Winnipeg Free Press


Worst trade in NHL history?

Happy Saturday, folks,

To hockey fans in this neck of the woods, it might be considered the worst trade in NHL history.

Worse than the Calgary Flames trading Brett Hull, along with Steve Bozek, to the St. Louis Blues for veterans Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley.

Worse than the Chicago Blackhawks sending Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to the Boston Bruins for Gilles Marotte, Pit Martin and Jack Norris (This one gets my top vote).

Worse than the Detroit Red Wings trading Marcel Dionne and Bart Crashley to the LA Kings for Terry Harper, Dan Maloney, and a second–round draft pick.

Worse than the Vancouver Canucks sending Cam Neely and a first-round draft pick, who later turned out to be Glen Wesley, to the Bruins for Barry Pederson.

And yes, even worse than the Edmonton Oilers shipping Wayne Gretzky, along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski, to the Kings in exchange for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first-round picks — who turned out to be two nobodies and Martin Rucinsky — and $15 million in cash.

Of course, the deal I’m leading up to is the one on Feb. 6, 1996, when the Winnipeg Jets shipped Teemu Selanne, along with Marc Chouinard and a fourth-round pick, to Anaheim in exchange for Oleg Tverdovsky, Chad Kilger and a third-round pick.

The Jets were mere months from moving to the Arizona desert to become the Coyotes, but it was still a dagger to the heart of the team’s loyal fans. The Finnish Flash was — and perhaps still is — the most popular player to ever don the Jets uniform.

Teemu, of course, went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Ducks, scoring 684 goals and adding 773 assists in a 1,451-game career that included a Stanley Cup championship in 2007.

Where the heck are you going with this, Steve?!

Well, I’m glad you asked.

In case you’ve missed it, as part of Mike McIntyre and I recording each episode of our Jetcetera podcast, we also do a little digging for a player to match up to the episode. For example, Episode 69 was the Alex Burmistrov episode due to the ex-Jet having worn that number when he went back to Russia and spent two seasons playing for Ak Bars Kazan.

In retrospect, as a couple of you suggested, perhaps it should have been the Glen January episode.

But we stuck with another ex-Jet for our latest episode, with No. 70 being the Tverdosky episode.

Oleg Tverdosky

Oleg Tverdosky

Oleg wore No. 20 during the uneventful — zero goals and eight assists — 31 games he played in Winnipeg before heading south, but he wore No. 70 for one season with Carolina in 2005-06. It turned out to be a lucky number: in that one season of wearing it, the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup. Tverdovsky also earned a ring on the 2003 Devils. He actually had a decent career, three times topping 50 points: twice with the Ducks, who he was traded back to at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for Travis Green and a 1999 first-round pick (Scott Kelman).

We also could have made it the Kevin Sawyer episode: later research by Mike revealed that the current Jets colour man on TSN broadcasts was the first NHL player to wear No. 70, in 2000 with the Coyotes.

Since then, six others have worn the number —  Braden Holtby and David Steckel of Washington, Greg Stewart of Montreal, Tim Thomas in Boston, Tverdovsky of Carolina and Jeremy Yablonski with St. Louis.

Best Bombers at No. 70 — Jeff Boyd and Mike Holmes, of course.

Well, that's a roundabout way to fill some space and to potentially lure you into listening to Episode 70, where Mike and I chat about the Seattle Kraken expansion draft; NHL free agency starting next week; the Winnipeg Goldeyes coming back home starting next month, and much much more.. 42 minutes of golden blah blah blah.

But tell me, what do you think was the worst trade in NHL history? What was the worst Jets trade of all time?

If Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff swings a deal in the next week or so, I know you hope it's not that one.

Have a great weekend, folks.

And as always, you can reach me by replying to this mailing or by sending me an email here.

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