It is extremely challenging for a team to part ways with a legitimate superstar for both the organization and fans. Franchise players are always beloved by the cities they play for because they are the main reason why their teams win. Yet there often tends to be a time when these players have to be moved because it is apparent that a team needs a significant rebuild. These type of trades are often surprising even if the players have been in the rumour mill. There have also been many moments where these trades ended up benefiting the team who lost the star. At the end of the day, it is important to note that trading a superstar can have serious consequences, but also spectacular rewards.
In this article, we will be looking at eight times teams traded their superstars and ended up with far more and seven teams that need to do the same thing now. There are so many trades that ended up being complete steals for the teams dumping their superstars and they should be remembered by potential rebuilding squads today. Although it is incredibly hard to move on from stars, if they are not working in the city anymore, they should be moved. This is especially the case when they are on the verge of being free agents and are not signing extensions with their clubs.
Nonetheless, let’s take a look at eight superstar trades that benefited the clubs ridding of them and seven that need to happen now.
15 Got Better: New York Rangers (Scott Gomez)
The New York Rangers have always been a hockey team that are aggressive in the offseason and they showed that when they locked up superstar Scott Gomez long term. Gomez was supposed to be their best player when he signed the deal, but as soon as he arrived, he showed signs of his decline and the Rangers quickly realized this.
The Rangers moved Gomez when his value was still high and got something perfect in return. The Scott Gomez deal helped the Rangers land their current captain Ryan McDonagh from the Montreal Canadiens. This would be an absolute steal and the Canadiens would quickly learn they made a massive mistake. Today, Gomez is out of the league.
14 Need To: New York Islanders (John Tavares)
The New York Islanders are currently flirting with a playoff spot, but there is a high chance that they do not end up making it. The Islanders have some of the worst goaltending in the league and that will ultimately be their downfall. With that said, they are only performing well because of their star offensive cast. This may need to change though shortly.
With John Tavares’ contract expiring at the end of the season and the possibility of him leaving is continuing to grow, this is now the time to move him. The return for Tavares will be far greater than losing him for absolutely nothing as a free agent. The Islanders need to do this if he does not have a contract by the trade deadline. He is way too good of a player to lose.
13 Got Better: Toronto Maple Leafs (Phil Kessel)
The Toronto Maple Leafs were the laughing stock of the NHL for years and sadly for Phil Kessel, he was the best player on their team every season that happened. Although Kessel was an absolute superstar for the Maple Leafs, he was often criticized as not trying hard enough and the main reason why the Leafs were terrible. This was obviously stupid of the media.
Due to all the negativity that built up from this, the Maple Leafs decided to trade Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins. This ended up being a fantastic move for the Maple Leafs because they not only received solid assets for him, but they were able to start a new and better chapter for the team. They now have more money and overall optimism from the squad.
12 Need To: Buffalo Sabres (Evander Kane)
Evander Kane is showing the NHL this season that he is a superstar and as a result of this, will be given a lot of money this offseason. Although the Sabres are lucky that Kane has finally showed his true potential for him, it is terrible that his contract is expiring. Yet, this could benefit the Sabres as well if they can get a lot for him as a rental player for another team.
There is no doubt that Evander Kane’s value has skyrocketed this season and the Sabres will most likely get a great set of assets for him. Although losing a player of Kane’s skill will be hurtful for a bit, it is important to note that the Sabres are in a rebuilding phase and are going to be terrible regardless. They should look to pick up a first for him and that alone could be extremely helpful.
11 Got Better: Philadelphia Flyers (Mike Richards)
The Philadelphia Flyers shocked the NHL when they traded their captain, Mike Richards, because he was still a superstar and was had many more years left in his prime. Richards had been the best player for the Flyers for the entirety of his NHL career at that point, but the Flyers felt that it was time for a bit of a retooling after a disappointing playoff round.
From there, the Flyers quickly found out that trading away Mike Richards was a fantastic move. In the deal, the Flyers got two extremely talented players in Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn. Today, Simmonds is currently one of the best players on the Flyers and the heart of the squad. Although Schenn has since been traded, this year he also is a superstar. Richards, on the other hand, was an absolute bust with the Kings and now is out of the league.
10 Need To: San Jose Sharks (Joe Thornton)
The San Jose Sharks are finally showing the NHL that they are no longer contenders and it may be time for a legitimate rebuild. Their top players are all getting to be far too old and that is truly troubling for everyone involved. The Sharks should comprehend that they have lost their chances to win the Stanley Cup and Joe Thornton should be let go.
Even with his old age, Joe Thornton is by far the best forward on the San Jose Sharks and still has a lot of value. The Sharks should look to move Thornton to acquire young assets from a top tier contender. This would be awesome for Thornton because he would have the chance to win the Stanley Cup finally. He deserves it and the Sharks simply will never give it to him.
9 Got Better: Colorado Avalanche (Matt Duchene)
The Colorado Avalanche had the worst year in recent memory last season and it sparked them to start a massive rebuild. The Avalanche put all of their top players on the block in hopes that they would be able to move at least one for a massive package. Fast forward to this season and they finally found a trade partner for their top centre, Matt Duchene.
The Colorado Avalanche traded Matt Duchene to the Ottawa Senators and since then, the Avalanche have been spectacular. They are currently legitimate playoff contenders and already have more wins they had last season. The Senators on the other hand have fallen off immensely since the deal and it is apparent that Duchene has even hurt them.
8 Need To: Philadelphia Flyers (Claude Giroux)
It is now time for the Philadelphia Flyers to do the same exact thing they did with Mike Richards to Claude Giroux. Although Giroux is having a career year this season, he has been in the rumour mill for quite some time and it may be time to pull the trigger. Giroux’s value is extremely high right now and the squad could end up getting some very talented pieces.
There is no way that the Philadelphia Flyers are going to be Stanley Cup Champions anytime soon, so they should give Giroux the chance to win. These are Giroux’s prime years, but it is important to note that he is getting a bit older. If the Flyers want a lot in return, they should get rid of Giroux now. It could ultimately help them just as much as the Richard’s deal.
7 Got Better: Nashville Predators (Martin Erat)
Martin Erat was a very important piece of the Nashville Predators for a number of years and due to this, was a fan favourite. Erat was a crafty playmaker who was constantly one of the top offensive players on the Predators and that gave him a lot of value. When his contract was set to expire and the team was in a rebuilding phase, they knew it was time to move on.
Yet, when the Predators traded their former star, they did not expect to pick up a superstar talent like Filip Forsberg from the Washington Capitals. Right away, the trade proved to be a massive mistake because Erat absolutely was awful as soon as he arrived in Washington and Forsberg now is a franchise player for the Capitals. This one still stings.
6 Need To: Toronto Maple Leafs (James van Riemsdyk)
Everything in Toronto is truly wonderful right now and the Maple Leafs have a legitimate chance of being Stanley Cup Champions. This would be absolutely outstanding because the club has been struggling for years, but the rebuild is finalyl helping them. They have a lot of tough decisions to make financially, especially with pending free agent James van Riemsdyk.
James van Riemsdyk is arguably the best player in front of the net in the league and will be a huge free agent target this offseason. The Maple Leafs recognize this, but they most likely will not be able to bring him back. With that said, they should trade him now and pick up assets that could help them win. The value is there and they will not lose JVR for nothing.
5 Got Better: Vancouver Canucks (Todd Bertuzzi)
During the early 2000s, Todd Bertuzzi was the best power forward in the NHL because he not only was a physical specimen, but he also had the potential to put up forty goal seasons consistently. Yet, in 2004, Bertuzzi completely ruined his career by viciously assaulting Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore. This would result in Moore having a broken neck and never being able to play again.
Because Todd Bertuzzi ruined his reputation around the league, the Canucks decided to put him on the block and they ended up winning big time. For the declining superstar Bertuzzi, the Canucks were able to land franchise goalie, Roberto Luongo, from the Florida Panthers. As a result of this, the Canucks ended up being the best team in the Western Conference for quite some time.
4 Need To: Montreal Canadiens (Max Pacioretty)
The Montreal Canadiens are absolutely abysmal this season and it is apparent that they need to rebuild because of stupid management decisions. There have been reports that the Montreal Canadiens are aggressively shopping Max Pacioretty, as if he is the problem, and want a young forward in return. This is the perfect time for this to happen however.
The Montreal Canadiens are not going anywhere with this roster and it is time for them to shake up the team. They have been struggling for far too long and their championship window is definitely decreasing. If they want to win a Stanley Cup with Carey Price as their goalie, they need to build a great team around him with new players. Patches needs to go.
3 Got Better: Dallas Stars (Loui Eriksson)
During his days with the Dallas Stars, Loui Eriksson was one of the top players in the entire NHL and registered seventy points multiple times. The Dallas Stars realized that he had a lot of trade value due to this and began shopping him in hopes that they could help their rebuild. What they received for Eriksson was far greater than what they could have imagined.
The Boston Bruins stupidly parted ways with Tyler Seguin to acquire Eriksson from Dallas because he fit the culture more. Since the trade occurred, Seguin showed the NHL that he was a far better player than Eriksson and today there is absolutely no comparison. Seguin is a franchise player for the Stars, while Eriksson is an absolute bust for the Canucks on an atrocious contract.
2 Need To: Ottawa Senators (Erik Karlsson)
It is honestly quite sad seeing how badly the Ottawa Senators have fallen off after how great they were last year. The Senators were the underdogs of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and were one goal away from playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. Yet, today they are currently one of the worst teams in the league and change is needed.
With Erik Karlsson’s contract almost coming to an end and him being open about his number one desire being money, it is time to trade him. The Senators are most likely going to lose him if they let him hit the open market and they should get a lot for him before it happens. Karlsson is a talent that could land them a legitimate superstar and potential face of the franchise. I say it is time to take that risk.
1 Got Better: Nashville Predators (Shea Weber)
For years, Shea Weber was the face of the Nashville Predators and was the main reason why Nashville became a huge hockey city. Weber was the most humble player on the ice consistently and did whatever he could to help make the team win. Although he never won a cup with the team, he will always be loved by the city.
Yet, the Predators made a shocking, but correct move by trading Shea Weber’s abysmal contract to the Canadiens for P.K. Subban. Since the deal, both players have played sensationally, but it is apparent that the Preds have won the deal in the present and future. Subban is dominating the NHL and has a great contract, while Weber will only age from here and is signed until he ancient for far more money.