NHL Trade Tree
Every Canadian loves the NHL Trade Deadline Day (except maybe the NHL players themselves). In fact, it should be a national holiday, or at least moved to the weekend. Looking at you Gary Bettman! It’s always an exciting time for fans even though sometimes it can be frustrating. Some trades have you jumping for joy, while others leave you confused and shaking your head. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you knew which team “won” the trade? Or who your favorite team could’ve had if they didn’t make that trade?
Hindsight is a horrible, yet wonderful thing. My plan is to open your mind to what could’ve been, or have you thinking ‘what a steal’ in a series called “Trade Tree Tuesday”. I will be focusing mainly on my favorite team, the Vancouver Canucks. However, there will also be other teams thrown into the mix. Leafs fans beware. Some trades may anger you as much as a certain high stick that still gets talked about, but at least I’ll be laughing. Let’s dive in.
This week I’ll be sticking with the ’90’s. After reading this post you may think I’m cherry picking trades, however, this is not the case. I needed a system to follow, so I chose to go through each trade in sequence according to date. My starting point was 1990 with my last post ‘Trade Tree Tuesday: Canucks March 6, 1990’. Today’s post is the next trade in sequence that has a ripple effect large enough to write about. It also happens to take place on my birthday, and eventually involve my all time favorite NHL player.
Vancouver Canucks & Boston Bruins
January 16, 1991. It was a cold day in southern Ontario. I was celebrating my ninth birthday, dominating in a smash up derby with my friends on my brand new GT Snowracer… probably. I actually have no idea how the weather was or what I was doing. Too much root beer maybe. What I do know is that the Canucks and Bruins made a trade.
The Canucks traded away the declining left winger Petri Skriko and it only cost Boston their 1992 2nd round draft pick. This seems fairly cheap for the Bruins considering the odds of a 2nd round pick playing over 100 games in the NHL is about 31%. Even worse is the 12% chance that the pick turns into a top 6 player. Skriko was only one season removed from coming off a fourth consecutive season of scoring 30 goals or more.
At first glance, this seems like a win for the Bruins, or at the very least a good gamble. Lets take a look at what each team did with their new assets.
Who the Canucks Gave Up
Vancouver traded away a lot of talent in Petri Skriko, who played seven seasons with the Canucks. In those 472 games played he totaled 373 points (171 goals, 202 assists). Skriko also currently sits 6th all time for the franchise with the most hat tricks (5), and 1st all time for most hat tricks in a single season (4).
Coming off a season that saw his goal production cut in half compared to the season earlier, Skriko got off to another slow start in the 1990-91 season. He played 20 games for the Canucks recording 8 points before heading to Boston. Skriko finished the season playing in 28 games for the Bruins where he scored 5 times and added 14 assists. He also played in 18 playoff games collecting 8 points before the team lost in the conference finals to the eventual Stanley Cup winners (The Pittsburgh Penguins).
The following season Skriko was traded to the Winnipeg Jets after just 9 games, for Brent Ashton. Ashton finished the season strong for the Bruins with 17 goals and 39 assists. However, the following year Ashton struggled to produce and was sent to the minors. That February Ashton was traded to Calgary for C.J Young who only played 15 games for the Bruins before becoming a free agent in the summer of 1993.
Who the Bruins Gave Up
The Bruins traded a 1992 2nd round pick which ended up as the 40th overall pick for the Canucks. With the pick, Vancouver selected Michael Peca who had become a top offensive player in the OHL. Peca would play 37 games for the Canucks collecting 12 points before being the main piece in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres in 1995. This trade has a significant impact for the Sabres, but I will explore that branch in another blog, so stay tuned.
The return for Peca, (along with Michael Wilson & a 1995 1st round pick) was significant as well. The Canucks received a 1995 5th round pick and Alexander Mogilny. The pick was used to select Todd Norman who never played in the NHL. Mogilny, on the other hand… well, lets just say I have a lot to say about him. After all, he is my favorite player of all time. I’ll keep it short here and expand more in the blog previously mentioned for the 1995 trade with Buffalo.
In Mogilny’s first season with the Canucks he scored 55 times and reached 107 points in 79 games. He also scored 9 points in 6 playoff games before the team was eliminated in the first round by Colorado. Mogilny’s production started to tail off in the next four seasons and injury’s limited his games. At the trade deadline in March of 2000, Mogilny was traded to the New Jersey Devils for Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson. Mogilny finished with 139 goals and 169 assists for 308 points in 312 career games for the Canucks.
“West Coast Express”
Brendan Morrison became a key player in the “West Coast Express” era for the Canucks. The playmaking centre was one third of a line that was considered to be the best line in the NHL during its four-year tenure. Playing along side Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi, Morrison reached a career high for points in a single season with 71. Morrison became a UFA in 2007. He played 543 games for the Canucks and recorded 393 points (136 goals, 257 assists). He also appeared in 43 playoff games for Vancouver, scoring 8 times and adding 17 assists.
Pederson played 102 games for the Canucks and recorded 23 point (8 goals, 15 assists), and 98 PIM before he and Drake Berehowsky were traded to Phoenix in 2001. The return was Trevor Letowski, Tyler Bouck, Todd Warriner, and a 2003 3rd round pick.
Trevor Letowski became a UFA in 2003 after scoring 42 points in 120 career games for the Canucks. Warriner played 44 games and had 16 points, but was traded in 2003 to Philadelphia for future considerations, which was never exercised. The 3rd round pick from Phoenix was traded back to them in 2003 for agitator Brad May. May racked up 147 PIM in 73 games for the Canucks and later became a UFA in 2004. Tyler Bouck spend most of his time playing with the Canucks AHL team, the Manitoba Moose, and became a UFA in 2007.
It’s funny how a simple trade that doesn’t seem like much at the time can have a ripple effect stretching 16 years. Even longer if I were to include each branch of this tree. The Canucks made out well in this trade, as far as offence goes. The players received combined for over 1300 games played and 850 points. That’s not a bad exchange for an aging player on the decline.
The Bruins only amassed 80 combined points over 157 games played. That too isn’t a bad exchange for a 69% chance of getting nothing out of the lottery that is the NHL draft. The difference is that Vancouver was able to pick the winning ticket and cash in. They could have just as easily picked from the list of guys who would never play a single NHL game.
It’s time for you to decide. Take the poll below and let me know your thoughts in the comment section.