Shea Weber for P.K. Subban was an earth-shattering 1-for-1 deal, easily the biggest of the salary cap era. What other 1-for-1s have been noteworthy?
Shea Weber for P.K. Subban. Oh, baby. What a trade. Even if most of us agree the Nashville Predators won the deal by acquiring the younger, currently better Subban, this was a legit hockey trade. Weber still finished 10th in Norris Trophy voting this past season. We witnessed a swap of two players still close to the top of their class at their position.
Was Weber for Subban the most significant 1-for-1 trade in NHL history? We can make that case given both players are in their primes. The Hartford Whalers dealt Chris Pronger to the St. Louis Blues for Brendan Shanahan in 1995. That was a helluva straight-up deal, involving two future Hall of Famers (and player safety execs), but Pronger was a kid at the time. He hadn’t yet blossomed into his Hart Trophy form. It may seem bigger than Weber for Subban in hindsight but, if we factor in each player’s status when the trade happened…Weber for Subban wins.
We’ve probably seen bigger blockbusters than Weber for Subban, but it’s awfully tough to find those in which a single player went for a single player. Pierre Turgeon for Pat LaFontaine? That deal involved six players and a pick. Eric Lindros for Peter Forsberg? The Nordiques got half a team in that trade along with Foppa. Luc Robitaille to the Penguins for Rick Tocchet? A Second-rounder went to L.A. along with Tocchet. Dany Heatley for Marian Hossa? Nope, the Atlanta Thrashers got Greg de Vries, too. Even Martin St-Louis for Ryan Callahan included the Tampa Bay Lightning acquiring draft picks.
It’s extremely rare to find a pure 1-for-1 matching the magnitude of Weber for Subban or, heck, Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson, which happened in the same friggin’ hour. Scott Stevens went to the New Jersey Devils in 1990 for Shanahan, but that wasn’t a trade. Stevens was awarded as compensation for the Blues inking Shanahan.
So Weber for Subban thus may have the title belt. We could keep going and dig through every trade in NHL history, but there are only so many hours in the day – which happens to be the eve of July 1, free agency day. So I’ll let you toss out more candidates in the comment section. And I’ll present the 10 biggest 1-for-1s of the salary cap era, factoring in players’ status at the time of the deal. Brian Elliott for Craig Anderson may sound like a major move today, but it wasn’t when it happened in 2011. This list factors in which 1-for-1s blew us away in the moment.
1. Predators trade Shea Weber to Canadiens for P.K. Subban: June 29, 2016
A Norris Trophy winner in his prime for a three-time Norris Trophy finalist in his prime. It doesn’t get any more seismic than that.
2. Oilers trade Taylor Hall to Devils for Adam Larsson: June 29, 2016
The Oilers would like us to believe this was an epic trade of star for star. It wasn’t. It was star for potential star. Larsson still has time to become a top-end NHL blueliner but, for now, this trade earns the No. 2 spot for its immediate infamy.
3. Blue Jackets trade Ryan Johansen to Predators for Seth Jones: Jan. 6, 2016
A nice, pure hockey trade that addressed the Jackets’ need for a franchise-pillar defenseman and the Preds’ need for a power center. Most prognosticators see Columbus winning this deal long term, but it was a sensible transaction, swapping two off-ice friends for each other.
4. Sharks trade Dany Heatley to Wild for Martin Havlat: July 4, 2011
It’s easy to laugh at this trade now since both players’ careers fell off cliffs after it happened, but Heatley for Havlat was a big deal at the time. Heatley was fresh off a 26-goal, 64-point season and a trip to the conference final with San Jose. Havlat was Minnesota’s top scorer. It was a major shakeup involving two high-impact forwards.
5. Hurricanes trade Erik Cole to Oilers for Joni Pitkanen: July 2, 2008
Pitkanen was a young, relatively healthy, minutes-eating horse on Edmonton’s blueline, but he was also a restricted free agent. The Oilers decided to trade him rather than re-sign him. Cole was a bust and ended up dealt back to Carolina later that season. Injuries eventually ended Pitkanen’s career. Nobody won this deal.
6. Flyers trade James van Riemsdyk to Maple Leafs for Luke Schenn: June 23, 2012
Then-Leafs GM Brian Burke took heat for plenty of his trades, but this one was a coup from Day 1. Schenn’s lack of foot speed kept him from being a front-line defenseman, while van Riemsdyk has been a productive goal scorer when healthy in Toronto.
7. Hurricanes trade Andrew Ladd to Blackhawks for Tuomo Ruutu: Feb. 26, 2008
This was a change-of-pace hockey trade. Both players were set to become RFAs, and both were first-round draft picks not yet realizing their potential. Ladd ended up helping the Hawks win the Stanley Cup – and the trade.
8. Senators trade Nick Foligno to Blue Jackets for Marc Methot: July 1, 2012
The Jackets got their future captain in Foligno and the Sens found a long-term defense partner for Erik Karlsson in Methot.
9. Bruins trade Andrew Raycroft to Maple Leafs for Tuukka Rask: July 25, 2006
Not as hindsight-is-20/20 as one might think. Rask was already a major prospect when the Leafs shipped him out. He was a first-round pick and had been named best goaltender at the 2006 world juniors.
10. Canadiens trade Jose Theodore to Avalanche for David Aebischer: March 8, 2006
The Habs bid farewell to the 2002 Hart and Vezina Trophy winner. Aebischer was Colorado’s starter but ended up losing the No. 1 gig to Cristobal Huet in Montreal come playoff time.
Honorable mentions: Alexei Zhitnik for Braydon Coburn; Dennis Wideman for Brad Boyes; David Clarkson for Nathan Horton; Michael Del Zotto for Kevin Klein
Matt Larkin is a writer and editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin