Every trade in the NHL has the risk of being a complete mistake. There is not one team in the league that does not regret making a move because it ended up hurting them in the long run. It is sadly a part of the league and needs to be recognized by fans. However, some trades are simply unforgivable and this article will point those specific ones out.
NHL teams also make mistakes when it comes to acquiring players or choosing to let them go. A lot of time, NHL teams sign players to large contracts and end up regretting them immensely because they do not reach expectations. In other situations, teams fail or decide to not resign players that are extremely important to their franchise and end up regretting that as well. Example of this will be provided as well.
With that said, here is a list of 10 players NHL teams regret trading and 10 moves they wish they could change or have made.
20 Dallas Regrets Trading For Alex Goligoski
During the middle of the 2011 season, the Dallas Stars acquired Alex Goligoski from the Pittsburgh Penguins. At the time, Goligoski was a very solid top-4 defenseman and was coveted by many teams where they heard his name was on the rumor mill. Although Goligoski would end up having a productive career in Dallas, the price was far too much.
To acquire Goligoski, the Stars gave the Penguins young defenseman, Matt Niskanen, and scoring forward, James Neal. Although they have both moved on from the Penguins, they both played amazingly there and grew into stars. Neal even scored forty goals the following season after the trade. The Penguins as a team also benefited much more than the Stars from this trade, as the Penguins made the playoffs each season following it, while the Stars struggled to.
19 Dallas Wished They Protected Cody Eakin
Although Cody Eakin had a down year this past season, the Dallas Stars are going to end up wishing they did not leave him unprotected in the expansion draft. The Stars lost a reliable, two-way forward and received nothing in return. Although they replaced Eakin with Martin Hanzal, which is a smart signing, the idea of losing Eakin for nothing is not a good one.
There is no doubt that Eakin will have a far better season in 2017-18 with Vegas. He is still young and can easily turn his play around, especially in a larger role. The Stars could have traded Eakin to another team before the draft and picked up either a 2nd round draft pick or another piece to help their team. Instead, they lost a talented center for absolutely nothing.
18 Florida Regrets Trading Roberto Luongo
Although Roberto Luongo is back in Florida today, his initial trade out of there is one that will never be forgotten. Over a decade ago, the Panthers traded the then young Luongo to the Vancouver Canucks for a few pieces, but mainly Todd Bertuzzi. At the time, Bertuzzi was a good player, but also recently was suspended for jumping Steve Moore from behind, which ended Moore's career.
With that, Bertuzzi never carried his success from Vancouver to Florida. In fact, Bertuzzi only lasted seven games with the Panthers before being shipped away to the Detroit Red Wings. Luongo on the other hand became a franchise goalie in Vancouver and was one win away from a Stanley Cup in 2011. Needless to say, the Canucks won this trade by a mile.
17 Florida Wished They Re-signed Jaromir Jagr
The Florida Panthers will instantly regret letting Jaromir Jagr goe once he signs with a new team. Last season, Jagr was easily one of their best players, even at the age of 45. He was also a great voice in the locker room, due to his countless amount of experience as an NHLer.
Jagr easily still has at least a year left in the tank and if the Panthers wanted to contend in 2017-18, they needed to bring back Jagr because of everything he brought to Florida. Instead the loss of Jagr will end up being a significant one for the Panthers and very well ruin their chances of making the playoffs for the second straight season.
16 Columbus Regrets Trading for Jeff Carter
The Columbus Blue Jackets wish they could have a time machine to erase arguably the worst trade made by their franchise. During the 2011 offseason, the Blue Jackets acquired Carter in hopes that it would lead them to the playoffs. In the trade, the Blue Jackets gave up Jakub Voracek and their first round of that season.
Carter's tenure in Columbus was very short lived and he was traded that same season to the Los Angeles Kings. Meanwhile, Voracek thrived in Philadelphia and is still there today as one of their core players. That first round pick also ended up becoming Sean Courturier, who today is the Flyers top penalty killer. Easily, the Flyers won this trade.
15 Columbus Wished They Re-signed Sam Gagner
This off-season, Sam Gagner signed a three year deal with the Vancouver Canucks. The Blue Jackets will instantly miss his presence down the middle because he was easily one of their best players last season. It will be hard for the Blue Jackets to find a replacement for Gagner and the fifty points he totaled last season.
If Gagner continues to have success in Vancouver, Columbus will regret this decision even more. The goal for the Blue Jackets right now is to finally find playoff success and with the loss of Gagner, this hurts their chances. Expect to see Columbus have a season with less wins and less offensive success as well.
14 Canucks Regret Trading Cam Neely
This is easily considered one of the worst trades in the history of the NHL. During the 1986 offseason, Neely and Vancouver's 1987 first round pick was traded to the Bruins for aging centerman, Barry Pederson. Pederson's time in Vancouver was short lived and he would only play three plus seasons with the Canucks.
Neely became an instant icon with the Bruins and today is considered one of the best players to ever put on the Spoked B. His best season came in 1993-94 when he scored 50 goals in 49 games. If not injured, he very well could have came close to reaching Gretzky's single season goal record. Pederson came nothing close to that in Vancouver.
13 Canucks Wish They Did Not Sign Loui Eriksson
Last offseason, the Canucks signed Loui Eriksson to a six year, $36 million deal. This contract already looks like a complete bust because Eriksson is clearly on the decline. At the time of the contract, Eriksson was coming off a 30 goal season, so giving him this contract seemed to make sense at the time. This now is not the case.
Eriksson is going to hurt the rebuild that is happening in Vancouver because his contract is going to take away money from other potential candidates to join the team. He also is trending in the complete opposite direction of the team and he simply appears to not fit. The best bet for the Canucks is to buy him out in the future if his play continues to drop. There is no way he will last the entirety of his contract if this occurs.
12 Islanders Regret Trading For Alexei Yashin
The Mike Milbury era is one that all Islanders' fans wish to forget and this trade is the main reason why. Looking to bolster their offensive group, Milbury traded Zdeno Chara and their second overall pick, which turned into Jason's Spezza for Alexei Yashin. Yashin's time in New York was abysmal as he never seemed to try his hardest and was also given a ten year, $87.5 million contract.
Yashin was eventually bought out in 2007, while Spezza and Chara because stars in Ottawa. Chara eventually left the Senators in 2006 and became captain of the Boston Bruins. Spezza on the other hand stayed with the Senators until the end of the 2014 season and was their captain. The return the Senators got for Yashin was truly a dream and the Islanders will always look back at time of history with deep regret.
11 Islanders Wish They Gave John Tavares An Extension
As the months continue to pass, the likelihood of John Tavares remaining on the Islanders will keep decreasing. Tavares had made it clear that he wants to stay in New York, but only if they improve their roster. However, this has yet to happen and there is now only one year left on Tavares' deal. The Islanders by now must realize the scariness behind this.
If the Islanders lose Tavares, they lose the identity of their franchise. Players like him do not come around often and are almost impossible to replace. The Islanders now need to build a contender in one season or they will lose Tavares, which appears to be the most likely scenario. At the end of the day, they may need to ship him out to receive some sort of reward from his value.
10 Bruins Regret Trading Tyler Seguin
This is a trade that Bruins fans are going to have to live with for at least another decade. During the 2013 offseason, the Bruins impulsively traded Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars and basically received nothing in return. They acquired Loui Eriksson, but he left to Vancouver, as previously stated. The other players from the deal, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser, did not amount to much of anything.
This trade absolutely destroyed the possible dynasty the Bruins could have achieved. They gave up a superstar and today, have nothing to show for it. As the Bruins struggle for a playoff position each season, the Stars appear to be on the rise and will be for quite some time. This trade is the equivalent of the Joe Thornton trade from a decade ago.
9 Bruins Wish They Acquired Jonas Brodin
The Bruins are in desparate need of a left handed defenseman and they had the perfect chance with Jonas Brodin on the block. The Wild were in a very tough situation with the expansion draft looming and needed to rid of one of their top defenseman. The Bruins were interested in Brodin, but did not make it happen and that could be a costly error.
Defenseman like Brodin do not pop up on the trading block often and the Bruins should have taken advantage of it. Their core is starting to get older and their Stanley Cup window is to the point where it is almost nonexistent. Acquiring Brodin could have started to lead them to the right direction, but that sadly did not end up being the case.
8 Canadiens Regret Trading Patrick Roy
This trade is still considered today as being ridiculously awful. At the time, Roy was considered as the best goalie in the league and had led the Canadiens to a Stanley Cup in 1993. Yet, due to his riff with new head coach, Mario Tremblay, Roy started to feel disrespected by the franchise. After Tremblay humiliated him by leaving him in goal after he let up nine goals in a game against the Red Wings, he demanded a trade.
From there, we all know what happened. Roy got traded to the Avalanche a few days after and then led them to the Stanley Cup that same season. Roy would also win another Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001. The Canadiens on the other hand received nothing of value for Roy and today, still have yet to win a Cup since the trade. At the end of the day, the Canadiens should have fired Tremblay instead.
7 Canadiens Wish They Signed Joe Thornton
No matter how many moves the Canadiens made this offseason, they still did not address their biggest need: a number one center. Joe Thornton would have fit that area perfectly because he is still a very productive playmaker even at his age. It also would have made sense for the Canadiens because it would have been a short term addition and helped them try to win for next year.
Instead, the Canadiens look like they will struggle for offense yet again this season. Until they acquire a true number one center, their chances of winning the cup will never reach the level it truly could with a goaltender as talented as Carey Price. Their championship window will continue to decrease each season until they address this issue and Thornton could have helped immensely.
6 Toronto Regrets Trading For Tom Kurvers
What a bad trade! During the 1989 season, the Maple Leafs traded their 1991 first round pick to the New Jersey Devils for stready defenseman, Tom Kurvers. This trade was supposed to help the Maple Leafs become a true contender, but that simply did not occur. Tom Kurvers was out of Toronto before the draft even occurred when he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in the 1991 season. The trade however, was long from over.
The Maple Leafs struggled that season and the Devils ended up with the third overall pick because of it. They drafted Hall of Fame defenseman, Scott Niedermayer, and the rest was history. The Devils would go on to win three Stanley Cups with Niedermayer as their top defenseman, while the Maple Leafs did not win a single one. Niedermayer would have been amazing piece in Toronto and could have brought them a Cup.
5 Toronto Wish They Did Not Sign Patrick Marleau
The Maple Leafs signing Patrick Marleau is inevitably going to end up hurting the Maple Leafs. If the deal was only one or two years, it would be no big problem, but three years for a thirty-seven year old is extremely risky. There is no doubt that he is going to decline by that point and be way overpaid, considering the fact he will be making over six million dolllars per year.
This will hurt the Maple Leafs in the future too when it come to resigning all of their young players to their big contracts. The Maple Leafs already have so many talented forward, so adding a player like Marleau was no team needed. Marceau may end up being decent in Toronto, but is definitely not worth the money he is making.
4 Philadelphia Regrets Trading For Eric Lindros
At a time, Eric Lindros was the most hyped prospect in NHL history. Not only was he a great scored, but he also was full package with his giant frame. When he was drafted 1st overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques, he refused to play there and was traded to the Flyers the following season after the hold out.
Although Lindros had an amazing stint with the Flyers, the end of it was full of concussions and he fell out of favor with the Flyers management. The Nordiques in return also acquired franchise center Peter Forsberg, as well as other key players like Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, and Chris Simon. The Nordiques, later known as the Avalanche, won two cups with Forsberg and company, while the Flyers did not win one.
3 Philadelphia Wish They Re-signed Steve Mason
The Flyers made the wrong choice letting Steve Mason go to free agency because he finally proved that he is a legitimate number one goalie. After signing in Winnipeg, expect him to have a good season and make the Flyers realize they should have kept him. Although they signed Brian Elliott, Mason seems like the better option due to both his age Andres ability.
In Philadelphia, Mason never seemed to gain the respect he deserved, due to the fact that the team in front of him struggled. In Winnipeg, he will have a better chance to prove to the NHL that he has the ability to be an elite goalie, like he did during his Rookie of the Year campaign. The Flyers may be back to having goalie issues after this decision and we all know how a team ends up doing in that situation.
2 Edmonton Regrets Trading Wayne Gretzky
This is the trade that started the end of the Edmonton Oilers' dynasty so there will forever be regret with trading #99. As captain, Gretzky broke numerous NHL records with the Oilers and led them to four Stanley Cups. Gretzky is obviously considered the best hockey player of all time so the Oilers should have known that they never would have received anything close to him by trading him.
Although Gretzky never won a cup after being traded to the Kings, the impact it left on Edmonton will never be forgotten. Edmonton would end up winning one more cup the year after they traded Gretzky, but they would have won so many more if they kept the team together. None of the players that Edmonton got from Gretzky ended up having any success with the team as well. What a swing and a miss on that one.
1 Edmonton Wish They Did Not Sign Milan Lucic
Although Lucic is succeeding in Edmonton, this contract is going to end up hurting the Oilers in the long run. As a power forward approaching his thirties, Lucic is going to start dropping in production and will no longer be worth the cap hit he is giving. Lucic will be making $6 million per season until 2023.
This is a huge issue because the Oilers are going to need to pay their best players a lot of money as well. McDavid already got his $12.5 million deal, but they still need to give Leon Draisaitl his big contract as well. The Oilers very well could end up like the Blackhawks when it comes to salary cap issues and Lucic would be the biggest cause behind it.