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!

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.

14 Roberto Luongo / Cory Schneider

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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.

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.

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.

11 Brett Hull


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.

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.

9 Daniel Alfredsson

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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.

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.

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.

6 Doug Gilmour


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.

5 Cam Neely


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.

4 Chris Pronger


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.

3 Mark Messier


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.

2 Patrick Roy


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.

1 Wayne Gretzky


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.

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