NHL trades happen all the time these days, it's simply part of the league.
Some of the best teams in NHL history relied on big trades to succeed. Though most championship teams are built through the draft and in free agency, a big trade can go a long way. The Detroit Red Wings didn't become the model organization until they landed Brendan Shanahan. Ditto for the Chicago Blackhawks and Patrick Sharp, who led them to a trio of Stanley Cup championships. The Anaheim Ducks finally won it all once they landed Chris Pronger in 2007.
But some trades in the league's history were more than just a player switching teams. It was also cold-hard betrayal by either the play, general manager or owner. As a result, some of these fans have rightfully felt like they were backstabbed when one of their franchise stars was traded away.
Here are 15 blockbuster trades throughout the NHL's history that left fans feeling betrayed.
15 Canucks Trade Ryan Kesler to Ducks
Ryan Kesler will go down as one of the greatest Vancouver Canucks in recent memory. His 41 goals in 2010-11 propelled Vancouver to a Presidents' Trophy and trip to the Stanley Cup Final -- before falling to the Boston Bruins. Kesler was a perennial 20-goal scorer and fan favourite, doing plenty of charity work off the ice.
But Kesler requested a trade after the Canucks' dismal 2013-14 season in which head coach John Tortorella ran this team into the ground. It was also widely speculated in the media that he was a cancer in the locker room and had an affair with former teammate Cory Schneider's wife.
So the Canucks had no choice but to deal Kesler to division rival Anaheim Ducks, acquiring Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa and a first-round pick in return. Canucks fans now boo Kesler heavily any time he returns to Rogers Arena. How could a franchise star want to A) get traded and B) end up with a divisional foe?
Canucks fans will feel betrayed about this for a long time.
14 Bruins Trade Dougie Hamilton to Calgary
Coming off a Presidents' Trophy-winning season, the Boston Bruins failed to make the playoffs in 2015, which led to the dismissal of general manager Peter Chiarelli. He was replaced by Don Sweeney, who came in to make some major changes to the roster.
If there was one thing for the Bruins to celebrate in 2014-15, it was the emergence of defenceman Dougie Hamilton. The ninth-overall selection in 2009 broke out with 10 goals and 42 points, appearing to be the heir apparent to Zdeno Chara on the Bruins' blue line. But Boston couldn't afford his contract demands, flipping him to the Calgary Flames for three draft choices.
And just like that, Boston has one of the worst blue lines in hockey. They were fortunate to be able to draft Tyler Seguin and Hamilton with the choices they got from Toronto in the Phil Kessel trade. Hamilton's departure meant they lost two franchise icons in rather one-sided trades.
13 Habs Flip P.K. Subban For Shea Weber
So the biggest NHL trade of the 2010s has impaced both the Montreal Canadiens and the Nashville Predators in positive ways. After missing the playoffs altogether last season, the Habs are in line to win the Atlantic Division, thanks to Shea Weber's efforts. Meanwhile, the Predators look poised to finish third in the Central Division, thanks to the help of P.K. Subban.
But at the time, Canadiens' general manager Marc Bergevin was under major scrutiny from the media and fans for making this trade. Subban was the franchise star of Montreal, and even donated $10 million to Montreal Children's Hospital. Given how Subban's contract carries less term and that he's four years younger, this trade seemed to be a major mistake.
The trade easily left fans betrayed, but when Weber helped turn the Canadiens' fortunes around. We'll see who wins this in the long run, but we'd be remiss to pretend Habs fans didn't feel betrayed after the announcement of the trade.
12 Panthers Trade Roberto Luongo to Canucks
Though the Florida Panthers were among the NHL's worst teams in the early 2000s, they owned a world-class goalie in Roberto Luongo. He won 35 games for them during the 2005-06 season, but rejected a contract extension and wanted the chance to play for a contender.
And with that, the Canucks acquired Bobby Lou and smooth-skating defenceman Lukas Krajicek in exchange for Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan Allen, with teams swapping draft choices as well. Though Florida isn't the biggest hockey market, their passionate fans had to feel disgusted by this trade.
Bertuzzi was a fading star and struggled with injuries in Florida, while Luongo became the Canucks all-time winningest goaltender, leading them to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. Florida was once again in the NHL's cellar dweller without Luongo for the first five years after the trade.
11 Canadiens Trade Howie Morenz to Blackhawks
Howie Morenz was arguably the NHL's most dynamic scorer during the '20s and for much of the '30s. The three-time Hart Trophy winner won the scoring titles in 1928 and 1931, while leading the Canadiens to a trio of Stanley Cup championships. But Morenz began to struggle as he approached his early 30s, and the fans slowly began to boo The Stratford Streak.
Nonetheless, it was still devastating to see Montreal trade away their franchise star to the Chicago Blackhawks in a six-player deal. Morenz struggled away from Montreal, and the fans were seeing the terrible results of the trade.
The franchise finally brought him back for what would be his final year in the NHL. Sadly, Morenz's career ended when he broke his leg during a game in 1937, and the injury led to his untimely death. But the legend of Morenz in Montreal will always live on.
10 Canucks Trade Cory Schneider to Devils
The Canucks entered the 2012-13 season as one of the Stanley Cup favourites. But they struggled with consistency and were swept in the opening round of the playoffs by the ageing San Jose Sharks. It was clear a massive retool was needed, and clearing out goalie Roberto Luongo (who requested a trade during the season), appeared to be an easy decision for general manager Mike Gillis.
Instead, Gillis seemed to panic about having to resolve the Schneider-Luongo goalie controversy. He traded away a Vezina-caliber goalie in Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth-overall pick, used to select Bo Horvat.
Canucks fans became infuriated with Gillis. Schneider was seven years younger, had a better season in 2012-13 and carried a bargain contract, while Luongo's was toxic. Vancouver had to keep a reluctant Luongo for most of the 2013-14 season, while Schneider emerged as a top-tier goalie in New Jersey.
9 Senators Trade Dany Heatley to Sharks
When the Senators opted to move franchise star Marian Hossa for Dany Heatley, it appeared to be a fairly gutsy move. But the trade paid major dividends, as Heatley scored 50 goals and 103 points in his first year with the Senators. He followed it up with 50 goals and 105 points in 2006-07, leading the Sens to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final before falling to the Anaheim Ducks.
Heatley scored 41 goals and 82 points in 2007-08, but had an off year (for his standards) in 2008-09 for his standards. That season, he scored just 39 goals and 72 points and clashed with head coach Cory Clouston. The Sens opted to move the franchise star to the San Jose Sharks, but failed to bring in much of a return.
Ottawa got Milan Michalek, washed-up veteran Jonathan Cheechoo and a second-round pick. Heatley rejected a trade to Edmonton that would have brought over Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid. This made him a major enemy to both Edmonton and Ottawa.
Heatley betrayed the team that gave him his two most productive years, and the Senators players, management and fans rightfully felt betrayed.
8 Canucks Trade Roberto Luongo to Panthers
Nearly eight years after being traded from Florida to Vancouver, Luongo was traded from the Canucks to the Panthers before the 2014 trade deadline took place. It was an unexpected but amazing trade for both sides.
Though the Canucks finally found a way to unload Luongo's contract while also fulfilling his desire of a trade, Vancouver fans didn't see it that way. They thought the Canucks didn't get equal return for Bobby Lou, and that trading the franchise goalie away left them in a major bind.
Tortorella also made enemies when he benched Luongo in favour of backup Eddie Lack at the 2014 Heritage Classic. Though Luongo was scrutinized a lot by the Canucks media and fans, both parties felt betrayed in seeing the team's all-time wins leader get traded for a small return (Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias).
7 Penguins Trade Jaromir Jagr to Capitals
Besides Mario Lemieux, Jagr was the true franchise star of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the '90s. He helped them win a pair of Stanley Cups and won five scoring titles as well as the Hart Trophy in 1999. But when Mario Lemieux came out of retirement, he and Jagr reportedly developed a rocky relationship. This led to Pittsburgh trading away Jagr to the Washington Capitals in a five-player and yet very one-sided deal.
Pittsburgh struggled for the first few years after the trade, slumping to the Eastern Conference basement in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006. The Pens were among the NHL's worst in attendance and the team nearly relocated to Las Vegas.
This was largely due to the franchise opting to trade away Jagr. Lemieux struggled to stay healthy and was no longer the effective force he was in the '80s and '90s. Trading Jagr was a dagger for Penguins fans, who didn't get to forget about it until a guy named Sidney Crosby came to save the day.
6 Oilers Trade Chris Pronger to Ducks
Chris Pronger is hands down one of the greatest defencemen of all-time, winning the Hart and Norris Trophy in 2000 while leading the Anaheim Ducks to a Stanley Cup in 2007. The Edmonton Oilers traded for Pronger before the 2005-06 season, and little did they know it would go down as a move for the ages.
Pronger took the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final (as an eighth seed), before narrowly falling to the Carolina Hurricanes in a hard-fought seven game series. But Pronger requested a trade in the offseason, and was sent to the Anaheim Ducks. Edmonton didn't return to the playoffs until 2007, while the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in their first year with Pronger.
Edmonton fans felt betrayed that Pronger would want to leave after one magnificent season, and they never got good value in the return (Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid and draft selections).
5 Canadiens Trade Patrick Roy to Avalanche
Patrick Roy is arguably the greatest goalie of all-time, and his legacy in Montreal is not forgotten. He won the Stanley Cup with them in 1986 as a rookie, while taking home Conn Smythe Trophy honours. In the 1992-93 season, Roy won 31 games and backstopped the Habs to their 24th Stanley Cup championship, defeating Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings.
In a 1995 game against the Detroit Red Wings, Roy was left in to allow nine goals on just 26 shots. As everyone knows, goalies are usually pulled if their team trails by three at any point of a game. But Roy was left in to humiliate himself, and once he was pulled, he told management he had just played his final game in Montreal.
So the Habs traded him and Mike Keane to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko. All Roy did was win two Stanley Cups in Colorado. The Habs were awful for much of the '90s and have not reached the Final since trading Roy.
Yes, the Habs fans have every right to feel betrayed by the trade.
4 Nordiques Draft and Trade Eric Lindros
Eric Lindros was hyped to be the next Wayne Gretzky, a once-in-a-generation talent that was sure to be the NHL's next great player. So when the Nordiques held the first-overall pick in 1991, fans could only get excited and thrilled about the chance of having a future icon. Only the team drafted him first-overall, though Lindros reportedly warned Nordiques management he refused to play for the franchise.
This was because he reportedly didn't like the small market/lack of exposure, wasn't fond of their owner and didn't have any interest in being involved with the French culture. The Nordiques traded him in three-team deal that involved the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. Lindros went to Philadelphia, and Quebec did get Peter Forsberg in return.
Except, Lindros' betrayal of the team that drafted him left fans sour, and Quebec's team relocated to Colorado four years later. Had they wound up keeping Lindros, who knows what would have happened? Perhaps they would have been a juggernaut in the '90s.
3 Oilers Trade Mark Messier to Rangers
Though Wayne Gretzky is the name Oilers fans think of most when discussing their dynasty of the '80s, Mark Messier deserves just as much credit. He led the Oilers to five Stanley Cups and is third all-time in team scoring with 392 goals and 1,034 points. Even when Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, Messier led the team for a few more years and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 1990.
After their championship, the Oilers began trading away key pieces of the dynasty as they tried to cut down on their budget. Messier asked for a trade, and he was shipped to the New York Rangers in exchange for Bernie Nicholls, Steven Rice and Louie DeBrusk.
Messier went on to lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1994 -- ending their 54-year championship drought. Seeing Edmonton trade away one of their franchise icons was a huge blow for the fans, as the team would be mired in mediocrity for some time.
2 Blackhawks Trade Chris Chelios to Red Wings
The Blackhawks and Red Wings have had one of the strongest rivalries in hockey, being original six teams and all. While Chicago struggled in the late '90s, the Red Wings were becoming hockey's model organization, winning the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998. Having a world-class defenceman in Chris Chelios wasn't enough for Chicago, as they continued to plummet in league standings as the 21st century neared.
Nonetheless, it was devastating for Blackhawks fans to see Chelios get traded to the Red Wings in 1999, bringing over Anders Eriksson and a pair of draft choices to Chicago. Chelios became a Blackhawks legend and made them a competitive squad for some time. Seeing him go to Detroit was nothing short of a slap in the face.
Chelios helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 2002, and added another championship with them in 2008. That really didn't sit well with the long-suffering Chicago fans.
1 The Wayne Gretzky Trade
The greatest NHL player of all-time should have never been traded, but one fairly selfish and self-centered man made the impossible possible. You see, the Oilers won four Stanley Cups with Wayne Gretzky in the '80s, and The Great One took home seven Art Ross Trophies in Edmonton. Not bad at all.
But after winning their fourth championship in 1988, the Oilers traded Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings, despite his desire to remain an Oiler. The trade took place because Edmonton owner Peter Pocklington badly sought case because some of his businesses were failing. He got $15 million in cash for the trade.
The trade received so much backlash in Canada that a member of the NDP Party tried to get the Federal Government to block the trade. It was devastating to both Edmonton and the whole country of Canada to see The Great One traded. All because a filthy rich businessman needed more money.
That's the definition of betrayal.
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