Hockey fans love to play the role of general manager when it comes to trades. Whether they’re bragging over their team landing a big-name star, or complaining about the blue chip prospects they traded away, every fan has an opinion.
Some of the biggest deals in history (Gretzky to the Kings, Messier to the Rangers, Roy to the Avalanche) have polarized fan bases and sparked debate. Some discussions still endure to this day.
However, as the new millennium arrived, big-time trades in the NHL continued. For instance, the Sabres dealt franchise goalie Dominik Hasek to Detroit, and the Ducks shipped superstar Teemu Selanne to San Jose. While the Red Wings and Sharks each benefitted from these trades, the Sabres and Ducks certainly lost out.
For every trade winner, there is a loser. Every “smart” GM who wins a trade needs to have taken advantage of another GM’s ill-advised decision. A GM may “fleece” another in a deal, but of course, there has to be a GM getting fleeced, if you catch my drift.
Case in point, New York Rangers GM Glen Sather came out on the winning end of the lopsided “Scott Gomez-for-Ryan-McDonagh” trade in 2009. Montreal GM Bob Gainey got the short end of the deal. What turned out being a great move for the Rangers was a disaster for the Canadiens.
That is just one instance. Here is every NHL team’s worst trade since 2000.
30. Anaheim Ducks – Trading Teemu
Teemu Selanne retired from the Anaheim Ducks in 2014 as the franchise’s leading scorer. He helped the team capture its only Stanley Cup Championship in 2007.
“The Finnish Flash” registered two 50+ goal seasons during his initial run in Anaheim in the late 90s. Surely, the Ducks would never trade him, right?
Midway through the 2000-01 season, the Ducks dealt their leading scorer to their neighbors in San Jose. In return, the Sharks sent Jeff Friesen, Steve Shields, and a second-round pick.
The deal failed in hindsight, as Friesen and Shields each played just one season in Anaheim before being traded. Friesen was shipped to the Devils, and Shields went to the Bruins.
Meanwhile, Selanne led the Sharks in goals during his two seasons with the team. Selanne returned to Anaheim following the 2004-05 lockout and spent the rest of his Hall-of-Fame career as a Duck.
29. Arizona Coyotes – Briere To Buffalo
Daniel Briere has enjoyed a successful career in the NHL despite initial concerns over his diminutive size. He stood at 5-foot-9, but registered more than 300 goals and nearly 700 points over an 18-year career.
Briere began his professional career with the Phoenix Coyotes in the late ‘90s, and by the 2001-02 season, registered his first 30-goal, 60-point season. His totals dropped the following season to 17 goals and 46 points, respectively, and his defensive coverage was suspect.
The Coyotes needed a strong, physical forward, and thus, shipped Briere to the Buffalo Sabres for Chris Gratton at the 2003 trade deadline. The teams also swapped mid-round draft picks in 2004. The trade was criticized and came back to bite the Coyotes. Briere went on to play well for the Sabres, scoring 65 points in his first season en route to being named team captain in February of 2004.
In 2005-06, Briere blossomed into the star the Coyotes hoped he’d be when he scored 58 points in just 48 games. He led the Sabres in playoff scoring that year with 19 points. He guided the Sabres to the 2006-07 Eastern Conference Finals as well. He continued his stellar play with the Philadelphia Flyers in the late 2000s, and notably scored a league-leading 30 points in 23 playoff games as the Flyers reached the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.
28. Boston Bruins – Seguin To The Stars
The infamous Joe Thornton trade to San Jose was a definite contender for this spot. However, the Bruins still received a few decent players in that deal in Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart.
The 2013 Tyler Seguin trade was disastrous, not only because of the bonafide superstar Seguin became but the lack of return on investment the Bruins received.
Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli believed Seguin needed a change of scenery and dealt his young star to Dallas for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser, and Joe Morrow.
Eriksson and Smith proved to be the only quality pieces in that trade for Boston. Most notably, Eriksson scored 62 goals and 147 points in three seasons with the team. However, both players no longer play in Boston. Smith was traded to Florida in 2015, and Eriksson signed in Vancouver in 2016.
Meanwhile, Seguin put up three consecutive 30+ goal, 70+ point seasons since the trade. He scored an astounding 26 points through the first 18 games of the 2015-16 season and finished with 73 points in 72 games. He has 33 points through the first 35 games of the 2016-17 season.
27. Buffalo Sabres – Hasek To Hockeytown
Dominik Hasek holds one of the greatest legacies in Sabres history. He led the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999 and is the franchise record holder for wins, games played, shutouts, and goals-against-average.
Unfortunately, by 2001, Hasek had grown impatient with the direction of the team and requested a trade to a contender.
The Sabres dealt Hasek to the Detroit Red Wings in the early morning hours of July 1, 2001. The return? Forward Slava Kozlov, a 2002 first-round pick and future considerations (Jim Slater).
The deal was a dud for Buffalo. Kozlov spent just one season with the team, scoring nine goals and 13 assists in 38 games before a mid-season trade to the Atlanta Thrashers. The team used that first round pick to trade up and select Daniel Paille. Paille never excelled in Buffalo and later found a niche in Boston. Slater, meanwhile, never played for the Sabres.
Hasek, of course, went on to capture two Stanley Cups in Detroit, posting a career-high 41 wins in his first season with the team.
26. Calgary Flames – Giguere Goes South
Calgary truly “flamed out” with this trade. They dealt young goalie Jean-Sébastien Giguère to the Ducks for a second-round pick (Matt Pettinger) in the summer of 2000.
Giguere went on to lead the Ducks to two Stanley Cup Finals appearances in nine seasons with the club, while the Flames eventually traded Pettinger to the Capitals for a fourth-round pick and left winger Miika Elomo.
Elomo never ended up playing a game for the Flames, while Giguere became one of the greatest goaltenders in Ducks franchise history.
Giguere won the 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP despite the Ducks’ loss to the Devils in that year’s Cup Final. Yet, he guided the team back to the championship in 2007, where they would prevail over the Ottawa Senators. He registered four 30+ win seasons in Anaheim before finishing his career with stints in Toronto and Colorado.