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Gretzky's Worth in 1995-96?

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04-07-2013, 03:08 PM
  #1
Shootmaster_44
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Gretzky's Worth in 1995-96?

So there have been tons of articles, threads, books etc. about the trade that sent Wayne Gretzky to LA in 1988. However, very little discussion is done toward his trade to St. Louis. I was reading the new Sportsnet Magazine and it was talking about the trade and how it was basically a meaningless trade for both sides. The Blues essentially rented Gretzky for the remainder of the 1995-96 season and the Kings ended up getting nothing of value in return other than a 1st rounder in 1997 (which of course they squandered).

So what I am curious about is was Gretzky worth so little by then? I realize that some of this is the ineptitude of Kings management. Looking at his stats he had 81 points through 62 games for the Kings that year. In looking at the Blues roster there were plenty of players that were worth more than Tardif, Johnson and Vopat. Granted, I didn't follow the Blues at the time (nor do I really now either), were these three highly touted prospects who just didn't pan out?

I remember reading the Rangers also tried to trade for him then. Does anyone know what they offered? I'm assuming that the potential deal also included Jari Kurri and Marty McSorley as the Rangers traded for them right away. I'm assuming the deal would have seen the same as the Kurri/McSorley deal with a few added pieces for Gretzky.

Were there others that were in the running? I realize the Kings treated Gretzky well and all and likely let him set the potential homes, but I don't believe he had a NTC in his contract. So really the Kings could have traded him to whomever offered them the best deal.

I also wonder if the Kings had gotten a super good deal for Gretzky (and the pieces they traded afterward) and suddenly looked poised to be a contender, whether Gretzky would have signed with the Kings as a free agent in the following summer? With the whole demand to be traded seeming to be uncharacteristic for him, you'd almost wonder whether he realized the only piece the Kings had of great value was himself. Thus to be a contender he demands a trade to get some valuable pieces back and knowing he was a UFA following the season, he could sign with LA now with the pieces the Kings received for him. Of course, we all know how it really panned out for all parties concerned, but I almost wonder if this was orchestrated this way?

The one thing that this whole time period in Kings' history seems to indicate is that despite everyone saying Gretzky did not control player moves, the fact that nearly the second he was out the door, his buddies were traded says otherwise. Kurri and McSorley were only in LA because Gretzky wanted them there it would seem. I wonder whether Kurri would have been traded much earlier had Gretzky not been a good friend?

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04-07-2013, 03:33 PM
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Hobnobs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shootmaster_44 View Post
So there have been tons of articles, threads, books etc. about the trade that sent Wayne Gretzky to LA in 1988. However, very little discussion is done toward his trade to St. Louis. I was reading the new Sportsnet Magazine and it was talking about the trade and how it was basically a meaningless trade for both sides. The Blues essentially rented Gretzky for the remainder of the 1995-96 season and the Kings ended up getting nothing of value in return other than a 1st rounder in 1997 (which of course they squandered).

So what I am curious about is was Gretzky worth so little by then? I realize that some of this is the ineptitude of Kings management. Looking at his stats he had 81 points through 62 games for the Kings that year. In looking at the Blues roster there were plenty of players that were worth more than Tardif, Johnson and Vopat. Granted, I didn't follow the Blues at the time (nor do I really now either), were these three highly touted prospects who just didn't pan out?

I remember reading the Rangers also tried to trade for him then. Does anyone know what they offered? I'm assuming that the potential deal also included Jari Kurri and Marty McSorley as the Rangers traded for them right away. I'm assuming the deal would have seen the same as the Kurri/McSorley deal with a few added pieces for Gretzky.

Were there others that were in the running? I realize the Kings treated Gretzky well and all and likely let him set the potential homes, but I don't believe he had a NTC in his contract. So really the Kings could have traded him to whomever offered them the best deal.

I also wonder if the Kings had gotten a super good deal for Gretzky (and the pieces they traded afterward) and suddenly looked poised to be a contender, whether Gretzky would have signed with the Kings as a free agent in the following summer? With the whole demand to be traded seeming to be uncharacteristic for him, you'd almost wonder whether he realized the only piece the Kings had of great value was himself. Thus to be a contender he demands a trade to get some valuable pieces back and knowing he was a UFA following the season, he could sign with LA now with the pieces the Kings received for him. Of course, we all know how it really panned out for all parties concerned, but I almost wonder if this was orchestrated this way?

The one thing that this whole time period in Kings' history seems to indicate is that despite everyone saying Gretzky did not control player moves, the fact that nearly the second he was out the door, his buddies were traded says otherwise. Kurri and McSorley were only in LA because Gretzky wanted them there it would seem. I wonder whether Kurri would have been traded much earlier had Gretzky not been a good friend?
The Gretzky to the Rangers deal was separate from the Kurri deal. The Rangers and Kings negotiations failed and the blues resumed their pursue of Gretzky.

Gretzkys value was lowered because he was forcing Kings into trading him, they had no choice. They even gave him a great contract offer but it wasnt enough for Mr. Gretzky.

Vopat was the only highly touted prospect iirc so it made little sense. I think Kings paniced when talks failed with the Rangers and they pulled the trigger to early and wasted an oppurtunity. thats why they lost the trade.

Blues lost the trade because of Keenan.

There was only two rumoured players in the Rangers bid iirc. Robitaille and Ferraro.

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04-10-2013, 04:24 PM
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Big Phil
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He was going to be a free agent at the end of this year. You look at what Iginla went to Pittsburgh for and you can understand why even Gretzky didn't get a lot for him in 1996.

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04-10-2013, 04:27 PM
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He was going to be a free agent at the end of this year. You look at what Iginla went to Pittsburgh for and you can understand why even Gretzky didn't get a lot for him in 1996.
Exactly. Even elite players don't net big returns when they're only expected to play ~15 games plus playoffs..

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04-10-2013, 04:46 PM
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Ziggy Stardust
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Oddly enough, the Kings' rebuild didn't take too long as they were back in the playoffs in '97, whereas Gretzky made the playoffs just once with the Rangers, and that was in his first season with the team. As great as he was, and as productive as he still was at the time, Gretzky's skills were diminishing. The Kings had a depreciating asset and they didn't have very many options when the time came to move him.

The entire package consisted of Craig Johnson, Patrice Tardif, Roman Vopat, St. Louis' 5th round choice (Peter Hogan) in 1996 Entry Draft and St. Louis' 1st round choice (Matt Zultek) in 1997 Entry Draft.

The trade talks with the Rangers apparently fell apart after they failed to agree to an extension with Gretzky while they were negotiating a trade with the Kings. You can read about those details in this NY Times article:
http://www.nytimes.com/1996/02/28/sp...-to-blues.html

Gretzky was also getting some bad press at the time due to his demands, as he had asked the new Kings owners, Anschutz and Roski, to either acquire talent for him to play with, or to trade him. The Kings decided to go in a different direction which Gretzky wanted no part of, and so that should explain why he was dealt for such a minuscule return.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...ne/MAG1007819/

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04-10-2013, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post
Oddly enough, the Kings' rebuild didn't take too long as they were back in the playoffs in '97, whereas Gretzky made the playoffs just once with the Rangers, and that was in his first season with the team. As great as he was, and as productive as he still was at the time, Gretzky's skills were diminishing. The Kings had a depreciating asset and they didn't have very many options when the time came to move him.

The entire package consisted of Craig Johnson, Patrice Tardif, Roman Vopat, St. Louis' 5th round choice (Peter Hogan) in 1996 Entry Draft and St. Louis' 1st round choice (Matt Zultek) in 1997 Entry Draft.

The trade talks with the Rangers apparently fell apart after they failed to agree to an extension with Gretzky while they were negotiating a trade with the Kings. You can read about those details in this NY Times article:
http://www.nytimes.com/1996/02/28/sp...-to-blues.html

Gretzky was also getting some bad press at the time due to his demands, as he had asked the new Kings owners, Anschutz and Roski, to either acquire talent for him to play with, or to trade him. The Kings decided to go in a different direction which Gretzky wanted no part of, and so that should explain why he was dealt for such a minuscule return.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...ne/MAG1007819/
Kings made it 1998, and missed it the other two years of Gretzky's Rangers run.

The Rangers were right not to pay Messier what Vancouver was willing to pay, but things fell apart when they didn't get Joe Sakic. (Sure they kept the 5 1st rounders, but as per usual, the Rangers drafted no one of note.)

Pat Lafontaine was okay, but not great. Once he was injured the Rangers were done. They were 5 points back of Ottawa for 8th, and were actually in the middle of beating them when he was hurt. They went 1-10-1 over the next 12 games before winning the last two.

That Gretzky had points:team goals ratio was best in the NHL is partially due to his point total being 3rd in the NHL, but also had a lot to do with a lack of NYR secondary scoring.

Also, Brian Leetch fell off a cliff between 1997 and 1998, and I don't know why. He was still a great PP quarterback, but everything else seemed to fade overnight.

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04-11-2013, 02:53 PM
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He wasn't worth much without an extension.

Youtube has a couple full games with him playing for the blues. You'll see he was still running things when he was on the ice and the game was still played his way when he was on the ice. However, the days of going anywhere near trouble along the boards were long gone. Lots of mileage on that engine by that time.

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04-12-2013, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by blogofmike View Post
Kings made it 1998, and missed it the other two years of Gretzky's Rangers run.

The Rangers were right not to pay Messier what Vancouver was willing to pay, but things fell apart when they didn't get Joe Sakic. (Sure they kept the 5 1st rounders, but as per usual, the Rangers drafted no one of note.)

Pat Lafontaine was okay, but not great. Once he was injured the Rangers were done. They were 5 points back of Ottawa for 8th, and were actually in the middle of beating them when he was hurt. They went 1-10-1 over the next 12 games before winning the last two.

That Gretzky had points:team goals ratio was best in the NHL is partially due to his point total being 3rd in the NHL, but also had a lot to do with a lack of NYR secondary scoring.

Also, Brian Leetch fell off a cliff between 1997 and 1998, and I don't know why. He was still a great PP quarterback, but everything else seemed to fade overnight.
The Rangers gave Leetch the C and it just didn't take. I think the pressure of being captain of the NY Rangers was just too much for him. He was better as the quiet support staff to Messier

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04-12-2013, 02:53 PM
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I think Leetchs wrist injury, sustained in the 97 playoffs, was more of an issue in 97-98 than the C was.

As to Gretzky, all I remember is how unhappy with ownership and management he was. The trade return is very typical for elite rentals. And people have to remember that Gretzky was "ordinary" elite by then, rather than in the stratosphere.

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04-13-2013, 11:12 AM
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I remember Gretzky being the subject of many a trade rumour back in 1996. Also while was a rental and had lost a step you would think he would have got a lot more back than what he did.

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04-15-2013, 01:04 AM
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Ziggy Stardust
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There are a couple of videos before and after the trade that focus on Gretzky's desire to play for a contender that has a legit shot at a Cup.




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