The hockey world was absolutely floored on June 29th, 2016. In an age where so called "hockey" trades seem to be a lost concept, two big moves were made within minutes of each other. In the salary cap era, there are so many factors that go into trades. On top of the quality of players being swapped, factors like contract length, amount, age and future assets have to be taken into consideration. It's so hard to immediately determine who won a trade nowadays because so many pieces are thrown into a trade that require years of analysis before a winner can be determined.
Recently though, winners of said trades were almost instantly ruled in favor of one team. When Taylor Hall was sent to New Jersey in exchange for Adam Larsson, the hockey world almost unanimously said the Devils got a steal from Edmonton. Minutes later, it was announced P.K. Subban had been traded for Shea Weber, the first time in tis salary cap era that two All-Star defencemen were swapped in the primes of their careers.
It's not every day you get a straight up one-for-one deal. Hockey fans love seeing it because it's so fun to debate who won and lost a trade. With that, we'll be taking you through the biggest one-for-one deals in NHL history. For a trade to qualify it has to be one NHL player for another, meaning no draft picks or prospects were part of the deal.
15 Luke Schenn For James van Riemsdyk
Whenever a trade is made involving a forward for a defenceman, it's only natural to draw the conclusion that each team feels they simply want to fill a weakness on their team. In this case, Luke Schenn really wasn't developing the way the Leafs had envisioned when they took him in the top 10 of the 2008 draft. His lack of speed prevented him from becoming a first-pairing defenceman while James van Riemsdyk hadn't quite become the difference maker the Flyers envisioned when they took him second overall in 2007.
In the end, the Leafs probably won out on this trade, as van Riemsdyk has been a very productive player, while the Flyers have since given up on Schenn as well. Schenn was traded earlier this season to Los Angeles while van Riemsdyk continues to produce on a bad Toronto team. It will be interesting to see what JVR can do with Auston Matthews coming in.
14 Brian Bellows For Russ Courtnall
The Canadiens were coming off several disappointing playoff losses. The Habs sent Russ Courtnall to the Minnesota North Stars in 1992 in exchange for Brian Bellows. The very next season Bellows scored 88 points for the Canadiens, while potting 40 goals in the regular season. His heroics continued into the playoffs, as he scored 15 points and netted several big goals en route to the Habs' Stanley Cup win. Bellows would go on to score a total of 485 goals in his career.
Courtnall didn't do poorly with the North Stars, and even scored a career high 79 points the following season, but his numbers began to dip heavily after that season. It's fair to say the Habs won this deal, as the Stars ended up trading Courtnall just a couple of seasons later to the Vancouver Canucks.
13 Erik Cole For Joni Pitkanen
This is a rare deal in which no team really won. Erik Cole had enjoyed some success with the Carolina Hurricanes, but the Hurricanes were looking for help on the blue line and Pitkanen had logged some heavy minutes for the Oilers. Cole was a complete bust in Edmonton, notching 16 goals in 63 games before the Oilers sent him back to Carolina. Pitkanen soon became injury prone in Carolina and never quite became the promising player he was pegged out to be.
If you had to pick a winner here, you could say Carolina won this trade, because when they re-acquired Cole, his production eventually picked back up again, and really they didn't end up losing anything by making these trades. Still though, both sides probably would have been happier had they never made this deal.
12 Dany Heatley For Martin Havlat
When this trade happened, you thought it was going to be a great shakeup for both teams. The Sharks were constantly disappointing in the playoffs, while the Minnesota Wild had trouble even making it there and felt they needed an impact player to get them there. Havlat was seen as a more steady, reliable player, which is why the Sharks traded the mercurial Heatley to Minnesota.
Both players' careers took a severe nose dive after this trade, as Havlat was constantly injured in San Jose, while Heatley's offensive production plummeted. He never hit the 30-goal mark following his departure from San Jose and the Wild only made the playoffs in one out of three seasons with Heatley and that was only after they had signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Havlat never played 50 games in a season with the Sharks and their playoff success didn't get any better. Overall it was a waste of a good asset in Heatley.
11 Andrew Ladd For Tuomo Ruutu
Andrew Ladd was initially drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes, although most fans now know him for his two stints in Chicago and his run as a captain for the Winnipeg Jets. Ladd and Tuomo Ruutu were both upcoming RFAs in 2008 and hadn't yet lived up to the expectations of the franchises that drafted them. It's safe to say Chicago won this deal with Carolina, as Ladd quickly became one of their key players en route to the franchise's resurgence. Just two years after this trade, the Hawks won the Stanley Cup, before trading Ladd for salary cap reasons.
The Hurricanes didn't amount to much with Ruutu, although they did make a surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009. Ruutu recorded 54 points in that 2008-09 season, but ultimately his numbers dipped every year following and was eventually moved to New Jersey in the 2013-14 season.
10 Jaromir Jagr For Anson Carter
What? How on earth could an ageless wonder like Jaromir Jagr get traded for someone like Anson Carter. Now, Carter was a fine player in his day, but there's only one Jagr. If you're going to trade someone like him, it better be for another superstar, right? Well, this was at a weird point in Jagr's career. He was making $11 million a year and despite averaging over a point a game in Washington, the team wasn't experiencing much success and figured they'd save some money.
Anson Carter moved around a lot in his career and during this span of his career, he played for seven different teams in four years. Washington was going into a rebuild mode and this helped them land Alex Ovechkin. The Rangers, never one to shy away from a big contract, got their money's worth from Jagr, as he scored 123 points int the 2005-06 season, finishing second in voting for the Hart Trophy.
9 Tuukka Rask For Andrew Raycroft
This is just about the most disastrous Leafs trade of the last 15 years. They had drafted Tuukka Rask just a year prior to this, while Andrew Raycroft was coming off a sophomore slump after a Calder Trophy season in 2003-04. The Bruins were worried that Raycroft would be a one-year wonder. The Leafs thought Raycroft's rookie year was the start of a great career. The Bruins were right.
Raycroft quickly fizzled out in Toronto, showing that his sophomore slump was the start of a sharp decline in his career. Rask took a few years to develop behind Tim Thomas, but to this day, Rask is among the better goaltenders in the NHL. The Leafs have been trying to solve their goaltending issues for years, but have been unsuccessful. We'll see if their recent acquisition of Fredrik Anderson works out.
8 Seth Jones For Ryan Johansen
You always hear that it takes longer for defencemen to develop than forwards, so it's not really fair to evaluate this trade just yet. Seth Jones was drafted fourth overall by the Predators in 2013, but never quite moved up the Preds' depth chart, playing behind Roman Josi and Shea Weber. Ryan Johansen clearly wasn't fitting in with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization and they felt the need to move on from him.
In a hockey sense, the Blue Jackets needed a no.1 defenceman and the Preds were starving for a no.1 center. If both go on to be stars, then the trade is a win-win. We've seen Nashville have the immediate success, as they just went on an impressive playoff run, while the Blue Jackets still have a lot of work to do before they're a playoff team.
7 Taylor Hall For Adam Larsson
The hockey world was somewhat expecting Taylor Hall to be traded at some point. When a team is loaded with young star forwards but are always losing, something has to change. After drafting yet another forward at this year's draft in Jesse Puljujarvi, you knew one of their young forwards had to be moved out. The Oilers also badly needed help on the blue line and sacrificed one of their best forwards to get Adam Larsson.
Larsson is a fine young defenceman, but he has yet to live up to expectations as a top-five draft pick. While Taylor Hall has had some injury issues and he hasn't been the leader the Oilers wanted him to be, at least he's proven himself as an offensive talent. Many are already calling this a huge win for New Jersey, but we'll have to see how Larsson develops first.
6 Sergei Zubov For Kevin Hatcher
I had completely forgotten about this trade when researching the article, but it proved to be one of the more significant ones of the 90s. It seemed the Penguins were intent on making bad trades following their Stanley Cup wins early in the decade. After acquiring Sergei Zubov from the Rangers along with Petr Nedvěd for Ulf Samuelsson and Luc Robitaille, Zubov was traded to Dallas after just one year in Pittsburgh. Zubov recorded 66 points in the 1995-96 season, but that clearly wasn't enough for Pittsburgh.
The Penguins shipped Zubov to Dallas in exchange for Kevin Hatcher. Hatcher had some decent seasons in Pittsburgh to close out the 90s, but Zubov ended up being an anchor for the 1999 Dallas Stars Stanley Cup team. Hatcher would ultimately be traded just three years later to the New York Rangers. The deal seemed equal at the time, but in the end, the Stars won this trade.
5 P.K. Subban For Shea Weber
-USA TODAY Sports[/caption]
This was the news that stunned all of Montreal. There had been rumors all season of the Canadiens looking to trade P.K. Subban and just days before his no-trade clause kicked in, the Habs shipped him to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber. With Subban, the Preds are getting en elite defenceman in the prime of his career, while the Canadiens are getting a more established defenceman, but starting to hit the down years of his career.
This becomes a case where the Canadiens have to win the Stanley Cup in the next three years, while they still have Carey Price at a digestible $6.5 million cap hit and Max Pacioretty at a steal of a $4.5 million cap hit. Weber will be 31 come this season and has 10 years left on his contract, meaning the Habs will one day hate this contract.
Subban will now be paired up with Roman Josi in Nashville and will undoubtedly bring excitement to the Nashville market.
4 Terry Sawchuk For Johnny Bucyk
One-for-one trades were a lot more common in the original six era, because there were no draft picks to exchange and the farm systems weren't as deep as they are now.
Terry Sawchuk already had one stint in Detroit before he was traded to Boston in the mid 50s. This trade is significant because it included two Hall of Famers, albeit at very different stages of their careers. Sawchuk was already an established star in the NHL, having been selected to seven All-Star games and had won Stanley Cups with the Red Wings.
Bucyk was only two seasons into his career and had only scored 11 goals at the time of the trade. The long term ramifications of the trade came back to haunt the Red Wings, because while Sawchuk still had some good years left, the Wings wouldn't win a Stanley Cup after re-acquiring him. Bucyk went on to score 1,369 points in his career and played for 20 years after this trade.
3 Rick Middleton For Ken Hodge
Rick Middleton turned out to be one of the Bruins' star players in the 70s and all they had to do was trade away Ken Hodge to get him. It's ironic because Hodge was a huge steal for the Bruins when they had acquired him back in 1967 from the Blackhawks in addition to Phil Esposito. A decade later they flipped Hodge into a deal for the 22-year-old Middleton.
Middleton would go on to score just under 1,000 points in his career and nearly reached the 500-goal milestone. The Bruins didn't win a Stanley Cup with him, but that's because the dominant Canadiens teams of the 70s were always getting in their way. Hodge would only play for two years in New York before being demoted to the AHL and his career was essentially over.
This is about as one-sided a trade as you could get.
2 Markus Naslund For Alek Stojanov
Okay, I take that back, THIS is just about the most one-sided trade you could think of. In the middle of the 1995-96 season, the Penguins decided that they needed to get tougher and shipped their former first-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for another first-round pick. Markus Naslund went on to the Canucks for Alek Stojanov, who had only scored one point in 62 NHL games.
Naslund went on to set franchise records in Vancouver and was their leader for the next decade. Stojanov further cemented his reputation as a draft bust, as he only played 45 games with the Penguins and scored six points with them before finding himself down in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch.
This is a classic example that trading talent for grit is always a bad move in the NHL. Getting tougher doesn't necessarily mean getting better.
1 Chris Pronger For Brendan Shanahan
This is the biggest one-for-one deal in NHL history and is a great comparison for the Jones/Johansen trade from earlier this year. Of course, we'll have to wait another 20 years to really compare the two. The Whalers were starting to get impatient with Chris Pronger, whom they had selected second overall in the 1993 draft. By the summer of 1995, Pronger was traded to the Blues, in exchange for Brendan Shanahan.
Pronger's defensive play eventually improved in St. Louis and while Shanahan had a good year in Hartford, scoring 78 points and notching 44 goals, but with the uncertainty surround the franchise's future in Hartford, Shanahan requested a trade and the Whalers sent him to the Detroit Red Wings.
The Blues ultimately won this trade, simply because of Shanahan's short tenure in Hartford, while Pronger became the Blues' leader for several years.