Pulling A Subban: 15 NHL Stars That Should Have Never Left Their Team

Social media nearly crashed yesterday afternoon when three major deals were made public. The major talking point was the P.K. Subban deal, which saw the star d-man get swapped in a trade for Predators captain Shea Weber. The deal caused a fire storm quickly, as fans were in disbelief, thinking P.K. was untouchable for all his noteworthy accomplishments on and off the ice. After the trade was made, Patrick Roy alarm bells sounded and fans looked to the problem being internally.

From a hockey stand point, the deal made sense for Nashville, who now have an All Star duo of Roman Josi and P.K. Subban at the back that will haunt teams for the next decade. As for the Habs, getting a 30 year old defenseman just didn’t sit well with most fans.

This leads us to our topic of the day regarding player moves that should have never went down. This isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last deal that infuriates an entire fan base. Today, we walk down memory lane and take a look at some memorable moves that really should have never happened. On that note, let us begin the list with a Montreal native by the name of Martin St. Louis, enjoy!

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

15 Martin St.Louis

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Starving for offense, the Calgary Flames made headlines signing a 5’8" forward by the name of Martin St. Louis in an attempt to jump start the offensive side of things. St.Louis had a short leash with the team, after earning a starting position for the 98-99 season, Martin was slotted on a line alongside Flames top forward at the time, Theoren Fleury. Failing to make an immediate impact with the Canadian franchise, Martin was demoted to the fourth line and later was forced to watch the action in a press box. Like we’ve seen countless times in the past, he was then sent down to the teams AHL affiliate down in Saint John.

He showed great promise during his AHL run leading the team in goals and points. However, this wasn’t enough for St. Louis to earn himself another call up. Instead, the team made him available during an Expansion Draft, after he wasn’t claimed, the Flames bought out his contract and missed out on a future stud.

St. Louis would create a tremendous legacy for himself winning two Art Ross Trophys, a Hart Trophy and, most importantly, a Stanley Cup Championship title in 2004.

14 Roberto Luongo / Cory Schneider

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to P.K., Roberto Luongo was a beloved face in the Vancouver community for various reasons, as not only was he an All Star goalie, but he had an infectious character to go along with his goaltending abilities.

Typical for any Canadian market, unnecessary questions were being asked if Luongo was the guy moving forward with Cory Schneider beginning to hit his stride as a serious possibility as a number one goalie. Before you knew it, Schneider was traded in a shocking move before Luongo, sending him to the New Jersey Devils for a draft pick. That quickly, a franchise goalie was inexplicably dealt. leaving the fans in shock.

So you’d assume that Roberto would be penciled in as their starter for the next couple of years, right? Well, in true Canucks fashion, the team would later move Roberto, a day before the 2014 deadline, back to Florida. As you might expect, former GM Mike Gillis was fired shortly after this disaster. How a team can trade two franchise goalies that easily is beyond me.

13 Joe Thornton

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last decade, the Bruins have showed its fan base that they are not afraid to make a deal in order for them to win now. Over the last couple of years, this has hurt the franchise more than anything sending away some serious gems for nothing in return.

This aggressive approach started a while ago with the Joe Thornton trade. It seemed like a match made in heaven at the time. In 1997, the Bruins were excited beyond belief to select the 6’4" powerhouse forward. His potential was through the roof and, more importantly, he fit the mold of what the Bruins were trying to build.

After a slow start, Joe finally began to find his game as an elite passer in the NHL, putting up a 60 point season in only his second full year with the Bruins. He would peak in the 02-03 season putting up over 100 points.

After the lockout, the Bruins would make a splash in late November, sending Big Joe over to the San Jose Sharks for a package deal featuring low level players, ith the only noteworthy name to join the Bruins being Marco Sturm. The fan base was incensed and things got worse when Thornton had the best year of his career with the Sharks and received the honors for the Art Ross and Hart Trophies that year.

12 Tyler Seguin

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, the Boston Bruins made a trade that they should never have made. When you look at their team today, you can’t help but to think what an impact Seguin would have had he not been dealt.

The Bruins shocked the NHL community by claiming the rights to the Leafs' future first round pick (among other picks) when they traded away Phil Kessel. They had a terrible year and the Bruins ended up with the second overall pick, where they'd draft Tyler Seguin. Many praised the move, claiming the Bruins were set with a franchise player for the next two decades.

His Bruins journey was met with a lot of controversy. As opposed to making him play his game, the coaching staff stressed that Seguin play a two way game. Eventually, the team felt like Tyler wasn’t fitting the mold and decided to deal him away during the 2013 off season. The return for such a player wasn’t close to being enough. The only notable player in the deal was Loui Eriksson, who is set to hit the free agency market this summer.

Similar to Jumbo Joe, Seguin thrived instantly, putting up career high numbers in every category. Looking at the Bruins team now, this trade should have never happened.

11 Brett Hull

via deadspin.com

A late pick in the 1984 NHL draft, Brett Hull was drafted 117th overall. His AHL rookie season was legendary to say the least, as in true sniper fashion Hull, would rack in 50 goals, tying the AHL rookie record in the process.

In the 1987-88 season, Hull was finally up with the Flames. He scored 26 goals in 52 games, yet that still wasn’t enough to keep him around. Calgary didn’t like his conditioning levels, so they decided to pull the trigger on a trade with the St. Louis Blues, getting no recognizable players in the deal.

What he would do with the Blues was absolutely spectacular, having separate 72, 86 and 70 goal seasons. The deal was a disaster to say the least and one that Calgary should have never made. Yet another example of a Canadian market jumping the gun far too soon.

10 Ben Bishop

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

To this day, the Ottawa Senators are searching for a franchise goalie to backstop the team to the top of the NHL hierarchy. Over the years, the team has put its chips on streaky goaltending performances that could not sustain that type of quality throughout their careers. Names that instantly come to mind include Patrick Lalime, Damian Rhodes and, most recently, Andrew Hammond.

Desperate for some type of consistency in the crease, the Sens looked for a trade to help acquire that need. In February of 2012, it looked like Ottawa finally got their man when they acquired Ben Bishop for a second round pick from St. Louis (they could also make this list for that trade). The addition was significant when you factor in that Bishop was the top AHL goalie at the time, putting up a 24-10 record.

He inexplicably was kept as a back up to Craig Anderson. Needing a goalie, Steve Yzerman once again worked his magic and acquired the future star goalie for Cory Conacher and a fourth round pick. Bishop made his debut picking up a shutout and never looked back.

9 Daniel Alfredsson

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Alfredsson spent almost two decade with the Senators and him retiring as a member of the organization seemed rather likely. Instead, Daniel opted out of Ottawa in an attempt to make one final run at the cup by joining their division rivals, the Detroit Red Wings. The decision to leave was met with a lot of anger by Sens fans, as his former teammates were also shocked by the decision to jump ship at that point in his career. Alfie’s intent was made clear, as similar to Ray Bourque, he wanted to ride off into the sunset with a Stanley Cup to his name.

The situation was met with a degree of regret ultimately, as not only did Alfie not win a cup but the Wings were ousted quickly in the first round by the Boston Bruins. His decision nearly ruined his reputation with the team, but thankfully, at the seasons endm Alfie salvaged things by joining the Sens head office. If both sides can do it over again, things would be much different.

8 Zdeno Chara / Jason Spezza

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Milbury and his run as the GM of the New York Islanders was polarizing, to say the least. Some of his decisions were absolutely brutal and based on a win now mentality which got his team nowhere. Thankfully, the selection of John Tavares and other young gems helped to restore the franchises respectability around the league, after he left of course.

However, at one point, the organization made some awful blunders and this one takes the cake. At 56th overall, Islanders picked the 6’9 defenseman. In true Islanders fashion, the team gave up on him, dealing the franchise d-man to the Ottawa Senators. In one of the worst trades of all-time, the Islanders traded Zdeno Chara and the first overall choice of the 2001 NHL Draft, which turned out to be Jason Spezza, to the Senators. In return, the team got Alexei Yashin, who was eventually bought out by the team with a brutal 10 year, $87.5 million dollar deal.

7 Ilya Kovalchuk

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Money eventually plagued the career of Illya Kovalchuk, who should have never left the Devils after signing a massive 15 year deal worth $100 million.

Finances eventually drove the talented Russian out of every team he played, as Don Waddell, the former GM of the Atlanta Thrashers, was forced to trade Illya when it was impossible to satisfy the star winger. Instead of losing him for nothing, the team wisely decided to trade him away to the Devils.

As we mentioned, he signed a huge extension and had an immediate impact, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals. On July 11th, 2013, Kovalchuk shocked the league by claiming he was leaving the NHL. The disaster caused the NHL to relook at contract terms and lengths, while the Russian headed back to his homeland. The deal should have never been broken and Kovalchuk should still be a member of the Devils organization today. This is one of the only cases on the list where the player decided to leave, but should not have been given the right.

6 Doug Gilmour

via icehockey.wikia.com

He became the face of the Leafs franchise and is arguably one of the most popular players in Toronto sports history. Doug Gilmour had all the tools to become a fan favorite, as he gave it his all every night in all aspects. He could not only bring it physically, but he was also capable of scoring goals. His first two full seasons with the Leafs were epic to say the least, as he put up back to back years of impressive point totals, scoring 127 points in the 92-93 campaign, followed up by an 111 point season. What made these totals so remarkable was the fact that he had over 100 minutes in penalties in both seasons.

His journey with the Leafs quite frankly should have never occurred. The Leafs pounced on a bitter Gilmour who wanted out of Calgary after a bitter contract dispute. Instead of keeping their star forward happy and trying to patch things up, the Flames instead agreed to his demands and shipped him away for very little. The trade was a huge disappointment and caused Toronto to emerge into a contender, while Calgary was never the same and experienced terrible disappointments in the years that followed.

5 Cam Neely

via en.r8lst.com

For once, the Bruins find themselves on the opposite side of the fence by claiming a franchise player that should have never left his team. Once again, a Canadian franchise let go of a player far too early, as the Canucks head coach at the time, Tom Watt, claimed he wasn’t thrilled with Cam Neely’s two way game, even though he was playing fourth line minutes at the time.

It was immediately obvious that the Cancuks made a terrible move. Neely made an instant impact, leading the Bruins in goals, while doubling his point totals from his previous year as a Canuck. He also racked in over 100 minutes in penalties, making him beloved by the Bruins faithful. After being inducted into the Hall of Fame class of 2005, it was clear that Vancouver made a huge mistake...

4 Chris Pronger

via emptynetsports.com

It's ironic that the Oilers are still looking for a go to D-man years after losing Chris Pronger, though the Oilers hope they finally found their man trading away star winger Taylor Hall for a potential star defender in Adam Larsson. The trade was a massive risk and met with a lot of frustration from the Oilers faithful. The sad truth is that if you want a defensemen in this eram and a young one at that, you’re going to have to pay a heavy price. When looking at the deal, one for one, it does seem lopsided, but if you look at the big picture, it seems to make more sense. Only time will tell if the deal is a hit or miss for a team starving for a big minute blueliner.

They had one in Chris Pronger at one point. The star defenseman left the Blues in order to relieve some of their cap issues, as he was traded to Edmonton. He would go on to a sign five year deal with Edmonton. His impact was immediate, helping Edmonton to a Stanley Cup Final showdown against Carolina, where they would lose in a dramatic seven game series. During that same offseason, Pronger shocked the team by demanding a trade. Instead of trying to keep him, the team obliged and sent him to the Ducks, setting up a dynasty like pairing with Pronger playing alongside Scott Niedermayer.

3 Mark Messier

via dailydsports.com

The city of misfortune sums it up best, as Edmonton makes three of the last four entries on this list. The team is notorious for giving up franchise players in moves they simply should not have made.

Mark Messier was yet another Edmonton mess. During his run with the Oilers, Messier was regarded as the greatest leader around the league. After Wayne Gretzky’s shocking departure, Messier carried the load for the team, winning the MVP honors without number 99 by his side. Instead of rewarding Messier, the team seemed to constantly regress by letting players leave the team. Messier had enough when it was made public that Adam Graves would be leaving the team. With a diminishing supporting cast, number 11 wanted out. The team would oblige and trade Messier. He would win the Hart Trophy in his first season as a Ranger and later win the prestigious Stanley Cup. Oh, Edmonton....

2 Patrick Roy

via lincoln4life.blogspot.com

The P.K. Subban deal reminded a lot of Habs fans of the Patrick Roy deal from 1996, which is the absolute worst trade in franchise history.

According to various media outlets, the Subban trade ultimately went down because of communication problems in the locker room similar to the Roy incident. On top of being the worst trade in franchise history, many believe the Roy trade is the worst deal in NHL history and could have easily been resolved by either firing Tremblay or resolving the heat between the two. In similar circumstances, many believe the Subban issues could have been taken care of internally before any trade was made.

On a brighter note, the Habs did get a great player in return, although he's in his 30s. It's a lot better than what they got for Patrick Roy...

1 Wayne Gretzky

via news.nationalpost.com

The P.K. Subban deal was met with its fair share of backlash, but nothing will ever compare to the outrage of Edmonton fans when their hero and greatest player in franchise history was inexplicably dealt away. The trade not only impacted an entire city, but an entire nation.

Known as “The Trade,” its impact is still profound. Some believe it was a money ploy for the Oilers, while some say Wayne eventually agreed to a move. Either way, the trade should have never happened. The deal hit an entire country, as in fact, the New Democratic Party House Leader Nelson Riis requested that the government block the trade!

Peter Pocklington, the Oilers' owner at the time, also faced some serious heat from fans and media for allegedly forcing Wayne out of the team for some extra cash. There are so many what if’s involved with this situation, but ultimately Gretzky left in a move that seemed as the unlikeliest in NHL history. This proved that no player is safe from a reckless GM.

More in NHL