National Hockey League fans who love blockbuster trades have had plenty to be happy about on June 29 over the years. There was an action-packed day in 2016 and two Hall of Famers were traded to their hometowns in 1990.
A Crazy 23 Minutes
The news couldn’t break fast enough on June 29, 2016, during one of the craziest 23 minutes in recent league history. The craziest started when the New Jersey Devils acquired Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Adam Larsson.
Hall won the Hart Trophy, for being voted as the NHL’s most valuable player, in his second season with Devils. He scored a career-high 39 goals and 93 points to help the Devils reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2012. He was traded to the Arizona Coyotes this past December.
Before the dust settled on this deal, 20 minutes later, the Nashville Predators traded long-time captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens for P.K. Subban. The Predators and Subban made it to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, but he was eventually traded to the Devils following the 2018-19 season. Weber, when healthy, has been a been factor on the Canadiens’ blue line.
The hits kept coming, three minutes later, when Steven Stamkos decided to re-sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning. This put an end to a year’s worth of speculation of where the pending unrestricted free agent would end up. Many felt he would return home and play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but, in the end, he never hit the free-agent market.
Another Big Trade for Canadiens
Subban wasn’t the only Norris Trophy-winning defenseman the Canadiens traded away on this date. On June 29, 1990, they dealt Chris Chelios to the Chicago Blackhawks for Denis Savard, in a one-for-one swap of future Hall of Famers.
Savard, who had five 100-point seasons with the Blackhawks, never scored more than 70 points in his three seasons with the Canadiens. He was part of the 1993 Stanley Cup championship team, where he had fives assists in 14 playoff games. He signed as a free agent with the Lightning in the summer of 1993, before being traded back to Chicago in 1995.
Meanwhile, Chelios became a hockey legend in his hometown of Chicago. He played in 664 games for the Blackhawks, scoring 92 goals and 487 points to go along with a plus-120 rating. He won the Norris Trophy, for being the top defenseman in the league, in 1993 and 1996 and helped the Blackhawks reach the 1992 Stanley Cup Final. Chelios remained with the team until he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings in March of 1999.
Odds & Ends
On June 29, 1967, the expansion St. Louis Blues hired former star defenseman Doug Harvey as the head coach of the Kansas City Blues, their minor-league affiliate in the Central Hockey League (CHL). Harvey later came out of retirement to play for the Blues during the 1968 postseason and played the full 1968-69 season at the age of 44.
Did You Know? Doug Harvey is the only defenseman in NHL history to play a game in the #StanleyCup Final at age 42 or older.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 26, 2019
Harvey was 43 when he skated for the Blues in the 1968 Final vs. MTL. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/lWp144yxRj
The Red Wings named Doug Barkley as their new head coach on June 29, 1975. He replaced Alex Delvecchio, who gave up his coaching duties to focus on being the team’s general manager. However, he was back behind the bench after he fired Barkley just 26 games into the 1975-76 season.
Speaking of the Red Wings, they acquired goaltender Mike Vernon, on June 29, 1994, from the Flames for defenseman Chiasson. Vernon spent three seasons in Detroit and led them to the Stanley Cup in 1997, their first championship since 1955.
On June 29, 2001, the Philadelphia Flyers announced that they had reached an agreement to sign free agent Jeremy Roenick, who had been with the Phoenix Coyotes. Roenick officially signed three days later. He would play in 216 games over three seasons with the Flyers, scoring 67 goals and 173 points.
The Washington Capitals named Todd Reirden as their new head coach on June 29, 2018. He took over for Barry Trotz, who resigned as head coach just 11 days after the Capitals won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Reirden becomes the first head coach to take over the defending Stanly Cup champions since 2002 when Dave Lewis replaced Scotty Bowman in Detroit after he retired.
Happy Birthday to You
Theoren Fleury was born on June 29, 1968. He slipped all the way to the eighth round of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft because of his small size. He made his NHL debut midway through the 1988-89 season and became a key part of the Calgary Flames’ Stanley Cup championship. He finished his 15-season career with 455 goals and 1,088 points in 1,084 games for the Flames, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and Blackhawks.
Former defenseman and head coach Craig Hartsburg was born on June 29, 1959. He played 570 games for the Minnesota North Stars after they drafted him sixth overall at the 1979 NHL Entry Draft.
He received a great gift for his 36th birthday, on June 29, 1995, when the Blackhawks named him the 30th head coach in team history, replacing Darryl Sutter, who had resigned a month earlier. He lasted three seasons behind the bench before he was replaced by Dirk Graham exactly three years later, on his 39th birthday.
Other players celebrating a birthday today include Rick Smith (72), Brian Lawton (55) and Mile Sillinger (49).