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04-15-2013, 04:12 PM
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flyin_finn
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Tell your alternative history of trades that changed the NHL?

The idea from this topic came to me from another thread where someone asked what would have happened if Red Wings picked Jagr instead of Primeau?

Draft picks are always hard to speculate afterwards, but for some of the major trades which changed the NHL there was real possibility they had ended up differently.

Two most well-known examples:

1 - The Gretzky trade

When Gretzky was leaving Edmonton, he had narrowed down his options to two teams: Detroit and LA. Another team that was interested getting Gretzky at the time was NY Rangers, although that trade would have been much more unlikely than the one to Detroit.

Everyone knows how that ended but what would have been the alternative history if Gretzky got traded to Red Wings?

Growing up as Howe as his idol, playing for the same team as he had intrigued Gretzky.

Also, Sather was already interest in two players in Red Wings' roster: Joe Murphy and Adam Graves. They would have been part of the package, including draft picks, cash and possibly players like Adam Oates and Bob Probert.

In the end Gretzky's trade was part of the deal that got Oilers Graves and Murphy. The two with Petr Klima and Jeff Sharples got traded for Jimmy Carson. When they won their last Cup in 1990, Graves and Murphy were part of the so-called "kid line" with Martin Gelinas, also acquired via the Gretzky trade.

Petr Klima in turn scored the winning OT goal in the longest running Stanley Cup final game to that date, giving Oilers 1-0 lead in the series.

Alternative scenario:

Red Wings would have not missed the playoffs in 1989 with Gretzky in the team. They would have won the SC much earlier in the 90's than they since did and Gretzky had retired with couple of more Cups in his list of honors - something he never did since leaving Oilers.

McNall's Kings would have went for some other high-profile player, but the impact on hockey's popularity in Pacific area wouldn't never been the same. Would their new, Raiders-inspired silver & black image worked out with anyone but Gretzky and bunch of guys like McSorley, Krushelnysky and Miller in the team?

My opinion is that only thing that Kings would share with Raiders without the Gretzky deal is the team relocated in Oakland.

2 - The Lindros trade

Lindros ending up to NY Rangers earlier than in the twilight of his career was even more close than Gretzky ending up to Detroit.

On June 21, 1992 Lindros was traded to both Flyers and Rangers. An arbitrator (Larry Bertuzzi) was named to decide between the two teams.

Rangers' package for Lindros was reported to consist of John Vanbiesbrouck, Tony Amonte, Doug Weight, Alex Kovalev, $12 million and first round picks in 1993, 1994 and 1996. If Vanbiesbrouck was determined to be an UFA, James Patrick would have took his place.

What was also giving Rangers a slight edge over Flyers was that Lindros had been always an fan of Mark Messier who at the time was with the team.

The arbitrator decided that Flyers and Nordiques had agreed on the deal 80 minutes prior Rangers and Lindros ended up in Philadelphia. Furthermore, Rangers had the deal on paper three weeks prior Flyers even started the negotiations but Paramount, the parent company behind them, was delaying the trade due finances.

In retrospective all teams can look back with little regret.

Flyers got their high-profile player who won a Hart with the team, although his career suffered from injuries of which many can be attributed to his style of play.

For Rangers, Doug Weight was the player Rangers moved to Oilers for Esa Tikkanen who was part of the supporting cast that helped them to win the Cup. Similarly Amonte - part of the Nordiques deal - was later traded to Blackhawks for Brian Noonan and Stepane Matteau (who scored the critical OT goal in conference finals against Devils).

Nordiques became later on Avalanche and major part of their first Cup win can be attributed to the players acquired from the trade with Flyers.

Alternative scenario:

Ironically, the biggest winner in the Lindros trade would have became the greatest loser if he ended up to Rangers.

Amonte would have refused to move to the Nordiques, who would then trade him for less than his value was. Vanbiensbrouck would have wanted to settle his UFA status, forcing Patrick to move to Quebec. Alex Kovalev and Doug Weight would have been good players with Nordiques, but not leader like Forsberg was or added the depth which Ricci did.

Rangers would have been equally as good as they were in the early to mid-90's or even better. Flyers would have had solid foundation to build their success on with Duchesne, Ricci, Hextall and Forsberg. No-one had missed Kerry Huffman.

I am done with mine, tell me yours.

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