Big NHL trades that almost happened
These fans wonder aloud the following sayings: “Who’s leaving us? or Who are we getting?” Hence all the hoopla surrounding trade deadline day.
Do you ever wonder about trades that were supposed to go down but never did? Do you picture that your team’s general manager is ready to make a move but when it comes down to it, he walks away from it?
Here are five trades or signings over the past few decades that were close to happening but never did come to fruition.
New York Rangers almost acquire rookie Eric Lindros
Every hockey fan knows the saga that was Eric Lindros right after he was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques.
Lindros made it perfectly clear that he was never going to play for the Nordiques and that he wanted to suit up elsewhere. Even though that was the case, the Nordiques tried to sign Lindros to a 10-year deal worth a reported $50 million.
According to Greatest Hockey Legends.com, Lindros responded with this: “If they offered me $100 million, I would not play for them.”
As such, the Nordiques were doing what they could to deal the prized No.1 pick of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. As it turned out, general manager Neil Smith of the New York Rangers and Nordiques general manager Pierre Page had come up with a deal to make that happen.
The Blueshirts would give up goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, talented young forward Tony Amonte, (who was a Calder Trophy runner-up the season prior, to Vancouver Canucks forward Pavel Bure), young forward Doug Weight, prized prospect Alexei Kovalev, as well as cash and draft picks.
The deal that was proposed in the off-season of 1992 never went through. If it did, however, it certainly would have been a trade of blockbuster proportions.
Ironically, Lindros would become a Ranger later in his career, from the 2001-02 season through the 2003-04 season. However, it was obvious that Lindros was not the player that he once was with the Philadelphia Flyers for eight years of his career.
Pat LaFontaine a Red Wing?
Back in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, the Detroit Red Wings were an NHL franchise to be reckoned with.
The team had won seven Stanley Cups between 1936 and 1955 and had benefitted from several elite players, strong leaders, and winning coaches, some of whom would end up being Hall of Famers when all was said and done.
However, entering the 1983-84 season, the Red Wings had lost their luster. They were not exactly a winning franchise, and the team and its fans knew it.
New team owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Jimmy Devellano had the opportunity to take homegrown Little Caesars hockey talent Pat LaFontaine with the fourth overall pick in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.
As it turned out, Devellano’s former employer, the New York Islanders, ended up snatching LaFontaine with the third pick, which the Isles acquired from the now-defunct Colorado Rockies.
The Wings would not go away empty-handed, however. They ended up taking some guy named Steve Yzerman.