Windsor - August 12, 2013 - Friday, August 9th marked the 25th anniversary of The Great Trade. Wayne Gretzky, arguably the world’s greatest hockey player, was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. And the hockey world was in shock. At the time, I lived in Kitchener, ON and worked in Guelph, a twenty minute ride down Highway 7. The news broke on Toronto’s Q107 as I was driving home from work, and I pulled over to the side of the road to listen to the report. I remember thinking, “Is this really happening?”
I was immediately taken back to Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, where I had the good fortune of watching The Great One on several occasions. I was there the night he tied Phil Esposito’s goal scoring record. The place was electric, and if I close my eyes I can still see the goal.
The Gretzky trade did wonders for the game in the United States, and to this day people will argue that if it wasn’t for Gretzky, a number of franchises south of the border would have folded. With all of that being said, I thought it would be fun to look back on some of the more memorable trades over the years. Some were good, and some were bad, and while I’m not comparing any of them to the Gretzky trade (and none of them would make me pull my car over), still had an impact on the game, and the teams involved. Here then, in no particular order, are ten trades that in my opinion, made a difference. No commentary, just the parties involved.
May 15, 1967
The Boston Bruins trade Pit Martin, Jack Norris and Gilles Marotte to the Chicago Blackhawks for Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield.
June 30, 1992
The Philadelphia Flyers trade Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Steve Duchesne, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, Kerry Huffman, a draft pick (Joecelyn Thibault) and 15 million dollars to the Quebec Nordiques for a fella named Eric Lindros.
February 6, 1971
The Detroit Red Wings trade Garry Unger and Wayne Connelly to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Red Berenson and Tim Ecclestone.
October 4, 1991
The Edmonton Oilers trade Mark Messier to the New York Rangers for Bernie Nicholls, Louie Debrusk and Steven Rice.
September 19, 1991
The Edmonton Oilers trade Grant Fuhr, Glenn Anderson and Craig Berube to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Vincent Damphousse, Luke Richardson, Scott Thornton, Peter Ing and future considerations.
June 6, 1986
The Vancouver Canucks trade Cam Neely to the Boston Bruins for Barry Pederson.
November 7, 1988
The Toronto Maple Leafs trade Russ Courtnall to the Montreal Canadiens for John Kordic and a 6th round draft pick.
December 6, 1995
The Montreal Canadiens trade Patrick Roy and Mike Keane to the Colorado Avalanche for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko.
January 2, 1992
The Calgary Flames trade Doug Gilmour, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville, Jamie Macoun and Rick Wamsley to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Gary Leeman, Craig Berube, Alexander Godynyuk, Michel Petit and Jeff Reese.
March 6, 2000
The Boston Bruins trade Raymond Bourque and Dave Andreychuk to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Brian Rolston, Martin Grenier, Samuel Pahlsson and a first round pick, which turned out to be Martin Samuelsson.