We’re right in the midst of the silly season with regards to NHL trades. We’re likely to see a high rate of trades between now and the NHL trade deadline on March 1. Most of these trades will involve good teams trying to add a missing piece to the puzzle - a third line center, some depth at defense- to help them win the cup. Other teams have already given up hope on the playoffs and will look to move veteran players for draft picks or prospects. If we’re lucky, we might even get a good player for player trade that bolsters both teams’ rosters.
However, there is another type of trade. A rarer, more intriguing type of trade. When players are traded not because of what goes on on the ice, but rather because of what has happened off of it. These types of trades are rife with salacious stories (not all of which are true) and serve to remind us that real life is not like an EA game; these are real humans working at real jobs and their co-workers (teammates), management (coaches, general managers), and environment (location, fans), all affect their performances. A quick note about this list: it does not include players traded for salary cap reasons. For the purposes of this list, a player who was traded so his team could get under the cap, is considered a “hockey reason”. With that out of the way, read on and discover which celebrated players were traded for unseemly reasons.
15 Boston Trading Seguin
Tyler Seguin is one of the most offensively gifted players in the NHL. During his time in Boston, he was regarded as one of the hottest young prospects in the game. And yet, there was always something a bit off about his place with Bruins. For example, during Boston’s run to the cup in 2011, Seguin was a healthy scratch for the first half of the playoffs. On July 4, 2013, Seguin was involved in a trade with Dallas that saw Loui Eriksson as the key player coming the other way. Eriksson is a fine player, but he never showed the promise Seguin did. And Seguin has (when healthy) put up big numbers in Dallas.
14 Downie for Talbot
Given that neither Steve Downie nor Maxime Talbot play in the NHL currently, the Halloween 2013 trade that saw them traded for each other doesn’t seem of any interest at all. However, at that time, the younger Downie had gotten off to a good start of the season, scoring seven points in eleven games. Talbot, conversely, had scored two. Talbot had a Stanley Cup ring and a lot of experience, so you can see why the Avalanche wanted him for their young team. But Downie had been showing a lot of fire and promise since returning from injury.
13 ‘The Big E’ in Quebec
Despite Eric Lindros’s impressively dominant play in the mid-1990s and his career’s premature and sad undoing by concussions, he’s never been that easy to warm to as a person. A big reason for this is the way he began his NHL career. Or rather, how he didn’t. Lindros stated before the 1991 draft that he would not play in Quebec, stating he wanted to play in a bigger market and somewhere that afforded him better sponsorship opportunities. But the Nordiques drafted him first overall, anyway. Lindros had actually done this before, refusing to play for the Sault-Saint Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League and they traded him to Oshawa.
12 Ronald Corey vs. Chris Chelios
11 The Brendan Shanahan Blues
Brendan Shanahan has worn many hats. Half of Fame forward, NHL Director of Player Safety, and now President of the Toronto Maple Leafs. But before any of that, he was a highly effective power forward playing for the St. Louis Blues. That was until July 27, 1995, when he was traded to the Hartford Whalers. Why was the two-time 50-goal scorer traded away? Well, the short answer, is that he and head coach Mike Keenan didn’t get along. Why didn’t they get along? Well, there could be a lot of reasons. For starters, one of them was Mike Keenan, who as we will see, is not an easy man with whom to get along.
10 “How Do You Like Edmonton, Mrs. Pronger?”
After arriving in St, Louis, Chris Pronger would go on to have 10 successful years there, where he’d win the Norris and Hart trophies in 2000 and become their captain. However, the Blues traded Pronger to Edmonton for Eric Brewer in 2005 to free up cap space. Pronger helped to lead the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final that year and the Edmonton faithful loved their new dominant defenceman. Until just a few days after the Stanley Cup final when Pronger requested a trade.
9 The Wet Tracksuit of Infamy
Evander Kane is a good hockey player, but Evander Kane is not a very good human being. At least, he seems to be capable of doing some bad things. During his time in Winnipeg, Kane didn’t get on too well with teammates or his coach, Paul Maurice. In April 2014, Kane was accused of assault in Vancouver and sued for damages. This was the most prominent in a string of problems. Kane was a healthy scratch for several games, with Maurice suggesting Kane should, “just come to the rink” if he wants to play. One day when Kane did show up, he was in a tracksuit, and not the customary proper suit. His teammates, reportedly led by Dustin Byfuglien, proceeded to hang the tracksuit up in the shower, with the water on, of course.
8 Jeff and Mike’s Excellent Adventure
During the Philadelphia Flyers run to the 2010 Stanley Cup final, they were lead by the offence of Jeff Carter and the two-way play of captain Mike Richards. So when both players were traded in June 2011 -to separate teams- people were shocked. However, Richards’s and Carter’s proclivity for partying wasn’t exactly a well-kept secret. When the Flyers had traded away Joffrey Lupul in 2009, many speculated that it was an attempt to curb the drinking atmosphere in the locker room. There were also reports that head coach Peter Laviolette had instituted a “dry island” by where players would abstain from drinking for a period. Richards and Carter never volunteered.
7 Calgary Trading Phaneuf
6 Subban for Weber
One of the more controversial trades of this style occurred just last summer when Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin shipped off star defenceman P.K. Subban to Nashville for Shea Weber. It’s not often you see two star players of the same position traded for each other. Subban is a bit younger than Weber and a bit more dynamic on the ice, whereas Weber is more reliable and has a harder shot. But that’s not what this deal was about.
It was about (now former) coach Michel Therrien and possibly other players (such as captain Max Pacioretty) not liking Subban. Some members of the press have reported that Subban had missed curfews on the road and had been late to team meetings, though these allegations have never been confirmed by the Canadiens organization. Not only is Subban a greatly talented player, he was a fan favorite, so this trade is definitely about more than just acquiring a different style of defenceman.
5 Blues Trading Gilmour
Few players are as beloved as Doug Gilmour has been, so for those who don’t know, it will come as a shock that in August 1988 Gilmour was sued for sexually assaulting a 14-year old girl. Gilmour’s wife Robyne, the St. Louis Blues organization (for whom he was playing), and team president Jack Quinn were also named in the $1 million lawsuit for having known or because they should have known about the abuse. Gilmour denied the allegations, but the Blues wanted to be rid of this situation fast, so they opted to trade away the man who had scored 191 points over the past two seasons. The Blues wanted him gone so bad, they were accused of not informing other teams of the lawsuit.
4 Schneider vs. Roy
The Mathieu Schneider-Patrick Roy-Michèle Piuze (Roy’s then wife) love triangle is perhaps the most infamous rumor of a player having an affair with a teammate’s wife. The story goes that Schneider hooked up with Roy’s wife and the two hated each other and that’s why Schneider was dealt to the Islanders in April 1995, just two years after winning the cup with the Habs. Of course, these allegations have never been confirmed and there is no evidence for them. But we do know Schneider and Roy did not get along.
3 Le Trade
Enter GM Rejean Houle and head coach Mario Tremblay in autumn 1995. Tremblay actually roomed with Roy during the latter’s rookie season and was not too kind to the goalie. Tremblay would mock Roy’s English, criticize him on sports radio, and the two reportedly had an altercation at a Long Island coffee shop earlier in 1995. Why would you hire a head coach that your star player detests? Because you’re president Ronald Corey and you care more about beer sales so you just appoint guys who you can control things.
2 Atlanta trading Heatley
After their awful choice for their first ever draft pick (Patrik Stefan) the Atlanta Thrashers seemed to get it right the next year when they selected Dany Heatley in the first round. Heatley won the Calder Trophy and played well for the Thrashers. But everything changed on September 29, 2003, when Heatley crashed his Ferrari, injuring himself and killing his teammate Dan Snyder. Heatley pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain a lane, and speeding and was sentenced to three years probation and had limits imposed on the type of vehicle he could drive.
1 The Trade
It wasn’t just the biggest sports story on August 9 1988, it was the biggest story in all of Canada (and pretty big in the U.S. too). The leader of the New Democratic Party demanded the Canadian government block the trade. Janet’s acting career was accused of being the motivation for it. Wayne was accused of betraying his country. In truth, there was really only one man to blame. Wayne Gretzky was informed by his father, a mere two hours after winning the Cup, that Oilers owner Peter Pocklington was shopping him around. Pocklington needed money. Not because the Oilers were losing money, but because Pocklington’s other business ventures were. Gretzky agreed to go to L.A. as long as Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski were traded with him.
When Oilers GM Glen Sather found out, he demanded the Kings send Luc Robitaille in return, but they said no. The deal had already been orchestrated; Gretzky, McSorley, and Krushelnyski for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first round draft picks, and $15 million. The best player in the game traded away because the owner was a bad businessman. Oilers fans burned effigies of Pocklington outside the Northlands Coliseum. Subtle.
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