Every fan has a move that their team has made where they were left wondering "What the hell are they thinking" This is the article for those fans to relive some of the truly awful decisions that teams have made over the years. How can it be that an elite goalie like Tuukka Rask was traded for a colossal disappointment like Andrew Raycroft? Well, that deal is only shocking in hindsight, as nobody foresaw what Rask would be, or how Raycroft would decline.
There are many reasons why teams trade elite talent. There could be off-ice issues plaguing them like Tyler Seguin and Doug Gilmour. They could be having issues with front office staff like Darryl Sittler and they just want to move on. Or like Ray Bourque, they could have been traded to try and give them one last true shot at glory ( Even thinking about it now still brings a tear to this writer's eye).
The NHL is full of some truly shocking moves and I hope you all find one that brings back that feeling of shock as you read it. When you watched these players you just couldn't picture them in any other uniform, but sure enough, they ended their careers on another team.
So here we go, the 20 players you never thought would be traded.
20 Eric Lindros
After the price that the Flyers paid to acquire Lindros from the Quebec Nordiques back in 1992, there was no way you thought the Flyers would ever want to part with him. Lindros was considered 'the next one', and many felt he was destined to bring the Flyers multiple Stanley Cups and spend 20 years with the organization. By the time the late 90s rolled around though, Lindros still hadn't brought a Stanley Cup to Philly, despite a finals appearance in 1997 and many successful regular seasons.
After some concussions severely derailed his career, Lindros's relationship with Flyers management also began to deteriorate. After requesting a trade to Toronto, no.88's request was denied and he sat out the entire 2000-01 season. Lindros would then be traded in 2001 to the New York Rangers for Jan Hlaváč, Kim Johnsson, Pavel Brendl and a 2003 third-round draft choice.
19 Rick Nash
Rick Nash was the first (and for a long time only) superstar for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was drafted 1st overall in 2002. In that time he had a lot of regular season success but the team struggled to make the playoffs during his tenure with the club (only making it once during the 2008-09 season where they got swept).
Speculation began during the 2011-12 season that the Blue Jackets were open to moving Nash which they did over that summer to the New York Rangers for Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Exiron and a 2013 first round pick.
Nash has been a solid contributor for the Rangers and the team has made the playoffs all four years with Nash contributing 33 points in 61 games. The Blue Jackets are still in the process of rebuilding the team with Dubinsky playing a big part in the rebuild.
18 Pavel Bure
The Vancouver Canucks shocked the hockey world when they selected Pavel Bure in the 6th round of the 1989 NHL draft. Most teams thought he wasn't eligible to be drafted yet and it took a full year to determine he was indeed able to join the Canucks. Bure had a lot of statistical success with the Canucks despite the fact he played with less talented linemates for most of his career. After the 1997-98 season Bure informed the club he would not play for the club the next season, despite having one more year on his deal. Bure went home to Russia and intended to sit out the season before the Canucks traded him to the Florida Panthers on January 17th, 2000.
After the trade Bure said he never felt comfortable playing for Vancouver and felt management alienated him. Bure would go on to win the Rocket Richard trophy in his first two full seasons with the Panthers. He would later play for the Rangers but as the knee injuries mounted his stats dropped substantially. He finally retired in 2005 after two years of failed comebacks. Even now Pavel Bure harbors resentment to the Vancouver Canucks organization for how he was treated. Someone like Bure never should have been moved but the actions of the franchise forced it to happen.
17 Doug Gilmour
Doug Gilmour was never expected to be a great player in the NHL. He went undrafted his first time through and then was a 7th round pick of the St. Louis Blues. He was undersized but tenacious and made his way to the biggest league in the world and thrived. An early trade from the Blues after some off ice issues is not what earns him a spot on this list. As a member of the Flames, Gilmour became one of the elite players in the NHL. After a brutal arbitration hearing with the team Gilmour accused team officials of tampering and threatened legal action if he was not traded.
One day after walking out on the club on January 1st, 1992, Gilmour was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the largest trade in NHL history. Doug Gilmour instantly helped turn around the struggling franchise leading to a Conference Finals appearance in 1993.
16 Roberto Luongo
For a goalie as talented as Roberto Luongo it is surprising that he has been traded twice so far in his career. Drafted by the New York Islanders he was already showing the talent that would make him one of the best goalies in the NHL, yet after the Islanders drafted Rick DiPietro the Islanders traded him to the Panthers. After a few successful seasons the Panthers moved him to the Vancouver Canucks in one of the worst deals in the franchise history. With the Canucks he finally reached the playoffs and carried the Canucks to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2011.
The Canucks lost and the trade rumors started shortly after due to Luongo's huge contract. The Canucks failed to move him initially causing them to trade promising backup Cory Schneider.
That made it all the more shocking when the Canucks did eventually move Luongo back to the Panthers and since then have struggled in net using an aging Ryan Miller and the unproven Jacob Markstrom (who they acquired from the Panthers) The Islanders never should have moved Luongo and the Canucks failed big time by trading their replacement before Luongo.
15 Tyler Seguin
Leading into the 2010 NHL draft everyone was debating who would be the number one pick. It was the summer of Taylor or Tyler. It is ironic that both players would end up being traded by Peter Chiarelli. Tyler Seguin was the first to be moved on July 4th, 2013 to the Dallas Stars. At the time of the move Seguin had just completed his 3rd professional season. He had shown flashes of talent scoring 29 goals in the 2011-12 season. Off ice however, was another story as many reports of his hard partying ways reached the media in Boston.
He was the Johnny Manziel of the NHL just with a lot more talent. The Bruins decided he wasn't worth the headache and now he has become one of the best scorers in the NHL. He has had seasons of 37, 37 and 33 goals in his three seasons with the Stars partnering with fellow young star Jamie Benn to create one of the best duos in the NHL. Boston has struggled with scoring as of late... Imagine if they didn't give up on the young star so soon.
14 Joe Thornton
You would think the Boston Bruins would have learned to leave their young talent alone after the bungled the trade of Jumbo Joe Thornton in 2005. Joe Thornton was the 1st overall pick in the 1997 NHL draft. Thornton started slow for the Bruins due to the way the team used him primarily on the 4th line or left him in the press box. After the trade of Jason Allison in 2003, Thornton became the new team captain. That was the beginning of the end for him in Boston, as the media was highly critical of his leadership ability.
Thornton was a restricted free agent heading into the 2005-06 NHL season and he was frustrated with the lack of respect from the Bruins organization, yet he still signed a new three year deal. The Bruins got off to a horrible start and traded their disgruntled captain on November 30th 2005 for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart. Needless to say all those players struggled in Boston while Thornton became even a bigger star with the San Jose Sharks winning the Art Ross and the Hart in 2006. The Stanley Cup continues to elude Thornton but there's no doubt the Bruins regret that trade.
13 Taylor Hall
Taylor Hall was drafted 1st overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft. Since then he has established himself s one of the premier left wingers in all of hockey. He had a career high 80 points during the 2013-14 NHL season. However Hall is known to play a reckless style that has led to numerous serious injuries, which led to the organization thinking he may not be the cornerstone that everyone wanted him to be in Edmonton. The Oilers were desperate for defensive help and shipped the talented winger to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Adam Larsson.
The trade shocked Taylor Hall who has expressed serious anger about being moved. Since the trade, multiple reports have come out regarding Hall's locker room antics, maybe that had something to do with the deal.
A couple of years ago, no one would have ever expected the Oilers to move someone like Hall.
12 Darryl Sittler
It is a damn shame that Darryl Sittler, the greatest captain in Toronto Maple Leafs history had such a bad relationship with management that he was traded in 1982. The feud between Sittler and Leafs GM Punch Imlach and team owner Harold Ballard was no big secret. It was one of the most public feuds in NHL history. Punch thought Sittler had too much sway with the team and went about destroying it all. After learning it would be almost impossible to move Sittler due to his no trade clause, Imlach traded his closest friend Lanny McDonald to the Colorado Rockies (by far the worst team in the NHL at the time). Sittler ripped the C off his jersey due to being unable to communicate with management.
The relationship became so toxic that no matter what Sittler did on the ice his trade was inevitable. The Leafs moved Sittler to the Flyers in 1982 for a fraction of what he was worth. Sittler was never really the same player after the move and was traded to the Red Wings in 1984 and would retire after just one season.
11 Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux were truly one of the best duos in NHL history. It seemed both men were destined to spend their entire careers with the Pittsburgh Penguins. When Lemieux retired in 1997, it left Jagr as Pittsburgh's alpha male, making it even more unlikely that Pittsburgh would ever move him. However when Lemieux returned in late 2000, a reported rift began when Jagr and Lemieux had to share a leadership role.
With Lemieux's contract back on the books, the Pens could no longer afford to keep Lemieux and Jagr, and thus traded Jagr to the Capitals for Kris Beech, Michal Sivek and Ross Lupaschuk. After 11 years in a Penguins uniform, it was a tremendous shock to see Jagr go. Go figure, Jagr is still playing all these years later.
10 Ryan Smyth
Ryan Smyth was the heart and soul of the Edmonton Oilers during his career there. From the 1994 draft until his trade at the NHL trade deadline in 2007, Smyth embodied everything that was great about the Edmonton Oilers. To Smyth's credit he didn't ask to be traded, he just wanted fair market value for once after giving the Oilers a discount for years. Kevin Lowe was unwilling to budge and traded Smyth to the New York Islanders for prospects and draft picks that didn't pan out.
The press conference for this trade is memorable for the fact that Ryan couldn't stop crying during it. Smyth would play a few years away from the Oilers before requesting a trade home in 2011. Ryan Smyth would play with the Oilers until 2014 when retired as an Oiler...like nature intended.
9 P.K. Subban
P.K Subban was one of those players recently thought of as untouchable. A dynamic defenseman with better hands than most forwards. Subban was a high risk-high reward player, he may cost u a goal in a game due to his decision-making but he would generate a few as well. His flamboyant personality seemed to often clash with the team as he had a very publicized alleged feud with Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty. Multiple reports came out that Subban wasn't very well liked in the locker room so despite all he had achieved on and off the ice in Montreal he was dealt this summer to the Nashville Predators for fellow elite defenseman Shea Weber (more on him later).
Subban seems a much better fit for the larger than life lifestyle of Nashville. It will take a few years to properly judge this move but first reactions are the Canadiens got hosed.
8 Phil Esposito
I think the Chicago Blackhawks to this day regret trading big Phil Esposito, as that trade along with Fred Stanfield and Ken Hodge basically created the juggernaut Boston Bruins teams of the 70s (along with some defenseman named Bobby Orr). Phil Esposito is known as one of the greatest leaders in hockey history, noted for his tremendous ability to rally his teammates. His played during the 1972 Summit Series and helped inspire the entire country. Esposito held the record for the most points in a single season with 152 (76 goals), the record held until Gretzky smashed them.
Esposito is one of five players to ever score more than 150 points in a season. He became one of the all time greats in NHL history and Chicago gave him away for nothing.
7 Shea Weber
I told you we would get to Shea Weber eventually and here he is. Weber had been the face of the Predators franchise since he was drafted by the club. Shea has one of the scariest shots in NHL history. Any team with him on the point is going to have a deadly power play. Shea Weber has become an important part of every Team Canada national team so it only makes sense that he has joined Canada's most successful team in history (although not that successful lately) Shea Weber is much more reserved and conservative than P.K. both on the ice and off. He rarely finds himself out of position and he can throw his weight around with some truly bone crushing hits.
The knock against him is he is not as offensively gifted or fast as Subban and is also much older. Weber also draws a huge salary (plus signing bonus) that makes him a very high cost replacement for Subban. Time will tell who will get the better of this deal but Montreal Canadiens fans can look forward to this hard shooting defenseman to anchor the defensive corps for years to come.
6 Brett Hull
On March 7, 1988, the St. Louis Blues acquired Brett Hull from the Calgary Flames in one of the most one-sided trades in NHL history. Hull had 50 points in 52 games for the Flames before he was traded to St. Louis and became the goal-scoring machine we know him as today. The Flames may have won a cup with the players they got but Brett Hull became one of the best goal scorers in NHL history with 741 goals in his career. Someone with the talent of Brett Hull usually doesn't get traded so early in his career and I bet the Calgary Flames regret it. Brett Hull would score one of the most infamous goals in NHL history in the 1999 Stanley Cup finals.
5 Paul Coffey
Paul Coffey was the first of the Edmonton Oilers stars to be moved due to monetary problems and he should have been a sign of things to come. Coffey was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1980 and made an immediate impact scoring 89 points in the 1981-82 season. Coffey was the point quarterback of the vaunted Edmonton Oilers power play. He was the 2nd defenseman in history to score 40 goals in a season and holds the record for most goals by a defenseman in a season with 48 in 1985-86. After winning his third cup with the team in 1987 he had a dispute over pay with then Oilers GM Glen Sather and the team deemed he was expendable trading him to the Penguins in 1987.
Coffey won another cup with the Penguins in 1991 and then was reunited with Oilers teammate Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri in L.A. It is shocking that a player with his talent was traded six times (usually due to conflicts with management). A player like Coffey should have been able to play his entire career with one franchise but instead due to off ice conflicts he bounced around a lot. He retired after the 2000-01 season after one year with the Boston Bruins.
4 Ray Bourque
If Boston could have won the cup in 1988 or 1990 against the Edmonton Oilers it is very likely that Ray Bourque never appears on this list. Ray Bourque seemed to bleed black and gold and was the anchor of some strong Boston teams from 1979 until his trade in 2000. Ray Bourque wanted to desperately win the Stanley Cup and Bruins GM Harry Sinden respected Bourque so much that he granted his wish and traded him to the Colorado Avalanche. After a heart breaking loss in the 2000 playoffs Bourque returned to the Avalanche for one last shot at glory. In a moment that made even the most manly man cry, Bourque finally got his cup and Joe Sakic broke tradition and gave it to Bourque to lift the cup high first.
Bourque retired shortly after but first brought the cup to Boston for a huge rally. The fans' love of Bourque was evident by the great turnout and no ill feelings were harboured towards Bourque for requesting the trade. Bourque retired as the all time leading scorer for defenseman in NHL history.
3 Patrick Roy
Montreal Canadiens fans would love to forget the night when Patrick Roy had one of the worst games of his career. He was hung out to dry by his team and allowed 9 goals before finally getting pulled from the game Roy proceeded to approach then team president, Ronald Corey and told him he would never play for Montreal again. Roy was traded four days later along with captain Mike Keane to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Ručinský and Andrei Kovalenko. Patrick would go on to win two Stanley Cups with the Avalanche and cement his legacy as one of the greatest goalies to ever play in the NHL. Patrick Roy would go on to add two more Stanley Cup wins to his record with the Avalanche.
2 Mark Messier
How does the 2nd highest point getter in NHL history get traded? Easy, he was a member of the same team that traded away the all time leading scorer. Mark Messier was a legendary leader for the Edmonton Oilers from day one. After winning five cups with the team Messier demanded to be traded because the Oilers were willing to let young star Adam Graves go instead of paying the money needed to resign him. The Oilers moved Messier to the New York Rangers for Louie DeBrusk, Bernie Nicholls and Steven Rice on October 4th, 1991.
Messier went on to lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1994 breaking a 54 year drought. Messier played until the 2003-04 NHL season and retired with 1,887 points in his career. It is a damn shame that the Oilers were going broke and couldn't keep The Great One and Moose together longer.
1 Wayne Gretzky
How can it be that the greatest player in hockey history was traded three times in his career? Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Indianapolis Racers to the Edmonton Oilers back in his WHA days. Wayne would establish himself as the best player in the NHL with the Oilers before the trade that shocked the world in 1988. Gretzky would go on to be traded a third time to the St. Louis Blues in 1996 and finished his career in 1999 after signing as a free agent with the Rangers. Gretzky scored 2,857 points in his career and the fact that he can be traded proves that anyone can be traded at any time, simply because he is widely considered not only the greatest NHL player of all time, but one of the greatest professional sports athletes of all time as well.