With the trade deadline once again here, the Anaheim Ducks find themselves in unfamiliar territory. The team will be bonafide sellers for the second year in a row and already got the ball rolling by sending Ondrej Kase to the Boston Bruins last week. We’ll have to wait and see how that move turns out, but there are plenty of trades that haven’t worked out for Anaheim. Here are five trades that we’ve labelled as the worst of the worst.
5. Beauchemin for Gardiner and Lupul
Feb. 11, 2011 – Sent D Jake Gardiner, RW Joffrey Lupul and a 2013 conditional fourth-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for D Francois Beauchemin
This was the return of Francois Beauchemin to the team he won a Cup with in 2007. He had a brief two-year stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs after signing a three-year deal in 2009. The Ducks were close to the cap ceiling at the time and re-signing Beauchemin wasn’t a priority. He was 30 years old at the time of the trade and bringing him back to Anaheim certainly didn’t come cheap. The Ducks were looking to make a deep playoff push and bringing back a guy who had been there and done that in the past was a move that made sense.
Jake Gardiner was the Ducks’ first-round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, taking him 17th overall. He had yet to play a single game for the Ducks before his trade to Toronto – he had spent three seasons at the University of Wisconsin.
Joffrey Lupul had been productive in the past for the Ducks, but his second stint in Anaheim was marred by injuries including back surgery and career-threatening blood poisoning. He was looking for a fresh start and Toronto was willing to take a chance on him. Early dividends paid off for the Maple Leafs as Lupul put up 67 points in 66 games in his first full season in Toronto and earned a trip to the NHL All-Star Game. The fourth-round pick ended up being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks to bring Dave Bolland to Toronto.
This isn’t the worst deal ever and I’m sure the argument could be made that this deal worked out for both teams. However, the Ducks lost out on a productive young defenseman and saw Lupul have immediate success with his new team.
4. James Wisniewski for Rene Bourque and William Karlsson
March 2, 2015 – Sent RW Rene Bourque, C William Karlsson and a 2015 second-round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for D James Wisniewski and a 2015 third-round pick
This is one of those deals that took some time to feel the full ramifications. William Karlsson was in the midst of his rookie season with the Ducks and was starting to get adjusted to playing in North America. He and fellow Swede Rickard Rakell were both starting to compete for more minutes in the Ducks’ lineup.
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With Anaheim in need of some help on defense, it was clear that teams were asking for either Karlsson or Rakell. Ultimately, they decided to stick with Rickard Rakell and move William Karlsson. In return, they got James Wisniewski from the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was coming off a few successful seasons in Columbus and the Blue Jackets weren’t expecting to make a playoff push.
Also heading the other way was forward Rene Bourque, who the Ducks had acquired from the Montreal Canadiens for Bryan Allen earlier that season. Bourque had 8 points in 30 games before being sent to Columbus. The Ducks second-round pick turned into Kevin Stenlund, while the Blue Jackets’ third-round pick turned into Brent Gates.
As we mentioned before, the reason this trade is here isn’t because of what Karlsson did in Columbus. It’s because of what he became when he was acquired by the Vegas Golden Knights in the Expansion Draft. Since joining the Golden Knights, Karlsson has posted 171 points in 219 games played and has been a regular in the top-six forward group. As for James Wisniewski, he played 13 regular-season games for the Ducks and didn’t feature at all in their playoff run. He was traded at the draft to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Not quite the impact Anaheim was hoping for.
3. Ryan Whitney for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi
Feb. 26, 2009 – Sent LW Chris Kunitz and LW Eric Tangradi to the Pittsburgh Penguins for D Ryan Whitney
Trading a fan favorite is always tough. Just ask Ducks fans about the Kase trade to Boston. Chris Kunitz was a fan favorite among Ducks fans. When you’re an undrafted player and you produce at the level he did, it was hard to not like him. He posted 192 points in 313 games for Anaheim, including a 60-point season in the Ducks’ 2007 Stanley Cup run. Not only that, Kunitz broke Paul Kariya’s record for the most points by a rookie in franchise history with 41 in 2005-06. He was also named alternate captain after the Stanley Cup victory in 2007. All signs were pointing towards Kunitz being a part of the Ducks’ future for a long time.
Enter Ryan Whitney.
The Ducks were looking for some help on defense and Whitney was having a very productive start to his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had 150 points in 253 games played before being traded to Anaheim. He missed some time during the 2008-09 season due to a foot injury and featured in 20 games for the Ducks, posting 10 points. He would only last 62 games in the 2009-10 season before being dealt to the Edmonton Oilers for Lubomir Visnovsky.
Eric Tangradi would spend the rest of his career bouncing between the NHL and AHL for several teams. He now finds himself playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins. The most painful part of all of this was watching Kunitz win three Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh. Oh, what could have been.
2. Doug Weight and Michal Birner for Andy MacDonald
Dec. 14, 2007 – Sent C Andy McDonald to the St. Louis Blues for C Doug Weight, LW Michal Birner and a 2008 seventh-round pick
Speaking of fan favorites, Andy McDonald was beloved by Ducks fans for his work ethic and his production on the ice. Just like Kunitz, he was also an undrafted free agent signing by the Ducks. Rarely do you hit on one of those players, but Anaheim was able to do that twice in a relatively short period of time. Andy’s first few seasons were plagued by injuries and it wasn’t until 2003-04 that he played a full season, when he posted 30 points in 79 games played.
However, after the lockout in 2004-05, McDonald almost tripled his production posting 85 points in 82 games. He followed that up with 78 points in 2006-07 and was a major piece in the Ducks’ 2007 Stanley Cup run. As it is with any successful teams, the Ducks were struggling to find a way to pay their core pieces, in particular Scott Niedermayer. Therefore, McDonald was sent to the St. Louis Blues for Doug Weight and Michal Birner. He wouldn’t get near his totals from his final two seasons in Anaheim, but he was still a productive forward for the Blues.
What the Ducks got in return was nowhere near equal value. Doug Weight’s name carried more value than his on-ice production at that point in his career. It was safe to say his best days were well behind him from his time with the Edmonton Oilers. A former 100-point scorer and one of the best American players of all time, the Ducks were hoping to revive even a small piece of the Doug Weight of old. Unfortunately, he only put up 14 points in 38 games played and the Ducks didn’t re-sign him at the end of the season. Michal Birner was a former fourth-round pick by the Blues in 2004. He never played a game in the NHL and spent most of his career in Finland.
1. Jeff Friesen and Steve Shields for Teemu Selanne
March 5, 2001 – Sent RW Teemu Selanne to the San Jose Sharks for LW Jeff Friesen, G Steve Shields and a 2003 second-round pick
Did you really think there would be any other trade at this spot? The man who also tops the list for the Ducks’ top five trades in franchise history finds himself at the top of our list as well. Teemu Selanne was coming off a five-and-a-half-year run in Anaheim that saw him post 482 points in 394 games played. Those types of players rarely get traded, but Teemu was sent to the San Jose Sharks for Jeff Friesen, Steve Shields and a 2003 second-round pick. While still having two productive seasons in San Jose, he never got close to his production in Anaheim.
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He’d reunite with Kariya in Colorado in 2003-04, but struggled to put together a good season. The thought was that Selanne’s career was on the downturn and that maybe his best days were behind him, but Teemu returned to the Ducks in 2005-06 after the lockout and the rest is history.
As for the return, Friesen was a consistent 20-goal scorer and 60-point producer with San Jose before being dealt to Anaheim. He failed to get close to that with the Ducks, posting 17 goals and 43 points in one full season with the team. He was later dealt to the New Jersey Devils in the deal that brought Petr Sykora to Anaheim. Steve Shields spent one unimpressive season in Anaheim. He posted a 9-20-2 record with a 2.67 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.
He spent the next three years with three different teams, with his last stint in the NHL coming with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2005-06. The draft pick may actually be the saving grace for most of you in this trade. Although the Ducks never used the second-round pick, they dealt it to the Dallas Stars along with their own second-round pick for Dallas’ first-round pick, which turned out to be Corey Perry.
There you have it. The top five worst trades in Anaheim Ducks history. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and if there are any trades you feel deserve to be on this list!
Fan of the Anaheim Ducks for my whole life. I’m a die hard fan living in London, Ontario. Excited to be writing about the team I love. Talking all things Ducks on the Forever Mighty Podcast!