The 2013-2014 season will represent 20 years in the NHL for the Anaheim Ducks franchise. During that span, the team has undergone a dramatic transformation. In the first years of its existence, the team struggled to compete with a cast of players from the expansion draft. While solid drafting and player development played a big part in the turnaround, the organization has benefitted greatly from a number of trades. Not all of the trades have turned out well for Anaheim, but these five trades represent big victories for the Ducks.
5. November 2000 – Sent D Patrick Traverse and RW Andrei Nazarov to the Boston Bruins for C Samuel Pahlsson
This trade seemed rather insignificant at the time. Nazarov was nothing more than an enforcer, sparingly seeing the ice on the fourth line. Traverse was a bottom pairing defenseman, who played a decent game, but nothing spectacular. Samuel Pahlsson had been traded to Boston as part of the Raymond Bourque deal, and less than a year later, he was being dealt again, this time to Anaheim. At the time, Pahlsson was 23, not a superstar prospect by any means, but young enough that he could still develop into a contributor. In the following eight seasons, Pahlsson would become a staple in the Ducks lineup. He played key roles on both the 2003 and 2007 squads that went to the Stanley Cup Finals. In 2003, he centered the dynamic third line that coach Mike Babcock leaned on for both offensive and defensive contributions in all situations. By 2007, his role had become far more specialized, anchoring down the centerman’s position for Anaheim’s shutdown fourth line. Considering the valuable minutes he played and the lack of production that Traverse and Nazarov had after departing, Pahlsson proved to be far more than the Ducks could have hoped for when they dealt for him.
4. June 2000 – Sent a second round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft to Calgary for G Jean-Sebastian Giguere
After spending his first five years in the Calgary Flames organization, Jean-Sebastian Giguere was traded to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for a second round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Giguere was the 13th overall pick in the 1995 draft, representing a great deal of potential. Craig Button, the new GM for the Calgary Flames at the time, started off his tenure by moving Giguere. He then continued his wheeling and dealing by moving the second round pick, acquired for Giguere, to Washington. Washington would end up selecting forward Matt Pettinger with the pick, number 48 overall. Pettinger would spend part of the next decade playing in the NHL for the Capitals, the Lightning, and the Canucks. In comparison, Giguere became the Ducks starting goalie in 2001 and never looked back. He led them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003, and then a Stanley Cup Championship in 2007. After 2007, he began to concede playing time to Ilya Bryzgalov, before eventually being traded to Toronto in 2010. In hindsight, the second round pick was a small price to pay for what would eventually become the greatest goaltender in franchise history.
3. June 2009 – Traded D Chris Pronger to the Philadelphia Flyers for RW Joffrey Lupul, D Luca Sbisa, a first round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, a first round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and a conditional third round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft
The Ducks were two years removed from the Stanley Cup and Chris Pronger was entering the last year of his deal. Bob Murray was in his first offseason as Anaheim’s general manager. He made the decision to move Pronger, looking to set up the Ducks for the future, while also acquiring something for Pronger before he had the opportunity to leave the following summer. In return for Pronger, the Ducks got a number of assets that they could build with as they moved forward. First, in Joffrey Lupul, they received a young scoring forward that was signed for four years at a manageable cap hit. Due in part to injuries, Lupul never quite panned out in Anaheim the second time around, and was later moved to Toronto in the deal that would bring Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim. At the time, Luca Sbisa was a 19 year old defensive prospect with high offensive upside. Over the last four years, Sbisa has developed into a top-4 defenseman for the Ducks, averaging almost 20 minutes of ice-time per game last season. After trading the 2009 first round pick to Columbus for a first and a second round pick in the same draft, the Ducks ended up drafting RW Kyle Palmieri (26th overall) and D Mat Clark (37th overall). In the 2010 draft, with the Flyers pick, the Ducks drafted California native, RW Emerson Etem (29th overall). The Ducks did not receive the conditional third round pick as the Flyers did not win the Stanley Cup in 2010 or 2011. Four years later, Etem, Palmieri, and Sbisa are key players for the Ducks, and Mat Clark is still a prospect in the organization. In the immediate short-term, the Ducks missed the playoffs that season, but it helped the organization build a solid foundation for the future.
2. July 2006 – Sent RW Joffrey Lupul, D Ladislav Smid, a first and second round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and a conditional first round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft to the Edmonton Oilers for D Chris Pronger
While trading Pronger in 2009 helped set the Ducks up for the future, acquiring Pronger in 2006 helped secure the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Championship. The Ducks were coming off a trip to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the Edmonton Oilers in five games. The Ducks entered the summer of 2006 looking to add the missing piece that would put them over the edge in their quest for Stanley Cup. The price to acquire that piece was quite hefty. Joffrey Lupul was coming off a breakout season that saw him net 28 goals as a 22 year old. Ladislav Smid was a top ten pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, who would turn into a solid top four defenseman for the Oilers. The 2007 draft pick was used to trade up in the draft, where the Oilers would select Riley Nash (21st overall). The Riley Nash pick never panned out for Edmonton and his rights were eventually traded for a pick that resulted in Martin Marincin. With the Ducks winning the Cup in 2007, the Oilers also received the conditional first round pick in 2008, a pick that they used to select Jordan Eberle. Eberle is a key part of the Oilers team right now, making this deal a lot more bearable for Oilers fans. The Oilers also traded the second round pick that they received in this deal. Although the Ducks paid a high price for Chris Pronger, Pronger was the last piece of the puzzle. Pairing Chris Pronger with Scott Niedermayer gave the Ducks one of the greatest defensive pairings in the NHL, and that duo led the Ducks to the promised land.
1. February 1996 – Sent C Chad Kilger, D Oleg Tverdovsky, and a third round pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft to the Winnipeg Jets for RW Teemu Selanne, the rights to C Marc Chouinard, and a fourth round pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft
Prior to this trade, the Ducks had some good players up front in Paul Kariya and Steve Rucchin, but that was not enough to compete in the Western Conference. The acquisition of Teemu Selanne would not only make the Ducks contenders immediately, but it would make the organization competitive for years to come. Teemu Selanne helped lead the Ducks (then the Mighty Ducks) to their first playoff appearance and eventually helped them win their first Stanley Cup Championship. In his first three years with the Ducks, he scored more than 47 goals per season, eclipsing the century mark for points in two of the three years. As for the other pieces of this deal, Marc Chouinard would factor into the Ducks 2003 Stanley Cup run as part of the checking line. Later that season, the fourth round pick would be traded to Toronto for Ken Baumgartner. Although Baumgartner’s contributions would not show up on the stat sheet, he provided a level of physicality that helped balance out Anaheim’s lineup. To acquire Selanne, the Ducks sent their two most recent first round picks to Winnipeg. Chad Kilger would play a for the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise for a few years, totaling 6 goals and 7 assists before moving onto Chicago. He would eventually carve out a role as a third line center over a career that would span 12 years and six franchises. In the years following this trade, Oleg Tverdovsky would develop into a top two-way defenseman for the Phoenix Coyotes. With the third round pick, the Coyotes drafted Per-Anton Lundstrom, a Swedish defenseman that never made it to the NHL. This trade is one of the most lopsided deals in NHL history, and easily the best trade in franchise history.