It’s NHL trade deadline time people, a time of year when fists aren’t the only things clenched in anticipation or dread at who will be traded where and for how much and how long. The Reflector takes a look back at some of the most influential and tear-ridden trades in NHL history.
5. Patrick Roy, Montreal Canadiens to Colorado Avalanche
Montreal Canadien Patrick Roy was traded to the Colorado Avalanche with Mike Keane for Andrei Kovalenko, Jocelyn Thibault and Martin Rucinsky in 1995. Roy left the Canadiens after giving up nine goals in a single game and throwing a hissy fit, claiming he would never play for the Canadiens again. In his first season with the Avalanche, Roy helped them win.
4. Doug Gilmour, Calgary Flames to Toronto Maple Leafs
In what can be called an ass-nasty trade, Doug Gilmour was traded from the Calgary Flames to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a massive 10-player trade in 1992. Gilmour spent four seasons with the Flames racking up 295 points and winning the ’89 Cup with the team. The trade saw Gilmour, Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville and Rick Wamsley heading east, with the Flames getting Gary Leeman, Alexander Godynyuk, Jeff Reese, Michel Petit and Craig Berube (I’m sorry who?) Some say the trade was the reason for the Flames not-so-stellar play in the years that followed until they finally made it back to the Cup final in the ’03/04 season.
3. Ryan Smyth, Edmonton Oilers to New York Islanders
Ryan Smyth was drafted by the Oilers sixth overall in the 1994 draft and would go on to break two of The Great One’s records while wearing the copper and blue. Smyth was the darling captain of the Oilers, his hockey hair flowing out from under his helmet as he prowled the ice. He was an integral part of the Oilers team that made to the Stanley Cup finals in the ’05/06 season only to be ousted in Game 7 by the Carolina Hurricanes. It was with a teary farewell that Smyth said goodbye to Oilers fans after 12 years with the team. He was dealt to the New York Islanders for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O’Marra and the first round pick in the 2007 entry draft. Smyth currently hangs his helmet in the Colorado Avalanche dressing room.
To see TSN’s coverage of Trade Deadline ’09 click here
2. Phil Esposito, Chicago Blackhawks to Boston Bruins
In 1967 Phil Esposito, who had been in a starring role with the Blackhawks alongside Bobby Hull, was traded along with Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to the Boston Bruins for Pit Martin, Jack Norris and Gilles Morotte. The trade was great for the Bruins and not so great for the Blackhawks as young Esposito played alongside another Bobby — Bobby Orr. Esposito became the first player to score 100 points in a season in his second season with the Bruins and won five scoring titles and two Stanley Cups. The Blackhawks haven’t won a cup since 1961.
1.Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers to Los Angeles Kings
Aug. 9, 1988, a day that will live in Oilers infamy. Wayne Gretzky, The Great One, who had won four Stanley Cups with the Oil was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. With rumours swirling abound that Oilers owner Peter Pocklington was having money troubles, Bruce McNall, new owner of the Los Angeles Kings shelled out $15 million bucks for Gretzky. Wayne Gretzky Sr. knew that some sort of deal for his son was in the works for sometime but didn’t tell him until after the ’88 Cup was won. The deal saw Gretzky, Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski head to L.A. for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first round draft picks and the $15 million. His tear-filled goodbye speech still tugs at the heartstrings a little. Gretzky retired in 1999 and now spends his time suiting up in shirt and tie for the NHL as the head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes.