As the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline fast approaches, we take a look back at some of the best down-to-the-wire deals in the history of the league — trades that benefited both clubs and/or proved instrumental to one side’s Stanley Cup championship.
10. Stevie Yzerman hijacks Ben Bishop from Ottawa
The Tampa Bay Lightning general manager took Bishop off a Senators team flush with goaltending in 2013. The return? Small centre Cory Conacher, who went from Calder Trophy candidate to the waiver wire.
The 24-year-old is now plying his trade for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Bishop, meanwhile, earned a Vezina nomination in 2014 and will be integral to an exciting Tampa team’s playoff run this spring.
9. Gaborik gets hot at right time for right team
Marian Gaborik had begun to phone it in a bit for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2014, so getting Matt Frattin and a couple of picks (a second- and third-rounder) from L.A. seems like a decent return for the streaky Slovak.
Then the guy went ape in the playoffs — 14 goals, 22 points and 24 hours with sport’s sexiest hunk of hardware. Even better? The three-time all-star, thought to be a rental, committed to the Kings for less than $5 million annually. Frattin is a Toronto Marlie.
8. Washington and Minnesota strike a heck of a hockey deal
In a 1989 deal that benefited both sides, the Minnesota North Stars swapped Dino Ciccarelli and defenceman Bob Rouse to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Mike Gartner, a 50-goal scorer, and defenceman Larry Murphy. Ciccarelli’s impact on the contender was immediate, scoring 12 in his first 11 contests with the Caps; he would go on to post 41-goal and 38-goal seasons in the U.S. capital.
Gartner threw up 84 points in 80 games for Minnesota before being flipped to the New York Rangers midway through their 1989-90 campaign, and Murphy contributed 68 points from the North Stars’ blue line in 1989-90.
7. Thrashers find a good home for Hossa
By adding dangerous rental Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis from the Atlanta Thrashers at the 2008 deadline to a Penguins club already stacked with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, GM Ray Shero booked his ticket to the Cup final.
The Penguins sent a package of Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, prospect Angelo Esposito and a first-round pick (Daulton Leveille) the other way. Usually the team that gets the best player wins the deal; Shero got the two best players. Hossa, who would have walked for nothing, led the Penguins in playoff goals (12), though Pittsburgh lost a six-game series to Detroit in the Cup final. In the ultimate irony, Hossa joined the Red Wings the following season only to lose to Pittsburgh in the 2009 final.
6. St. Louis lands hockey’s last 80-goal guy
Calgary fans savour their 1989 Stanley Cup, but would there have been even more championships had the Flames held on to a young sniper named Brett Hull?
Hull and Steve Bozek were sent to the Blues at the 1988 deadline for Rob Ramage and goalie Rick Wamsley — a move that helped Calgary on the back end. Hull, of course, was lightning in a bottle. The Hall of Famer is the NHL’s third-highest goal scorer ever, peaking in 1990-91 with a Nintendo-style 86 goals and 113 points.
5. Avalanche rent Cup-chasing Bourque
At the 2000 deadline, the Boston Bruins traded one of their all-time greatest players, Raymond Bourque, and Dave Andreychuk to Colorado in exchange for Brian Rolston, Samuel Pahlsson, Martin Grenier and a first-round draft choice (Martin Samuelsson).
Bourque, 39, was on the verge of retirement but stuck around one more year, scoring 59 points and sipping from the Cup for the first time. Rolston, meanwhile, would average more than 30 goals a year during his four seasons in Boston.
4. Vancouver lands its all-time goal-getter
Alek Stojanov seems like a reasonable price to pay for your franchise’s all-time goal-scoring king. That’s who the Canucks dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 1996 deadline for Markus Naslund, whose all-time Vancouver marks are just now being eclipsed by the Sedin twins. Naslund, who was 22 at the time, led the Canucks in scoring for seven straight seasons and finished his career as the club’s all-time leader in goals (346) and points (756).
3. Lightning makes most of stockpiled draft picks
In a pair of sell-off deals with the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames in March 1998, the Tampa Bay Lightning secured first- and third-round draft picks, respectively, in that spring’s draft.
Without that first-rounder, Vincent Lecavalier, and that third-rounder, Brad Richards, Tampa Bay fails to create the forward core that would lead to the franchise’s Stanley Cup victory in 2004.
2. Islanders give Goring second life
At the 1980 deadline, the Los Angeles Kings dealt four-time 30-goal scorer “Butch” Goring to the New York Islanders for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis. Goring went on to win four Stanley Cups as a significant member of the Isles’ dynasty. The guy Mom named Robert averaged a point a game through his first 39 playoff contests in New York.
1. Penguins add much-needed Ulf to their lineup
Acquiring Ulf Samuelsson, Ron Francis and Grant Jennings from the Hartford Whalers at the 1991 deadline for John Cullen, Jeff Parker and Zarley Zalapski was a stroke of genius.
Though Cullen and Zalapski would go on to produce just fine in Hartford, Pittsburgh’s deal resulted in consecutive Stanley Cup championships. Samuelsson, who was unhappy with the Whalers and considering a move back to Sweden, scored the Cup-winning goal in ’91 and Francis did the same in ’92. Not too shabby.