Trades happen throughout the NHL all the time. There are some that have fans raising their eyebrows, wondering how the player traded will fare on a different team. No one can ever know how fast a player will find chemistry with new teammates. Thankfully, for some players, they find the stats they were reaching for their entire career after being traded. Other players find themselves losing their scoring touch to the point where the team that they are now playing for regrets their decision.
A trade requires a team to make many decisions that influence their foreseeable future, and whether a player fits or not. Case in point, Taylor Hall being traded to New Jersey from Edmonton for defenseman Adam Larsson. It was clear that the Oilers needed help on the blue line, but Hall was shocked by the trade, thinking he was a pivotal part of Edmonton's future. Oilers General Manager Peter Chiarelli was focusing on a bigger picture and wanted to save up some salary cap to sign some free agents.
The Hall trade is just one example that will be listed in this article. Dating back to the 2005-06 season, many trades have taking place throughout the NHL. Aside from Vegas, who has just completed their first season in the league, every team has had a trade alter the dynamic of the team. Some were for the better, others for the worse. This list will showcase 10 players who became All-Stars since being traded, and five who lost their touch when it came to racking their own personal stats.
15 Became An All-Star: Tuukka Rask
Being named one of the worst trades in Maple Leaf history, Tuukka Rask was being primed to be Toronto's up-and-coming goaltender, but he was traded to Boston before even making his NHL debut. Though he had split his time between the NHL and the AHL for the first two seasons after signing with the Bruins, Rask was finally named the backup goalie for the NHL club just before the 2009-10 season.
Rask has found great success with the Bruins. From helping the team win the Stanley Cup in 2011, to winning the Vezina trophy in 2014, he has definitely proven that the Toronto Maple Leafs gave up on him far too soon. Rask was named to his first All-Star game in 2017.
14 Became An All-Star: James Neal
James Neal has been on the roster of four different NHL teams since being drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2005. He debuted in the NHL three years later in 2008. Trying to make a name for himself as a top-six forward, it wasn't what the Stars had expected from the Whitby, Ontario native. Neal was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins just before the 2011 trade deadline, on February 22, along with defenseman Matt Niskanen in exchange for defenseman Alex Goligoski.
Since being traded from Dallas, Neal has achieved career-highs and has made three appearances at the NHL All-Star game. His first appearance was during his first full season in Pittsburgh. That season he scored his career-best to date in points, tallying 81 points in 80 games. Neal had also scored his first playoff hat trick as a Penguin in the 2013 playoffs against the Ottawa Senators.
He had many eyes on his growing success in Pittsburgh, and after being traded to Nashville during the 2014 Entry Draft, his numbers slowly began to slip. However, during the 2017-18 season, as a top-six forward for the debuting Vegas Golden Knights, his numbers are beginning to rise once again. He made history, scoring twice in Vegas' first NHL game, giving the team a victorious franchise debut.
13 Lost Scoring Touch: Jarome Iginla
After playing 15 full seasons with the Calgary Flames, Jarome Iginla was a household name, especially for Canadian hockey fans. He is one of the most beloved hockey players in the NHL. Being captain of the Flames for the last seven seasons of his time playing in Calgary, it was a shock to hear that he was being traded. He was traded to Pittsburgh on March 27, 2003. He quickly moved from the first to the third line on the team and after the season wrapped up, he did not return to the Penguins the following season.
His stats dropped each year following the initial trade from the Flames, spending one season with Boston, three with Colorado and the 2016-17 season with Los Angeles. Plagued with injuries, Iginla missed the entire 2017-18 season, but is hopeful to return next season, but doesn't know where.
12 Became An All-Star: Blake Wheeler
Drafted by the Coyotes in 2004, Blake Wheeler wouldn't make his debut in the NHL for another four years. His debut wasn't with the Coyotes, as they weren't able to come to terms on an entry-level contract. Wheeler debuted with the Boston Bruins on October 9, 2008, scoring his first NHL goal in his first game. Wheeler would spend three two and a half seasons with the Bruins before being traded to Atlanta on February 18, 2011.
Since joining Atlanta, and moving with the team when they re-located to Winnipeg, Wheeler has become a household name. Since being named the captain of the Jets before the 2016-17 season, he has become an All-Star. Named to his first All-Star game this past season, he finished the season with a career-high 91 points and was named a finalist for the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
11 Became An All-Star: Patrick Sharp
Patrick Sharp's time with team that drafted him is almost always forgotten about. Not because he wasn't a great hockey player during that time, but because the majority of the three seasons he had in Philly playing in the AHL. After playing only 22 games with the Flyers after the 2004-05 lockout, Sharp was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks.
While playing in Chicago, Sharp had enjoyed success he had never seen in Philly. He had helped the Hawks win three Stanley Cups during his time there, winning hockey's biggest trophy in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Sharp was named the MVP of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, the only All-Star game he has participated in throughout his career. Though he played two seasons in Dallas from 2015 to 2017, Sharp made a return to Chicago for his final season before retiring after the 2017-18 season.
10 Lost Scoring Touch: Scott Gomez
Scott Gomez had become somewhat of a joke to hockey fans in the later half of his playing career. While playing with the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers, he seemed to be playing well. That all changed after he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens before the 2009-10 season.
After his first season with the Habs, it was a struggle for Gomez to find the back of the net. From the beginning of the 2010-11 season to his retirement from playing hockey after the 2015-16 season, Gomez scored 21 goals in the 295 games he played during that time. A website was even made by hockey fans, counting how long it had been since he'd scored a goal while he was still playing in Montreal. Today, he is an assistant coach for the New York Islanders.
9 Became An All-Star: Wayne Simmonds
Wayne Simmonds may have began his NHL career in Los Angeles, but he is mostly known by his playing style in Philadelphia. Spending three seasons with the Kings, Simmonds had beaten his career-high stats during his first season with the Flyers. His only season since being traded where he scored less than 46 points was the half-season after the lockout that ended in January 2013.
Simmonds has continuously been in the top-six in Philly, with all eyes on him and his play style. Reaching a new career-high of 60 points in both 2013-14 and 2015-16, he was named to the NHL All-Star game for the first time in his career in 2017.
8 Became An All-Star: Tyler Seguin
After the 2010 NHL Entry Draft where we didn't know if it was going to be Taylor or Tyler being selected first, Tyler Seguin was selected second overall by the Boston Bruins. He had helped his team win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 years in his rookie season. Making history, Seguin was the first teenager since 1989 to score four points in a playoff game. Finishing his sophomore season in 2012 leading the Bruins in scoring, he was selected for the All-Star game for the first time in January 2012. Whether it was because of his attitude or not, Seguin was traded to the Dallas Stars in 2013 after the post-lockout 48-game season. His career-high at that point was 67 points in 81 games during the 2011-12 season.
During his first season in Dallas, 2013-14, Seguin had reached a new career-high of 84 points in 80 games. The trade may have been the kick in the pants that many speculated he needed after the 2013 playoffs, and he proved that he can be a top tier player. Being selected for the All-Star game for the last four seasons, Seguin has truly shown that playing on a different team has helped his style of play in many ways. He has finished every season he has played with the Stars with more points than his best season in Boston.
7 Lost Scoring Touch: Mike Richards
Formerly the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, Mike Richards lost his scoring touch after being traded to the Los Angeles Kings. Being given many awards during his time in Philly, it was a downward spiral for Richards after leaving Broad Street. This may be an entry that some may find weird to be on this list, since he won the Stanley Cup twice during his run with the Kings.
Though he had hoisted the Cup in both 2012 and 2015, the stats don't lie. Richards' stats had declined from his days playing as a captain for the Flyers. Going from having a career-high of 80 points in 79 games in 2008-09, to 41 points in 82 in 2013-14 proves that Richards' best days were behind him.
6 Became An All-Star: Phil Kessel
Starting out as a Bruin in Boston, Phil Kessel did not receive the recognition that he truly deserved until he was traded for the second overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
During his six years in Toronto, Kessel had been named to the NHL All-Star game three times and has consistently made great strides to be the best player he can be. He was a point-per-game player for three seasons in Toronto. Being traded once again to Pittsburgh on July 1, 2015, Kessel's style of play improved even further. He helped the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships in 2016 and 2017. Kessel finished the 2017-18 season with a career-high 92 points, playing every regular season game.
5 Became An All-Star: Jakub Voracek
After finishing out his entry-level contract with the team that drafted him, the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jakub Voracek was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on June 23, 2011 in exchange for Jeff Carter. Though he had grown each season, Voracek had truly come into his own as a player in Philly. Not only making it to his first NHL All-Star Game in his career, he had received many awards within the Flyers organization since being traded.
Voracek has helped the team make it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs four times since joining the club, playing on the first line with captain Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. Voracek currently holds the NHL record, tied with Mario Lemieux, for most points in an NHL All-Star game with both players tallying six points.
4 Lost Scoring Touch: Devin Setoguchi
Looking like a promising star for the San Jose Sharks when he debuted in the NHL in 2007, Devon Setoguchi was looking like a future top-six forward while playing out his entry-level contract. Having a career-high season in 2008-09, his first full season with the Sharks, Setoguchi finished the year with 65 points in 81 games.
After being traded to Minnesota, his stats began to steadily drop. In the five seasons that followed his departure from San Jose, Setoguchi never reached more than 36 points, which he achieved in his first year with Minnesota, playing 61 games. Today, he is a free agent, most recently playing overseas, where he played for the 2017-18 season.
3 Became An All-Star: Taylor Hall
Though Taylor Hall was already considered an All-Star to a certain degree during his time in Edmonton, after being traded to New Jersey in a surprise trade during the summer before the 2016-17 season, his numbers and comfort level as a top player on the team really sky-rocketed.
This past season, he participated in his third NHL All-Star Game, and made it to the playoffs for the first time in his career. Not only did he have the best season of his career, with 93 points in 76 games, he was nominated for the Ted Lindsay Award and named as a finalist for the Hart Memorial trophy.
2 Became An All-Star: Joe Thornton
The man known as "Jumbo Joe" had seven great seasons with the Boston Bruins from 1997 to 2004. While he was named to three NHL All-Stars games during that time, it was after Joe Thornton's trade to San Jose that really cemented his legacy in the NHL.
Traded in the middle of the 2005-06 season, Thornton had added 92 points to the remaining 58 games of the season, giving him a total of 125 points. He had won the Art Ross trophy, finishing the regular season with the most points in the NHL. In addition to winning the Art Ross, Thornton won the Hart trophy, making history by being the only NHL player to win those awards for a season where he split his time between two teams. Spending four years as the captain of the Sharks from 2010 to 2014, Thornton continues to be a great force for San Jose's organization today.
1 Lost Touch: Jose Theodore
Once poised as the saving grace for the Montreal Canadiens, Jose Theodore had a number a great seasons between the pipes. In 2002, he had his best season, winning both the Vezina and Hart Memorial trophies. He had not only the rest of his team behind him, but the entire city of Montreal was beyond proud to cheer for him during his tenure with the Habs. The 2004-05 lockout had taken a toll on his playing style. Though he played in Switzerland while the NHL wasn't running for that season, he didn't come back to the NHL in 2005 with the same spark he once had. At the trade deadline in 2006, Theodore was traded to Colorado.
When he began his tenure with the Avalanche, Theodore was on the injury reserve. After he had healed, he was the starting goalie for the 2006 playoffs, chosen ahead of Peter Budaj, despite only playing the last five games of the regular season. Losing his starting position to Budaj the following season, it was clear to see that Theodore's best days were behind him. It had seemed that the spark the he once had was re-ignited after signing a two-year deal with the Washington Capitals just before the 2008-09 season. He had won the Bill Masterton trophy at the 2010 NHL Awards.
With short tenures in Minnesota and Florida, Theodore had retired from the NHL in 2013.
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