Hockey Central Insiders: Trade Deadline memories

The Hockey Central Insiders share their most memorable trade deadline moments - like the time Brad May was traeed and won the Stanley Cup months later.


This week’s edition of Hockey Central: Ask the Insiders is all about one thing – the 2013 NHL trade deadline. This week’s Insiders share some of their most memorable NHL trade deadline moments.

Nick Kypreos: Who can forget Cliff Fletcher’s famous words “draft schmaft.” In March of 1996, Cliff gave up a first round pick, Kenny Jonsson, Sean Haggerty and my buddy Darby Hendrickson for Mathieu Schneider, D. J. Smith and some guy who’s famous for a cheesy handle bar mustache. What stands out for me more than anything was the anticipation for that first game back in Maple Leaf Gardens for Clark. That night the noise was deafening when 17 stepped out on the ice to start the game vs. Dallas. And who scores the first goal of the game seven minutes in? Wendel of course and at that moment the noise I heard from the Gardens in Toronto matched the noise I heard from another Garden from New York two years prior the night we won the Cup. A Toronto reunion that hasn’t been matched since.

Doug MacLean: As an expansion GM with the Blue Jackets, the trade deadline was a different animal. The trades I was looking at were typically small deals or trying to move money off the books. One small deal was trading popular fourth line checker Kevin Adams, who was an expansion draft player, to Florida for Ray Whitney. I was criticized for trading a young player for the veteran Whitney. Adams has been retired for years and Whitney is still playing! Another deadline deal was when my owner told me to move money ASAP. I had traded Mike Sillinger to Dallas for Darryl Sydor, and Sydor had a four year deal worth $8.2 million. After one year with Columbus I had to trade him due to the money. I was pissed. Traded him to Tampa and all he did was win a Stanley Cup and Columbus saved the three years $6.2 million left on his deal.

Brad May: I was traded on two different NHL trade deadlines. The first time I was at home in Scottsdale, Arizona and I got a phone call telling me I was traded back to the Vancouver Canucks where I had played for a few years before. It was an awesome feeling going home (I loved Vancouver and that’s exactly how it felt).

The next time I was traded at the deadline would end up being the start of the most memorable three months of my career. I was traded from the Colorado Avalanche to the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 where we won the Stanley Cup that spring. It was without a doubt, the greatest time in my career.

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Theo Fleury: My most memorable trade day moment was the day I got traded to the Avalanche. I had met Harley Hotchkiss a couple of days before to see if we could get a deal done to stay in Calgary. I turned down their offer. I was getting ready to drive down to practice when I peeked out the window to see GM Al Coates in my driveway. He came in and we sat down and told me he had traded me to Colorado. Was a roller coaster ride after that – saying goodbye to Calgary then hopping a plane and arriving in Denver and putting on an Avalanche jersey on the next night after almost 12 years in Calgary.

Denis Potvin: It wasn’t a deadline deal, but the January, 1975 trade for J.P. Parise and Jude Drouin for Craig “Gunner” Cameron and Ernie Hicke and Doug Rombough was a memorable one for me as a player. Parise scored the playoff series winning goal vs. the Rangers. That win put the Isles on the map. Damn Rangers!

Gary Valk: The 1991 deadline was by far the most memorable for me and I wasn’t even traded! Geoff Courtnall, Robert Dirk, Sergio Momesso, Cliff Ronning and future considerations traded from St. Louis to Vancouver for Dan Quinn and Garth Butcher; Dana Murzyn traded from Calgary to Vancouver for Ron Stern, Kevan Guy and future considerations; and Steve Weeks traded from Vancouver to Buffalo for future considerations.

I went to sleep around 2 pm on game day in Hartford for a pregame nap, and around 3:30 I could hear a buzz all through the hallway. Our phone rang during the nap because my roommate was Trevor Linden, the captain and the media wanted a reaction from him.

I remember panicking because I thought I got traded (Note: NEVER call a player on trade deadline day!). I came to find out four of my good friends were traded. This was my rookie year, so this was very shocking and unsettling to me. From that point forward I realized hockey was truly a business and we were just commodities.

Neil Smith: My most memorable deadline trade moments were all from March 21, 1994. I made five different trades acquiring Craig MacTavish from Edmonton for Todd Marchant; Brian Noonan and Stephane Matteau from Chicago for Tony Amonte; and Glenn Anderson from Toronto for Mike Gartner. I also traded Phil Bourque to Ottawa for future considerations and Peter Andersson to Florida for future considerations. We went on to win the Stanley Cup in 1994 and all four players acquired that day (from a Calgary hotel suite) were integral parts of the winning formula.

Marty McSorley: Playing in Edmonton, we added Kent Nilsson and Reijo Ruotsalainen near the deadline in 1986 – two very talented players added to that list of stars. Practices were faster than most games. I was able to ask questions and get tips from such a plethora of talented people. Picture a second line of Messier, Anderson, and Nilsson – it was awesome.

As for a not so great a moment, I got traded to the New York Rangers just before the 1996 deadline. The LA Kings did not tell the Rangers that I was injured and the Kings doctor was not forthcoming about the extent of my hip problem (he told me in the offseason that I needed hip surgery, while I was a member of the New York Rangers). Frustrating for both the Rangers and myself.

Gord Stellick (Part 1): March 10th, 1981 – The Trade Deadline concept is really ramping up for the first time it seems. A lot of that is based on the Butch Goring trade from the previous year which seemed to be the final piece for the Islanders to win their first of four Stanley Cups.

This will end up being the last trade deadline in the brief second coming of Punch Imlach as the Leafs’ general manager.

I remember in the morning going in the Leaf dressing room and Ian Turnbull (who was always rumoured to be about to be traded) yelling at me in front of everyone. “Punch” (he called me Punch Junior at times), he yelled out his phone number and then said “I will pick it up on the first ring, tell me where I am going and I am out of here.”

We did make a significant trade before the 12:00 noon deadline in sending Robert Picard to Montreal for Michel “Bunny” Larocque and an eighth-round draft choice. Back in those days, the deadline was 12:00 noon. But, the trade was OK as long as one of the two trading teams was in a time zone where it was not yet 12:00 noon.

So at 12:00 noon eastern time we started just dealing with teams that were not in the eastern time zone. Just before 1:00 p.m. we acquired Ron Zanussi from the Minnesota North Stars for a second-round pick. I think Punch did that as a bit of a favour to his son Brent Imlach who was Zanussi’s agent.

Just before 3:00 p.m. eastern time we made a very minor trade with someone who has been an NHL heavyweight executive for the past two decades. With the addition of Larocque, we were looking at moving one of our goaltenders. The Los Angeles Kings offered us a fifth-round draft choice for Jim Rutherford and we took agreed to it… just under the wire.

Gord Stellick (Part 2): My brief time as general manager of the Maple Leafs included a significant trade deadline deal in 1989. We had three teams interested in goaltender Ken Wregget in Buffalo, Washington and Philadelphia.

In the ongoing dialogue with Bob Clarke in Philadelphia, I realized he was the most interested. I told him that we wanted prospects and futures. A few days before the deadline was when he mentioned what I wanted the most. “Well, our scouts will want to kill me for it, but how about our two first round picks for Wregget?” The Flyers also had the Calgary Flames pick from an earlier deal.

We jumped on the deal and actually got it done the day before the trade deadline. It was a good feeling on deadline day to have our most significant piece of business already completed.

A year later, I was Neil Smith’s assistant with the New York Rangers and the acquisition of Mike Gartner from the Minnesota North Stars for Ulf Dahlen was the trade deadline deal. Neil had done his largest work weeks earlier when he acquired Bernie Nicholls from the Los Angeles Kings for Tomas Sandstrom and Tony Granato.

Brian Lawton: I have many memories from trade deadline day but always keep in mind not all are memorable. However, a trade we made at the 2010 deadline for Teddy Purcell certainly was. We traded Jeff Halpern to the Kings for Teddy Purcell and a third round pick.

Teddy was a young player that we thought was a bit of a victim of wrong place at the right time. The LA Kings were blessed with many quality forwards and were not able to afford Teddy the last piece of opportunity he needed to round his game off. So Dean Lombardi agreed to trade Teddy. Of course, LA was also looking for a quality defensive player and face man at the time which we had in Jeff Halpern who is still providing those services to the Montreal Canadiens today.

I was thrilled to acquire Teddy because I had scouted him at the University of Maine and believed in him as a potential top six forward. I believed he had the skill level to be successful at the NHL level as evidenced by his play in the NCAA and in the AHL.

We hoped at the time all he needed was the right opportunity and a healthy dose of Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Ryan Malone to jump start the offensive ability he clearly had. I can recall fondly of Teddy scoring the winning goal for us in a shootout shortly after the trade and thinking he is well on his way to proving himself as a top six forward.

Since the trade Teddy, has scored 51, 65 and is on pace this year in a full season for 63 points which is remarkable for a player that had never scored more than 16 points in an NHL season prior to the trade. Additionally, I would suspect Teddy is pretty happy with his change of address as he recently signed a new contract with the Lightning that will see him make $4,500,000 per year for the next three seasons. Not a bad increase in pay when you consider he was making $600,000 when we acquired him!

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