Another NHL trade deadline has come and gone. And every year teams make deals that can either make or break their playoff run or their future down the line. It’s a risk that has few rewards but mostly disappointments. When the NHL came back after losing the 04-05 season, they implemented a salary cap that would change the way GMs did moves with one another. Here are some of the worst deadline deals that you can't help but look back on and shake your head.
Ryan Miller; 2014
Ryan Miller was a good net-minder that never was able to get to the Finals. He came close in '06 and '07 with Buffalo but that was about it. St. Louis was a team to look out for in the Western Conference. They had all the pieces they needed but needed stability in net. St. Louis acquired Ryan Miller from Buffalo on the deadline in 2014. It looks like the Blues could be the favourite out of the West but Miller’s tenure wasn’t anything special. He won 10 of his 19 starts to close out the season and got eliminated in 6 games against the Hawks in the first round. Miller would leave St. Louis in the off-season to sign with the Canucks.
Craig Rivet: 2007
Looking back at this deal it’s hard not to squirm if you're a Sharks fan. In 2007, the Sharks were a Stanley Cup contending team. With Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov, it seemed the Sharks would devour the competition. Doug Wilson decided to make some trades that day that would hurt the Sharks in the long run. With one or their first round picks being dealt already for an aging Bill Guerin. GM Wilson thought it would be better to trade another first round pick to Montreal for Craig Rivet. The Habs would use that first round pick to select future 40 goal scorer Max Pacioretty, and we’ll the Sharks got bounced in the semi-finals against the Red Wings. Rivet. would play one full season in San Jose before going to Buffalo.
Martin Erat: 2013
Martin Erat was a four-time 20 goal scorer with the Nashville Predators. He was a decent second line player on a team that was known for their defence. In 2013, Erat would get traded to the Washington Capitals. You would think automatically Erat would score more goals and be a factor on the Caps. Sorry but that wasn’t the case. Erat’s tenure with the Caps went downhill and his scoring touch couldn’t recover. In 63 games with Washington, he only mustered two goals. By the way, the Predators got a first round pick in the deal which they selected Filip Forsberg. Yikes.
Brad Richards: 2008
Brad Richards was a huge contributor to the Lightning’s success. He won the Conn Smythe trophy in 2004 while helping guide Tampa Bay to their only Stanley Cup. He also won the Lady Byng that same season. In 2008 Dallas was in need of a high-end player. So they acquired Brad Richards despite financial problems going on with the franchise. It was a fresh of breath air for Richards and the Stars. A conference final appearance and a 91 point season during his time in the Big D. Tampa didn’t get too much in this deal. They got goaltender Mike Smith, forwards Jeff Halpern and Jussi Jokinen, as well as a fourth-round pick. Smith showed promise with Tampa but his injuries hurt any momentum for the Lightning in this trade.
Ben Bishop: 2013
Washington weren’t the only team making a mistake on the trade deadline in 2013. The Senators had three solid goalies in their crease. It’s a problem a lot of teams wish they had. That being said Ben Bishop was the odd man out after Ottawa decided Craig Anderson was their number one goalie while keeping third string Robin Lehner. After showing some promise the Lightning would acquire the 6 foot 7 goalie from Ottawa. It was a head scratching move from the start and kick start a fantastic tenure Bishop had in Tampa. In almost 5 seasons with the Bolts, Bishop had a record of 131-64-20 with a G.A.A of 228. His injuries and Tampa not willing to give Bishop a big contract lead to him being dealt to the Kings. Nonetheless those stats are pretty impressive. The Sens would get rookie player Cory Conacher, who only tallied 25 points in 79 games with the team and a fourth a round pick which became Tobias Lindberg. Lindberg never made It to the big club.
Andrew Ladd: 2016
Andrew Ladd played a small part for the Blackhawks during their 2010 Stanley Cup Championship season. After signing with the Thrashers/Jets that off-season. Ladd played a bigger role with the club. He was named the teams first captain when the Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg. Ladd would register a solid 305 points in over 400+ games with the team. The Blackhawks thought they could revive the magic by bringing Ladd back to the windy city. This time though it didn’t pan out. Ladd would put up good numbers in the regular season but in the playoffs he was non-existent. Just 2 points in 7 games and a minus one to cap off a disappointing playoff run. Ladd would go to the Islanders in the off-season.
Marian Hossa: 2008
Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk were one of the best duos in hockey for a few seasons. They help lead the Thrashers to their only playoff appearance in 2007. Winning the southwest division. Hossa would put up 92 points in 05'-06' and 100 points in 06'-07' with the Thrashers respectively. Despite playing at a high level not much can be said about the Thrashers. Atlanta couldn't live up to the high expectations and Hossa was sent to Pittsburgh. Atlanta would suffer as the return for Hossa was terrible. Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a first round pick (Daultan Leveille). None of those players panned out. Angelo Esposito, who many had high hopes for, never flourished like many thought they would. Hossa would go on to win 3 Stanley Cup and is a future hall-of-famer. Just Brutal.
Ilya Kovalhcuk: 2010
Ilya Kovalchuk was the face of the Atlanta Thrashers. No player suffered more playing in Atlanta than Kovalchuk. Being one of the best players in his era, the team didn’t accomplished much. What’s so crazy thing about this trade is it set both franchises back. The Thrashers relocated and became the Winnipeg Jets a season and a half later. Atlanta got a decent D-man in Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, prospect Patrice Cormier and a 2010 first round pick. Oduya is the only player in this trade that is still playing in the NHL. Cormier has spent most of his career in the AHL and Bergfors was out of the league by 2013. Kovalchuk enjoyed some success with the Devils, including a Stanley Cup run to the finals in 2012 against the Kings. Kovalchuk and Parise were a good one-two scoring punch for the Devils. But despite signing a massive 17 year 102 million dollar deal with New Jersey in 2010, Illya Kovalchuk would leave the NHL after the 12-13 lockout shortened season to play in Russia. The Devils would flounder losing Parise to free agency and Martin Brodeur to retirement. It took 8 years but both teams have seemed to recover for the trade.
Peter Forsberg: 2007
The Nashville Predators made a big splash at the 2007 trade deadline. At this point they were one of the best teams in the West. They wanted to make some noise in the playoffs. So they acquired Future Hall-of-Famer Peter Forsberg from the Flyers. The Preds looked to turn some heads getting a two time Stanley Cup winner and former Hart trophy winner. Though despite playing great in Nashville, the Preds were no match against the Sharks, bowing out in 5 games. Forsberg went back to Colorado that offseason. The Flyers got Scottie Upshall who is still playing today with the St. Louis but has never scored 20 or more goals in a season. David Parent who was a former first round pick only played 106 games. The first and third round picks didn’t amass to anything. Looking back at this deal the Flyers could have gotten much more for Forsberg.
James Neal: 2011
This trade is still a head scratcher to this day. Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk made a bad trade. Maybe bad isn’t the right word but it definitely wasn’t good. In 2011, the Stars traded away one of their best scorers James Neal, a solid defenceman in Matt Niskanen for another defenceman Alex Goligoski. James Neal would have a career year in 2012 with 40 goals and 81 points alongside Sidney Crosby. Niskanen would also set a career high with 46 points in 2014 with Pittsburgh. Goligoski would play good for Dallas and became a top end defenceman for the team. Though trading away 2 good players for a decent player still isn’t a good idea.