Wednesday’s blockbuster trade between the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres has us looking back at the top five major trades of the past five seasons. From a captain-for-captain swap to the Seguin deal, these trades were the talk of hockey when they went down.
Forget unbelievable goals, huge hits and incredible saves. There is nothing that gets the hockey world buzzing like a big trade.
Wednesday morning the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres teamed up for one of the biggest trades in recent memory, a blockbuster deal that sent Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and a prospect to Buffalo in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, two prospects and a draft pick. It was a monster deal that went from a rumor to huge news in the span of hours.
In today’s salary cap world, it’s not the type of trade you see often and that’s why when a mammoth deal goes down it’s nearly enough to shutdown Twitter, if only temporarily.
So what makes a trade a blockbuster? Well, first, it has to involve at least one star player. Exchanging three AHL players for three AHL players doesn’t really shake the foundation of the hockey world. However, the number of players in the deal does help. For instance, a 1-for-1 trade – and there’s one on this list – has to involve two key players switching zip codes, but a deal that sees a superstar traded for a package of players with promise absolutely fits the criteria. And, finally, for this list, these deals all came within the past five seasons.
With that, these are the top five blockbusters trades from the past five seasons:
5) Marian Gaborik gets traded to Columbus – Apr. 3, 2013
Like many of the modern era’s trades, Gaborik was dealt at the trade deadline as part of a package that sent him to the Columbus Blue Jackets three seasons after he had inked a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the New York Rangers. The Rangers had acquired Rick Nash during the off-season, and it made Gaborik expendable. Just because he was expendable, however, doesn’t mean the Rangers didn’t net a big return.
In exchange for Gaborik, who was dealt alongside Blake Parlett and Steve Delisle, the Rangers received Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore and a sixth-round pick. Brassard was the key piece that came back the other way and he’s turned into quite the player for the Rangers, on pace for the best season of his career in 2014-15.
The oft-injured Gaborik would end up in Los Angeles by 2013-14, helping the Kings win their second Stanley Cup in three seasons.
4) Ryan Miller dealt to the St. Louis Blues – Feb. 28, 2014
Miller had performed admirably with the Sabres over his 11 seasons in Buffalo, but as the team prepared to rebuild and Miller’s contract was near expiration, they looked to trade the veteran netminder. The St. Louis Blues were positioned as one of the better teams in the Western Conference and, apparently with little faith in goaltenders Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak, sought to acquire Miller.
When the dust settled, the deal shook out as one of the biggest in recent memory, and it even happened before the trade deadline. Miller and Steve Ott were sent packing from the Sabres. In return, Buffalo landed Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a 2015 first-round pick and 2016 third-round pick.
In the playoffs, Miller’s performance against the Chicago Blackhawks in the opening round was subpar and the Blues were eliminated in six games to the defending Stanley Cup champions. St. Louis informed Miller that they would not seek to re-sign him once his deal was up, and Miller became a free agent, eventually inking a contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
3) Oh, captain for captain? Lightning and Rangers swap leaders – March 5, 2014
If you think making a trade in the NHL is as simple as saying to a rival GM, “Hey, we have this player and you have that player. Let’s make a deal,” then the trade of Martin St-Louis from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the New York Rangers might convince you otherwise.
Then-Tampa Bay captain St-Louis had grown disgruntled with his role on the Lightning, and tensions grew following St-Louis’ snub from the Canadian Olympic roster in Sochi by Steve Yzerman, who just so happened to be his GM in Tampa Bay. Eventually, he would be added to the roster following an injury to Steven Stamkos, but that wasn’t enough for St-Louis to cool off.
He requested a trade from the Lightning and, on deadline day 2014, St-Louis was dealt to the New York Rangers in exchange for Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. Callahan was an unrestricted free agent and at war with the Rangers over how much his new deal would be worth. Two unhappy players made happy with new homes.
But that wasn’t all. The Lightning also received two conditional draft picks, one in 2014 and one in 2015. Because the Rangers made the Eastern Conference Final with St-Louis, the 2014 pick became a first-round selection, and with Callahan re-signing in Tampa Bay, the Rangers get the Lightning’s second-round pick in the upcoming draft while Tampa Bay takes New York’s seventh-rounder.
2) Rick Nash a Blue Jacket no more – July 23, 2012
Nash was the face of the Columbus Blue Jackets for nine incredible years. He brought the team its first hardware when he won the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2003-04, was there when the team made its first playoff appearance, and is the team’s all-time leader in every important offensive category. But, with the team consistently losing, Nash requested a trade.
His wish was granted on July 23, 2012, when the New York Rangers sent Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first-round pick to Columbus in exchange for Nash, Steve Delisle, and a third-round pick.
The Blue Jackets, though mired in the worst injury trouble that has a hit a club in recent memory, are taking steps forward as an organization. Dubinsky and Anisimov have both been on the injured reserve often this season and that’s hindered their success. On the bright side, the Blue Jackets used the first round pick to select Kerby Rychel, who could be a star for Columbus in the coming years.
As for Nash, he’s having the best goal-scoring season of his career, on pace for his first 50-plus goal season. Delisle flamed out and failed to play a game in the NHL. And the conditional third-round pick turned into Pavel Buchnevich, who is currently playing in the KHL where he has 11 goals and 26 points in 45 games for Severstal Cherepovets.
1) Boston Bruins trade Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars – July 4, 2013
The rumors that Seguin wasn’t fitting in in Boston were loud. It was said that his attitude didn’t fit in, that he needed to grow up and that the organization was looking to move on from the 2010 draft’s second overall pick. The trade finally came just weeks after the Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2012-13 Stanley Cup Final, and it shocked the hockey world.
In a monster seven-player deal, the Bruins dealt Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to Dallas. In return, Boston received Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser. Nearly two years later, the deal is still lauded as one of the worst moves Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has made, as Seguin has turned into an offensive dynamo and the pieces he received in return have far from lived up to the hype.
This season alone, Seguin has 29 goals and 59 points in 54 games, which ties his career high in Boston that came in his second season in the league. His goal total is more than all but four Bruins have points. He’s on pace for 44 tallies and 90 points, while the Bruins as a team don’t have a single player on pace for 30.
At times, Seguins immaturity still shines through, but the trade will be remembered by Bruins fans for years as the time they gave a way a promising young star in exchange for a package of players that couldn’t quite make the cut.
Eriksson and Smith are both currently on the Bruins’ roster and have made up for some lost production, but have combined for only 22 goals and 58 points this season. Morrow has suited up for 15 games with the Bruins, but has played most of the past three seasons in the AHL. Fraser is with the Edmonton Oilers after the team picked him up off waivers.
As for the Peverley and Button, Peverley has been sidelined for most of this season and last due to heart surgery and Button has since moved on to Germany’s DEL.