15 Huge NHL Deals Involving Current Players That Almost Happened

11Claude Giroux to Tampa Bay for Paul Ranger

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Claude Giroux's reputation as a player has changed more than any player in recent memory. He was first thought of as a productive playmaker with top-six potential, but everything changed with his breakout season in 2012, where he scored a whopping 93 points, cementing himself as one of the league's best scorers. But then, partially due to injury and for other reasons as well, his play dropped off, and as recently as last year, Claude Giroux was thought of as a player on the decline, whose best days were behind him. And then this year, he came galloping back into the picture, particularly in the latter half of the season, and finished second overall in points.

Back in 2009, right before Giroux's breakthrough, Paul Holmgren offered Giroux to Tampa straight up for D-man Paul Ranger.

Ranger was, at the time, thought of as a solid, stay-at-home guy who could play big minutes in big situations. Tampa said no to the deal, and we all know what happens next as Giroux broke out as a star right after and Paul Ranger played only a handful of NHL games before taking a leave of absence from the NHL for "personal reasons" and spending some time playing in the Swiss league.

Ranger, still only 33, has been retired from professional hockey since 2015, and he recently disclosed in an interview that he was suffering form depression while playing in the NHL and needed to spend some time away from the game.

10Steven Stamkos to New York for Depth Player Package 

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What's the deal with how many of these huge almost deals involve the Tampa Bay Lightning? Following their surprising Stanley Cup win back in 2004 and then their dip back into irrelevance with a few truly bad seasons a couple years later, the team faced an identity crisis. They knew they'd picked a future star in Steven Stamkos but not everyone remembers that he didn't look all that good in his first season for the Bolts. In a full season, he scored just 46 points, so while he's now considered to be playing at the same level as guys like Crosby and Ovechkin, he didn't have the same kind of immediate impact that they had on the NHL level.

Apparently, because he scored only seven points in his first twenty-one games for the Lightning, they considered trading him right off the bat.

According the Glen Sather, who has been the President of the New York Rangers since the year 2000, the Rangers and the Lightning had a deal in place where the Lightning could pick and choose which Rangers assets they wanted to exchange Stamkos for. The deal was accepted by Len Barrie, a partial owner of the Lightning, but was shutdown by other controlling forces in Tampa, which they no doubt saw as the smart move at this point, especially with Stamkos as a centerpiece of a thriving squad.

9Taylor Hall to Ottawa For Cody Ceci

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At this point, it's clear to any hockey fan that Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson was a bad trade for the Oilers. The Oilers have a funny history of drafting without consideration as to what their needs are, which is not an entirely surprising strategy. Generally when you've got a first overall pick, it's smart to go with the consensus number one choice in the draft, both because you're more likely to end up with a generational talent, and because it can be hard anyway to predict what your team's needs will be a few years down the line.

But the Oilers' trend of drafting skilled forwards meant, in the past, that they had a glut of talent up front but huge holes on defense and in net, which is why it sort of made sense to trade Hall—who might in the Hart Trophy this year—for Larsson, who was also a high draft pick but hasn't shown any real signs of being an elite player.

However, it was almost even worse for the Oilers, as they apparently had a deal in place in send Hall to Ottawa in exchange for Cody Ceci, who is by any metric a much less impressive player than Larsson. Bureaucracy came to the rescue in this case, as the deal had to be cleared with the Sens' management and before this could happen a deal materialized with the Devils.

8P.K. Subban to Vancouver for 5th overall pick

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There seems to be an unusually high number of Canadian teams on this list, which we think can be explained by the fact that no Canadian team has won a Stanley Cup since the year 1993. There's a kind of desperation among Canadian teams—with Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Ottawa all making the Stanley Cup finals with recent memory, to no avail—so unexpected moves are common from these franchises, who are simply looking to shake things up and perhaps catch other teams off guard.

P.K. Subban to Vancouver is a hard move to imagine, especially because Vancouver is now in a kind of rebuilding phase where they're looking to add picks and prospects rather than established players but apparently they came extremely close to landing P.K. only two years ago. What happened was that the Montreal Canadiens greatly coveted Pierre-Luc Dubois in the draft and there was a chance he'd fall to fifth in the draft, which was the picks the Canucks held.

If so, there was a deal in place in which the Canucks would give the pick to the Habs in exchange for Subban.

Instead, Dubois was unexpectedly picked up at third overall. The Canucks ended up with defenseman Olli Juolevi, who looks promising but hasn't played an NHL game yet.

7Matt Duchene to The New York Islanders For Travis Hamonic and 1st round pick

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This trade is a bit hard to keep track of now because the pieces it involves have been scattered all over the place. However, back when Matt Duchene was an unhappy member of the Colorado Avalanche, there was a rumor floating around that the Islanders had offered Travis Hamonic and a first round pick in exchange for the speedy centerman. He ended up having a pretty good season for the Ottawa Sentators this year considering the controversy that surrounded his long-awaited trade.

From the Duchene trade the Colorado Avalanche ended up receiving three picks and prospects, but apparently they were unwilling to accept simply Hamonic and a first pick.

Meanwhile, Hamonic was traded to the Flames in exchange for a first round pick and two second round picks. We're still years away from seeing how this all plays out. Hamonic so far hasn't been as good for the Flames as he was for the Islanders but he's also playing on a better defensive team with fewer responsibilities.

Duchene has not been as good for the Senators as he was for the Avalanche when he was at his best but he's also much better than he was when he was at his worst for the Avs. This failed trade is the freshest of the bunch which means it's the hardest to say who would have benefited most.

Next 6 Roberto Luongo to Toronto

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