The worst trades in NHL history

When the rumour mill gets going it is hard not to get excited at the prospect of new arrivals. The trouble is, for every great trade there is usually another side left kicking themselves at the loss of talent and missed opportunity. 

Here we look at five of the worst trades in NHL history.

Number 5. Flames man Doug gave Mour to the Leafs

When the Flames used Doug Gilmour as the central cog in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs they knew it was a gamble. Gilmour, 28, had proven himself to be a more than competent player in the NHL. Still, the Flames thought they could do better. The true odds of that happening were, in truth, slim.

The main name to head to the Flames in the deal was Gary Leeman. Leeman had a reasonable record in Toronto, but he proved far from hot for the Flames. He was shipped out after just two years and 11 goals. Gilmour though still had plenty in the tank and went on to average 1.2 points per game in nearly 400 appearances for the Maple Leafs. 

Number 4. Barry Pederson joins the Canucks in Cam-ikaze trade

In 1986, the Canucks swapped the promising but unpolished Cam Neely and a first round pick for the experienced hand of Pederson with the Bruins. In fairness, it could have been a decent move with Pederson coming in off the back of a few decent seasons. It didn’t work out that way though. 

His first two seasons were pretty respectable as he posted north of 70 points in each but from there on out it was a downward trajectory – and a sharp one at that. He left the Canucks after another two years and despite remaining in the NHL until 1992 he failed to break the 50-point mark. Neely, however, tore things up in Boston earning himself a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Number 3. When the Red Wings got clipped by the Kings

When you have a player in your side that is racking up points by the bucket load, my advice would always be to keep hold of them. Back in 1975, the Detroit Red Wings didn’t follow that line of thinking regarding Marcel Dionne. The Los Angeles Kings knew a good deal when they saw it though. The Red Wings loss was their gain.

Dionne went on to spend 12 years of his career in LA and his performances saw him become a legendary figure of the Kings franchise before. It’s hardly a surprise though. When you sink over 1,300 points and have half a dozen 50 goal seasons the chances are that you’ll become well thought of. To this day, what the Red Wings were thinking is beyond me.

Number 2. Brett Hull left the Flames and then caught fire

When a 23-year-old Hull was sent packing out of Calgary there was an immediate sense of regret surrounding the team. Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley arrived as part of the trade that saw Hull join the St Louis Blues but the Flames never saw much benefit from the Blues’ pair. 

There is no denying that Ramage was a class act, but he spent less than 12 months with the team. Where Wamsley was concerned, he was okay but never more than an understudy keeper. The rookie the Flames has bombed out though was doing just fine and seemed to find the net near in every time he went on the ice. He played over 700 games for the Blues and racked up a staggering 936 points.

Number 1. The Oilers let Wayne Gretzky slip through their hands

You probably have a better chance of guessing the best numbers to play in roulette, than to top the royal mistake that Oilers did allowing Gretzky to slip through.

Wayne Gretzky had been the driving force of the Oilers’ success in the mid-eighties. It really should have been obvious that trading him wasn’t a smart move. It was to most of the fan base. For Nelson Pocklington though Gretzky was nothing more than a saleable asset and the offer of $15m, two players and three round one draft picks was too good to turn down. 

The duo heading to Canada from the LA Kings – Jimmy Carson and Martin Gelinas – only managed a combined six seasons for the Oilers. Meanwhile, Gretzky was growing into a big-time celeb in LA whilst boosting the profile of the entire sport. The Oilers did manage to win another Stanley Cup after Gretzky left but they were never the same threat again. To be fair, Gretzky never has the same success on the ice again either. 

There you have it, the five worst NHL trades of all time. Who else should have been included in our list?

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