Recently I did an article in which I highlighted some of the best trades made in Canes’ franchise history. So in keeping with this general theme, I thought it would only be fair to take a look back at some of the less savory swaps that the Hurricanes have made. So here are the worst trades in Carolina’s franchise history.
This list will once again analyze trades based on two factors: the historic value of the trade and the point-share differential of the deal. For an in-depth explanation of point shares, check out this page on hockey-reference.com.
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″]John Cullen, Zarley Zalapski and Jeff Parker[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″]For[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″]Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings[/vc_column][/vc_row]
Let’s get the big one out of the way early. In March of 1991, the Hartford Whalers were on the losing end of one of the most lopsided deals of all time. Just a day before the trade deadline Hartford sent Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings to Pittsburgh. In exchange for the trio, the Whalers received forwards John Cullen and Jeff Parker as well as defenseman Zarley Zalapski.
For Pittsburgh, the trade bolstered an already effective squad that consisted of Mario Lemieux, Mark Recchi, Jaromir Jagr, Larry Murphy, Joe Mullen and Paul Coffey. Francis proved to be an extremely effective second line center under Mario Lemieux, while Samuelsson added the grit the Penguins wanted on their backend. The effects of this trade were felt immediately as the Penguins would go on to win back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.
Unfortunately for Hartford, they did not see the same positive results as the Penguins. Both Cullen and Zalapski had strong but short tenures with the Whalers. Cullen left Hartford after one season in a trade with Toronto for a second-round pick. Zapalski’s time in Hartford would only last slightly longer. He played two years with the Whalers until a trade sent him to Calgary.
In the end, the trade had almost no upside for the Whalers. If the initial deal was not bad enough, the auctioning off of Cullen and Zalapski eliminated almost all of the remaining value from the deal. According to point-share differential, this deal cost the Whalers 50.5 points in the standings. The only positive thing about this is that Francis would eventually re-sign in Raleigh.
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″]Paul Coffey, Keith Primeau and a First Round Pick[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″]For[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″]Brendan Shanahan and Brian Glynn[/vc_column][/vc_row]
This section doesn’t have one specific trade to focus on, but rather focuses on a series of trades that blew up in the face of the Whalers. On draft day in 1993, the Whalers conducted a deal with the San Jose Sharks in order to exchange first round picks. Hartford sent over a package consisting of their eighth, 45th and 58th overall picks for San Jose’s second overall selection. Hartford used the pick in order to draft future Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Pronger. While Pronger would later become a legendary member of the league, his time with the Whale was short lived. Pronger served in Hartford for only two years before being a part of another blockbuster trade. This time Hartford was sending Pronger to St. Louis and in return was to receive a bonafide star in Brendan Shanahan.
However, general manager Jim Rutherford wasn’t done tinkering with his roster just yet. Rutherford sent Shanahan to Detroit after his first season with the team. In return for Shanahan, Hartford received Keith Primeau, an aging Paul Coffey, and first round pick in 1997.
The deal would singlehandedly ruin all the work Hartford had made acquiring the two Hall of Fame players. Both Pronger and Shanahan went on to have incredible careers with their respective clubs. Shanahan won three Cups with Detroit, while Pronger became a Norris and Hart Trophy winner as well as Stanley Cup champion in 2007.
Hartford used the first round pick to select Nick Tselios, who played only two games in his short NHL career. Coffey’s time in Hartford was also largely uneventful. The 35-year-old and often-injured defenseman only played 20 games before asking for a trade out of Connecticut. The only somewhat useful piece that came from this was Primeau. But still, it is hard not to fantasize about what could have been if Pronger or Shanahan stayed.
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″]Glen Wesley[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″]For[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″]First Round Picks in 1995, 1996 and 1997[/vc_column][/vc_row]
While Glen Wesley served as a consistent defenseman for Hartford and the Hurricanes, this trade makes the list solely on how much Hartford overpaid in order to bring him in. Trading first round picks is always dangerous. The fact that Hartford traded away three of them was incredibly risky and never truly paid off. The Whalers missed the playoffs in all three years, which gave the Bruins three extra consecutive picks in the top 10.
The picks would be used to select Kyle McLaren, Jonathan Aitken and Sergei Samsonov. Aitken never had much of a career in the NHL, but Samsonov and McLaren became immediately effective.
On the back end, McLaren came as a fantastic new addition for the Bruins. Joining the team as the only 18-year-old to play for the Bruins in 1995-96, he quickly became a member of Boston’s top-four. Samsonov also saw an explosive start to his professional career. Surpassing Patrick Elias and Mattias Ohlund to win the Calder in 1997-98, Samsonov instantly cemented himself within Boston’s top six.
In Hartford, Wesley was never able to recreate his success with Boston. While he played over 900 games with the franchise, he saw dips in every major statistical category since joining the Whalers. In the end, this deal didn’t do much to benefit the Whalers. According to hockey-reference’s point-share system ,Carolina lost out on 19.1 points as a result of this move.
Josh Burns is from Ontario Canada and is an avid hockey lover, and covers the Carolina Hurricanes