9 NHLers who famously held out for a trade

Pavel Bure played for 3 teams in his NHL career and all of them are in action on Sportsnet, so what better time look at some of his best goals than this week's Throwback Thursday.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and his agent dropped a bomb of sorts Wednesday night.

Drouin was suspended by the Lightning for failing to report to the AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch’s game versus the Toronto Marlies. Then things got interesting.

Drouin’s agent Allan Walsh released a statement saying “there is no reason for Jonathan to continue with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization in any capacity.” Them’s fightin’ words.

Drouin is hardly the first player to holdout for a trade, although he’s one of the least experienced in terms of games played in the NHL. What’s in store for his future is anyone’s guess, but it does not appear that he will play for the Lightning again.

With an eye on the Drouin situation, here are nine players who opted to holdout and wait for a trade.

Paul Coffey – Edmonton Oilers, 1987-88

In the wake of Team Canada’s thrilling victory at the 1987 Canada Cup, Paul Coffey was looking for a raise.

Coffey opted to hold out with the hope of renegotiating the remaining two years on his five-year deal with the Oilers. Making $325,000 at the time, Coffey was looking for something in the range of $600,000-to-$800,000.

Suspended from the Oilers, Coffey considered playing for Canada’s 1988 Olympic hockey team. With trade rumours running wild, the Oilers finally sent Coffey packing on November 24, 1987. He landed with the Penguins in a seven-player trade.

The Oilers went on to win their fourth Stanley Cup, and first without Coffey, the following spring. Coffey earned his fourth Cup ring with the Penguins in 1991.

Eric Lindros – Quebec Nordiques, 1991-92

Lindros had made it abundantly clear that he would never play for the Nordiques, who held the first overall selection in the 1991 NHL Draft.

“The Big E” spent 1991-92 playing with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL and the Canadian National Team. He would commence his NHL career the following season after the Nordiques worked out trades with both the Flyers and New York Rangers at the 1992 draft.

An arbitrator eventually ruled the Flyers were the winners of the Lindros sweepstakes in a deal that sent Steve Duchesne, Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, the rights to Peter Forsberg, and picks to Quebec City.

Steve Larmer – Chicago Blackhawks, 1993-94

Larmer had played parts of 13 seasons with the Blackhawks, running an iron-man streak of 884 games before requesting a trade, citing a desired “change of scenery,” heading into the 1993-94 campaign.

Larmer sat just 80 games back of Doug Jarvis’ iron-man record before his holdout effectively cost him a shot at history.

Larmer resumed his playing career following the consummation of a three-way trade involving the Whalers and Rangers that was reached in November of 1993. Larmer became a member of the Rangers, helping the franchise to its first Stanley Cup in 54 years before retiring following the 1994-95 season.

Pavel Bure – Vancouver Canucks, 1998-99

“The Russian Rocket” was one of the NHL’s most handsomely paid players when he informed the Canucks that he had no intention of honouring the final year of his contract heading into the 1998-99 campaign.

Then-Canucks GM Brian Burke let Bure sit at home in Moscow, Russia until he struck a seven-player deal with the Florida Panthers on January 17, 1999. The Canucks acquired a package that included Ed Jovanovski and a first-round pick that amounted to Nathan Smith, who failed to register a point in 26 NHL games.

Bure went on to lead the NHL in goals in his first two full seasons with the Panthers.

Keith Primeau – Carolina Hurricanes, 1999-00

Primeau was a former first-round pick (third overall) of the Detroit Red Wings, but he landed in Hartford in a trade that sent Brendan Shanahan to Motown.

Primeau suited up with the Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes franchise for three seasons before holding out ahead of the 1999-2000 season amid a contract dispute. He almost became a member of the Arizona Coyotes before Keith Tkachuk’s contract threw a wrench into the plan.

Alas, Primeau was shipped to the Philadelphia Flyers in January of 2000, with Rod Brind’Amour serving as the centrepiece going the other way. The 6-foot-5 centre was rewarded with a five-year deal worth $22.8 million from the Flyers.

Alexei Yashin – Ottawa Senators, 1999-00

Yashin was the first ever draft choice by the Senators expansion franchise. Like Bure before him, Yashin had no intention of playing out the final year of his contract heading into the 1999-00 season. He would sit out the year.

Unlike Bure, Yashin fell victim to an arbitrator’s ruling that declared he had to honour the final year of his deal with the Senators. He put up 88 points in 82 games in the 2000-01 season before the Senators sent him packing to the Islanders in June of 2001 in a trade that landed the Senators Zdeno Chara and a first-round pick, which they used to select Jason Spezza.

Alexei Yashin celebrates a goal in 2001. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)
Alexei Yashin celebrates a goal in 2001. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

Yashin inked a ridiculous 10-year, $87.5-million contract with the Islanders. He played out five years of that contract before he was bought out.

Mike Peca – Buffalo Sabres, 2000-01

The Sabres failed to reach an agreement with their captain Mike Peca prior to the start of the 2000-01 season. Peca sat out the entire season with his future in limbo.

The Sabres finally put an end to the holdout when they shipped Peca’s rights to the New York Islanders for Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt in the summer of 2001.

Jason Allison – Boston Bruins, 2001-02

Allison was one of the NHL’s most consistent point producers over the course of his run with Bruins from 1997 through 2001.

When it came time to get paid, Allison was looking to be rewarded like one of the league’s top scorers. The Bruins had other ideas.

Allison was a holdout heading into the 2001-02 season and the Bruins did not see themselves in a position to meet their captain’s demands. Allison was on his way to the Los Angeles Kings a few weeks into the season in a deal that saw the Bruins land Jozef Stumpel and Glen Murray.

Allison struggled to stay healthy over parts of three seasons from 2001-to-2006.

Dany Heatley – Ottawa Senators, 2009-10

Heatley didn’t holdout so much as he handcuffed the Senators just one year into a six-year, $45-million contract.

Heatley and his agent J.P. Barry made it clear that the high-scoring winger would attend training camp if the Senators GM failed to trade him, but he desperately wanted out of Ottawa.

The Heatley saga rivals the Lindros situation in terms of the level of drama surrounding it. Murray reached a deal with Edmonton Oilers, which Heatley refused to waive his no-trade clause for, further painting the Senators into a corner.

Murray traded Heatley on September 12 just as training camp opened, shipping him to the San Jose Sharks for a package that included Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo.

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