Bad Trades: Who made the biggest blunder in NHL history???

February 18th, 2010 4 Comments

With the NHL trade deadline coming up, my thoughts quickly turned to the worst trades in NHL history. The list is longer than you think, but for the purpose of fitting this article into this publication, I have created a list of 12 horrific trades.

1. Pavol Demitra gets traded from the Ottawa Senators to the St. Louis Blues for Christer Olsson. Well, we all know who Demitra is, who the heck is Olsson? Demitra has over 700 points in his NHL career, while Olsson played 25 games for the Sens, scoring two goals and adding three assists for a total of five points.

OUCH! Pass the vaseline, that trade hurt!

2. The Los Angeles Kings Trade Wayne Gretzky to the St. Louis Blues for Craig Johnson, Roman Vopat, Patrice Tardif, a first and a fifth rounder. In case you didn’t remember, Gretzky played a total of 18 games for the Blues, while the players who went to L.A. hit the beach more than they did the ice. This trade was a dud for both teams.

3. The Detroit Red Wings trade Adam Oates to St. Louis for Bernie Federko. Can you imagine if the Red Wings had kept Oates? The Wings would have had Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, and Oates skating down the middle for over a decade.

Federko scored 57 points for the Red Wings that year (89-90), then promptly retired. Oates scored 102 points the year he went to St. Louis (89-90), then went on to score 1,420 points in his career. Clearly this was one bad trade for the Wings.

4. Kris Draper is traded by the Winnipeg Jets to the Detroit Red Wings for a dollar! No need to get into details here; Draper has a few Stanley Cup rings, and the Jets are defunct! End of story…..

5. The Toronto Maple Leafs trade their third overall Draft pick to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Tom Kurvers. Kurvers had 55 points in 89 games with the Leafs—not bad.

That 3rd overall pick? Yeah, that turned out to be Scott Neidermayer, one of the games top 10 defensemen of all time. This trade absolutely killed the Leafs…just imagine!

6. The New York Islanders trade Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha. Luongo and Jokinen are perennial All-Stars; Parrish and Kvasha…are not! Ahhhh, if only Mike Milbury had called the Leafs…..

7. The Chicago Blackhawks trade Dominik Hasek to the Buffalo Sabres for Stephane Beauregard and a fifth round draft choice. Dominik Hasek went on to become one of the best goalies of all-time, earning the nickname the “Dominator.”

Beauregard never played a game for the Hawks. That trade is uglier than Rick James in the morning!

8. In 1986, the Vancouver Canucks traded Cam Neely and a first round draft pick (Glen Wesley- Defenseman), to the Boston Bruins for Barry Pederson. Wesley for Pederson may have been a steal; Neely was a legend while he played, quite possibly the best power forward ever? The Canucks got shagged, baby!

9. The Chicago Blackhawks traded Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to the Boston Bruins for Pit Martin, Jack Norris and Giles Marotte. Fred Stanfield had six consecutive 20-goal seasons for the Bruins; Ken Hodge played nine seasons for the Bruins, scoring 25 goals or more 7 times and 50 goals in 1973-74.

Esposito was the best scorer of his time, the first NHL player to score 100 points, and the leader of Canada’s 1972 Team—not to mention a key member of Boston’s Stanley Cup Championships.

Martin, Norris and Marotte? Not so good; Martin was a good player, scoring 20 goals or more in 7 of the 11 seasons he spent in Chicago; Jack Norris had a grand total of three wins for the Blackhawks, and Marotte had a total of 10 goals over three seasons for Chi-Town. And you wonder why Chicago hasn’t won the Cup in decades?

10. The Montreal Canadiens traded Patrick Roy and Mike Keane to the Colorado Avalanche for Andrei Kovalenko, Jocelyn Thibault, and Martin Rucinsky. Roy and Keane were the final pieces in Colorado’s Stanley Cup championship. Kovalenko, Thibault and Rucinsky did next to nothing for the Habs.

See? Even the great teams screw up once and a while.

11. The Calgary Flames trade Doug Gilmour, Jaime Macoun, Rick Walmsley, Ric Natress, and Kent Manderville to Toronto for Michel Petit, Gary Leeman, Jeff Reese, Alexander Godynyuk and Craig Berube.

This trade kinda reminds you of the first time you said “I promise I won’t cum”, doesn’t it? Fletcher pulled a fast one on the former Calgary GM,  then young and innocent Doug Riesborough. Gilmour went on to become a legend in Toronto and damn near willed the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup. Damn you Gretzky!

12. In 1993, the Philadelphia Flyers traded Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, two first round draft picks, and $15,000,000 dollars cash to the Quebec Nordiques for Eric Lindros and his annoying parents!

The trade couldn’t save the Nordiques from becoming the Colorado Avalanche, but the Avs would go on to win two Stanley Cups on the backs of many of the above noted players backs. In the end, Forsberg alone may have been too much for Lindros; that said, Lindros was a great player. If not hampered by injuries, he could have been one of the best players of all-time.

Hindsight, as they say, is everything, isn’t it???

Disagree? Bring the noise! Make a Comment…

Until next time,



  1. Bryan B. says:

    I know this post is a few days old, but I’m now just getting around to reading it and I have a few things I would like to comment on.

    The Oates for Federko trade looks bad now but I think it was understandable at the time. The Red Wings were looking for some vets for a very young team. Federko had a strong playoffs the year before and seemed like a guy who could fit the bill. Oates was shipped around at a pretty consistent rate throughout his career and there was no chance that the Wings would have ran with Yzerman, Federov, and Oates all at the same time a few years later; one of them would have been traded. Not a good trade, but understandable.

    That’s a really bad trade missing out on Neidermayer for the Leafs, I don’t think anyone can argue that. However, the Leafs probably had a 50% chance of trading Scott anyway if they had drafted him. I’ve also never seen him mentioned as a top 10 defenseman of all-time. Maybe top 20.

    As a Sabres fan, the Hasek trade may have saved the franchise in the long run. However, in some small defense for Chicago, the 5th round pick turned into Eric Daze.

    Reading Phil Esposito’s book, he just wasn’t a real good fit on the Blackhawks. Still not a good trade, but I’m not sure he goes on to put up his gaudy numbers if he never leaves the hawks.

    I get what you are selling with the commentary on the Gilmour trade, but the “I promise I won’t cum.” remark is just incredibly out of place and unprofessional. I’m not offended by it or anything, but I think you missed the boat with an unnecessary analogy.

  2. MarkRitter says:

    Hey Bryan-

    Thanks for the comment. That’s what these kind of articles are for, to strike up debate and share some stories. While I do see your point about my “I promise not to…” comment, it was a nice way of saying somehting even more vulgar, which, in fact, is how many viewed the trade (that Fletcher “screwed” the Flames on that move).

    As far as not calling Niedermayer a top ten D-man, it’s a good arguement, we don;’t share the same opinion, but I can see the other side.

    Anyways, all the best!


  3. JB says:

    The Joe Thornton deal. Only time the MVP of a given year has been traded that same year, if I’m not mistaken.

  4. MarkRitter says:

    I think a lot of people on the fence about the Thornton deal. Certainly Thornton has been an all-star talent in the regular season, but he has been VERY average in the playoffs and, IMO, at the Olympics in Vancouver. Not sure it’s as bad of a trade as we all seem to think, therefore doesn’t make the list, but not one of the best either….

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