The 2021 NHL Trade Deadline on April 12 at 3 p.m. ET is quickly approaching. There’s usually a frenzy of deals, as teams in playoff contention look to acquire players that will help put them over the top. In 2020, the Tampa Bay Lightning gave up first-round draft picks to acquire Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman, who provided grit and secondary scoring en route to a Stanley Cup victory.
On the other hand, teams outside the playoff bubble will try to sell pieces that are don’t fit into the team’s future. The Ottawa Senators sent pending unrestricted free agent Matt Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Vitaly Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, a 2019 first-round pick, and a 2020 conditional first-round pick (the 2020 pick was voided when Duchene did not re-sign with Columbus). The deal helped the Senators build for the future, while Columbus got a star centre who helped them dazzle their way to the franchise’s first playoff series victory.
Many trade deadline deals have had a positive impact on some teams while adversely affecting others. When the Pittsburgh Penguins traded Markus Naslund to the Vancouver Canucks for Alek Stojanov, Naslund went down in history as a Canucks’ franchise great whose jersey is retired in Rogers Arena while Stojanov only skated with the Penguins for 45 games.
The Los Angeles Kings have made some fantastic deals at the deadline but have blundered on others. Here are their best and worst ever.
The Best – Acquiring Jeff Carter (2012)
The Kings’ most successful deadline acquisition was Jeff Carter in 2012. Heading into the 2011-12 season, the Philadelphia Flyers had traded Carter to Columbus for Jakub Voracek, the 8th-overall pick in the 2011 Draft (Sean Couturier) and a third-round draft pick (Nick Cousins). However, after just 39 games, Columbus decided to trade Carter.
On Feb. 23, the Blue Jackets traded Carter to LA for Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round pick, which Columbus used in 2013 to draft Marko Dano. Although Columbus lost two trades involving Carter in a single season, the Kings gained a key piece.
In 2011-12, Carter posted nine points in 16 regular-season games with the Kings. In the 2012 Playoffs, he scored eight goals (tied for first on the team) and 13 points (sixth on the team) and played a pivotal role in the Kings’ first Stanley Cup victory. In the 2014 Playoffs, he was a beast, scoring 10 goals (second on LA) and 25 points (tied for second on the team) to help the Kings hoist their second Stanley Cup in three seasons.
With the Kings, Carter has scored 20-plus goals in five seasons and had a lone 30-goal season in 2016-17 (32 goals). He has scored 10 or more goals in all eight seasons in LA, and he is on pace to do it again in 2020-21 (six goals in his ninth season).
Although expectations have been tempered since he was in his prime, Carter continues to chug along with the Kings.
The Worst – Two Horrid Trades on March 10, 1980
The Kings made two of the worst trades in NHL history at the 1980 trade deadline. The less egregious of the two is the “dishonourable mention.”
Dishonourable Mention: Butch Goring to Long Island, N.Y. (1980)
The New York Islanders‘ acquisition of Butch Goring is often touted as the best or second-best pickup in trade deadline history. However, it had abysmal results for the Kings who received Billy Harris and Dave Lewis. Harris played in 128 games with the Kings and posted 66 points, while Lewis played 221 games with 41 points.
What happened to Goring? He went on to win four consecutive Stanley Cups with the Islanders, starting in his first year on Long Island, 1980. He also earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1981. He skated in 332 regular-season games with the Isles, posting 195 points; that’s 88 more points than Harris and Lewis combined for in LA.
The Worst – 1982 1st Round Pick to Buffalo
Hailing from Saint Paul, Minnesota, Phil Housley’s 1,232 points rank fourth all-time among defencemen. He ranks fourth in goals (338) and fifth in assists (894) among defenders. The only American-born player with more points is Mike Modano. Housley was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Housley was selected sixth overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft using a pick they had acquired two years before from the Kings. At the 1980 trade deadline, LA sent a 1982 first-round pick to Buffalo for Jerry Korab, a gifted offensive defenceman who was 31-years-old at the time.
Korab had one great season in LA (1980-81), playing alongside fellow dynamic blueliner Larry Murphy and The Triple Crown Line. He posted 52 points in 79 games and tied for 21st overall among blueliners in points that season. However, his total 102 points in 211 games with the Kings are underwhelming compared to what the Kings gave up for him (the pick that became Housley).
Infuriatingly, Korab signed with the Minnesota North Stars in 1983, and before he played a single game for the Stars, they placed him on waivers where the Sabres swooped in and added him back to their roster, without giving up anything (from ‘The Buffalo Sabres reacquired 14-year NHL defenseman Jerry Korab’ United Press International, 10/20/83). Overall, LA sent Buffalo arguably the greatest American-born player ever for just over three seasons of play from Korab.
Good and Bad
The Kings have made a number of franchise-altering trades at the trade deadline – whether it was acquiring a key piece in their two Stanley Cup victories or giving up a draft pick that became a superstar defenceman. We’ll soon find out if they’ve added to the Best or Worst list in less than a week’s time.
Stats per: Hockey Reference
I am a lifelong hockey fan who will be covering the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks here at The Hockey Writers. Before joining The Hockey Writers I spent two years blogging about hockey.
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