-old Middleton, who scored 90 points in 124 games through his first two pro seasons with the Rangers.
Although Hodge scored 62 points in 78 games in 1976-77, he was demoted to the AHL after scoring just six points in 18 games to start the 1977-78 season. He would never play in the NHL again.
Middleton, on the other hand, played 881 games for Boston and scored 898 points, which is fourth in Bruins history. Fourth.
The right winger also won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability” after the 1981-82 season, per NHL.com.
Furthermore, Middleton served as co-captain of Boston with Ray Bourque from 1985 to 1988.
Looking through some of these trades, it’s evident that history repeats itself. The Rangers have made a habit out of trading quality young players for aging stars.
Have the Rangers again sacrificed their future for an aging Martin St. Louis?