It’s a long road to the NHL. Sure a player can score in junior, but translating that success to the big leagues can take time, the right opportunity, and quite a bit of luck. Young players need the right situation in order to have a breakout season. There must be enough room on the depth chart to progress, and enough leadership around them to guide the way. A young player can also butt heads with coaching staff or other dominant personalities in the locker room, prompting a switch. They also have to deal with instant riches and fame at a very young age, all in the scrutiny-heavy internet-age.
Evander Kane was traded this season in a blockbuster. This was just days after reports came out of Winnipeg regarding his attitude and relationship with his teammates. His new team in Buffalo is betting that he’ll leave the drama behind as he's just in his early 20s and can evolve into a top-line talent for years to come. While Winnipeg hopes for the same with ex-Sabre Tyler Myers. The former Calder winner hasn’t posted the same stats since his rookie year, although his declining production could easily be attributed to the dizzying troubles of his former team. Whether Myers and Kane can redeem themselves through this trade will always be linked to the track record of GMs Tim Murray and Kevin Cheveldayoff.
It's not all about youth. Some players on this list were veterans who began to decline in production and/or be stricken with injury. A team can trade a player at their lowest value only to watch them re-establish their game (and value) with a new franchise.
That’s why people love trades; its a gamble. You can look at the past results for help, but it’s impossible to predict the human element. The best franchises seem to find a type of player they like, and shoot for that. At least it’s the devil they know.
Here are 10 players that were once considered:
10. Tyler Seguin
Tyler Seguin was in the spotlight before he was drafted. The pick to nab him at second was traded by Toronto to Boston in the Phil Kessel deal. Seguin stayed in the spotlight, finding immediate success in Boston, winning a Stanley Cup as a teenager and producing legitimate top-six numbers for two seasons after that.
But the Bruins began to sour on Seguin. As the team struggled against Toronto in the playoffs, management made accusations that Tyler’s post-game activities had affected his performance. This, along with his unwillingness to play the physical “Boston Hockey” caused a trade for the budding superstar.
Traded over the summer to Dallas, the NHL universe was left to speculate on his upcoming season. Seguin cemented his reputation as a big-time player, forming one of the top NHL duos with Jamie Benn.
Seguin has established himself as a legitimate star and is still in the spotlight, but for all the right reasons and Boston has to be regretting giving up on Seguin so quickly.
9 Marian Gaborik
Marian Gaborik was an electrifying scorer on the conservative Minnesota Wild for eight seasons. His last few years were mired in injury, but he always scored when healthy, including an impressive 30 goals in 48 games, and a crazy 13 in 17.
Signing as a free agent with the Rangers, Gaborik continued to score but also continued to miss time. After Rick Nash arrived on Broadway, Gaborik's stock was at an all-time low. He was traded to Columbus for a package including two Derricks; Brassard and Dorsett. Gaborik suffered another serious injury, missing more time and scoring slower than his usual pace. He appeared in just 34 games over two seasons, scoring 9 goals, before his trade to the L.A. Kings. At this time he was a risky commodity.
Once in La-La-Land, Gaborik regained his old scoring touch when it counted the most. He led all playoff goal-scorers with 14, helping the Kings to their second Stanley Cup in three years.
This trade changed the image of Gaborik from injury-prone, to Stanley Cup winner.
8 Mason Raymond
Not a trade, but still a great story of redemption.
Mason Raymond could manufacture Bure-like thrills in Vancouver with his electrifying speed. Unfortunately he didn’t share the same finish or fearlessness that Pavel possessed. He teased fans with a 25 goal season but after a horrific back injury and declining offensive totals, he found himself without a job.
After accepting a PTO from Toronto, Raymond quickly earned a spot with the Leafs for just $1 million, far below his last contract. He responded with the second-best point totals of his career and revived interest in him as a winger.
Raymond signed with Calgary for three years, and $9.5 million, his most lucrative contract to date.
7 7. Miroslav Satan
Miro Satan played two middling seasons for the Edmonton Oilers from 1995-97. He managed a high of 18 goals, and 35 points while in Oil country. Satan was too low on the Edmonton depth chart and they deemed him expendable, trading him to Buffalo for a couple AHL players who managed a less than a season's worth of games combined.
His trade to the Sabres happened at the perfect time. Satan starred as the top offensive talent during the Peca/Hasek era, culminating with a trip to the Stanley Cup final in 1999.
Satan went on to finish his career with 735 points over 1,050 games.
6 Chris Pronger
Before his three Stanley Cup Final appearances and one victory, before the Hart and Norris Trophies, before the Olympic Gold, Pronger was deemed expendable. The Hartford Whalers, after drafting him second overall, deemed fit to trade the future-all-star after only two seasons. This trade, along with the Islanders trading Chara has served as a warning to all NHL franchises who might give up on behemoth defensemen too soon.
While playing for Hartford, Pronger was arrested twice, once for his involvement in a bar fight, and another for drunk driving. Coupled with the fact that the Whalers franchise was struggling mightily, Pronger was traded to St. Louis for Brendan Shanahan.
With the guidance of “Iron” Mike Keenan, Pronger blossomed into a dominant, award-winning defenseman. A fresh start in St. Louis allowed him to move on from the negative attention and forge a new legacy as one of the best.
5 Alexander Mogilny
Mogilny had an illustrous hockey career. He was the first Soviet to defect to the NHL, as well as the first European to captain an NHL team. He scored 50 in 50, potted 76 goals in a single season, is a member of the triple-gold club, and is the second-highest scoring Russian in NHL history.
So what’s he doing on this list?
After his prolific scoring in Buffalo, Mogilny was traded to Vancouver in a deal involving Mike Peca. He posted two seasons of high scoring, until injuries caught up with Almo. Coinciding with the arrival of Mark Messier, the Canucks began spiraling down into a dark era of futility. During this period, Mogilny had earned the reputation of an injury prone superstar, who tried only when he felt like it. His stock was at an all time low.
A surprise trade to the New Jersey Devils in 1999-00 gave a new lease to Mogilny’s career. He won his first Stanley Cup in that season with the Devils, and popped 43 goals the next. He kept the comeback going with three productive years in Toronto. He also became the only player other than Mats Sundin to lead the Leafs in scoring during Sundin's time in Toronto.
The trade to New Jersey sparked a second-half career renaissance, providing a proper finish to an incredible start.
Mogilny retired with 1,032 points in 990 games, but he is currently not in the NHL Hall of Fame.
4 Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby
On an All-Time NHL team, these two would be on the fourth line, or at least a healthy scratch. Members of Detroit’s famous “Grind Line”, they were a part of four Stanley Cup teams.
Although it seems like these two were career Red Wings, it’s actually not true. Both scored impressive numbers at the OHL level, but couldn’t stick with their respective draft teams. Maltby was traded by Edmonton for Dan McGillis, while the Jets concluded $1 (no that's not a typo, it was a single dollar) was a sufficient price for Detroit to purchase Draper.
After the trades, the rest is history. Both players were synonymous with arguably the most dominant team of their generation. While their trades are often forgotten, they are forever linked to their success.
3 Mike Ribeiro
Mike Ribeiro had established a reputation in the league as a very skilled playmaker. In seasons with Montreal, Dallas, and Washington, he was usually good for 20-ish goals and at least 50 points, surpassing 70 points three times. After signing a four-year, $22 million contract with Arizona in 2013, perception changed. Ribeiro struggled to perform at his previous level and was bought out after just one year. Arizona cited behavioral issues related to alcohol use.
The Nashville Predators signed the 34-year old to a one year deal on June 27, 2014, worth $1.05 million, a fraction of his previous salary. Ribeiro has redeemed himself in a big way. He gives Nashville a legitimate first-line center for fourth-line money, and is a big part of their success, as they currently lead the NHL in points.
It seems Ribeiro has has to redeem himself multiple times, as the Canadiens traded him for a washed up Janne Niinimaa.
Once again he has proven that for any problems he may have off the ice with teammates, coaches or management that he's still a productive player. He should be due for a very large raise.
2 Sergei Bobrovsky
Always the underdog, Bobrovsky made the NHL after going undrafted. His draft year came at a time when many Russian players were forgoing the NHL to play in their home country, thus Bobrovsky was deemed too risky. After signing with the Flyers as a free agent, he had a season you would expect from most young goaltenders. He had some success, mixed with some struggles, with those struggles happening in the playoffs. Philadelphia decided they didn't have time for Bobrovsky to develop and traded him after signing Ilya Bryzgalov for nine years. Philadelphia would regret both moves greatly.
It took Bobrovsky just half a season (the other half was locked out) to oust Steve Mason as the starter in Columbus. The next season he cemented his status as a legitimate number one by winning the Vezina for best goalie, the first ever Vezina won by a Russian. The following year Bobrovsky exorcised his playoff demons with his masterful play against the Penguins. In Game 5 he was shelled with 50 shots, saving 48 of them. Columbus eventually lost the series in six games, but it was a great moral victory for a young franchise finally building momentum. Bobrovsky is a huge part of the best era of Blue Jacket hockey.
1 Larry Murphy
Toronto is a hockey mad city that puts a magnifying glass on it's team. When things are going well, it’s one of the best cities in the world to play in, when things don’t go so well, players don’t like to leave their house.
The Leaf fans were BRUTAL to Murphy. He gave them a 61-point season and it wasn’t enough. He was the best player on a bad team, and ended up a lightning rod for the brunt of the abuse. Murphy’s game was based on a great first pass and his fantastic hockey sense. His substance-over-style didn’t gel with the fan base. He was booed when he touched the puck and heckled on the bench. The fans took their frustrations out on one of hockey's nice guys. The Toronto brass did everything they could to trade him, eventually giving him to Detroit for nothing. In fact, they actually retained salary in the deal! Upon arrival in Detroit, Murphy was immediately paired with Lidstrom, en route to winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. Murphy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!