Just like I did with the Eastern Conference, let’s take a look at the trades I believe greatly impacted teams in the Western Conference.
The Anaheim Ducks have had a lot of success as an NHL franchise.
One of the main reasons for their success was because of a trade the organization made back on February 7, 1996. It was that very day that the Ducks traded Chad Kilger, Oleg Tverdovsky, and a third-round draft pick to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Marc Chouinard, a fourth-round draft pick, and most notably, star right winger Teemu Selanne.
Selanne went on to become perhaps the franchise’s best player in leading the Ducks to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 2007.
He is the all-time leading scorer in Ducks’ history and is also now a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Sometimes, NHL general managers are not exactly thinking clearly when it comes to making trades.
The Phoenix Coyotes certainly proved that by making a deal that would end up working out poorly for them. On March 10, 2003, the Coyotes traded Daniel Briere and a 2004 3rd round draft pick (Andrej Sekera) to the Buffalo Sabres for Chris Gratton and a 2004 fourth round pick.
Briere went on to be wildly successful with the Sabres for three seasons. Briere scored 85 regular season goals, had 218 points and had a terrific playoffs in the 2005-06 season when he had 19 points (8 goals and 11 assists) in 18 games in leading the Sabres to within one game of the Stanley Cup Final.
Gratton, on the other hand, was a bust in Arizona. He played just two seasons and had just 30 points in 72 games.
The Calgary Flames have had a lot of great players play for them over the course of the team’s history.
However, the team’s face of the franchise was acquired by trading a big part of their team for many years. In 1996, the Flames’ traded Joe Nieuwendyk to the Dallas Stars in exchange for forward Jarome Iginla.
While Nieuwendyk went on to win a Cup with the Stars in 1999, Iginla has gone on to become the Flames’ franchise player and leader for many seasons. In over 14 seasons with the Flames, Iginla has gone on to score over 500 career goals and produce over 1,050 points. He led the Flames to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004 where the team would lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 7 games.
Iginla never won a Cup, but he did everything else and more for the Flames’ organization.
Sometimes, to get a franchise player, you have a trade a franchise-type player.
This is exactly what happened back on June 29, 1990. On this day, the Chicago Blackhawks traded offensive superstar and highlight-reel Denis Savard to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenceman Chris Chelios.
Little did the Blackhawks know that Chelios would turn out to be everything and more to the Blackhawks for nine seasons. He would be one of the most respected team captains in the NHL from 1995-99, is the all-time leader in penalty minutes for the Blackhawks, won two Norris Trophies as the league’s top defenseman and played in eight All-Star games.
He was and still is a big member of the Chicago/Blackhawks’ community and will always be known as the Blackhawks’ best defenseman in franchise history.
In their first 23 seasons in the NHL, the Colorado Avalanche have had a lot of success.
The team has won two Stanley Cups (1996 and 2001), won many division titles, and been to the Western Conference Finals five times. One of the main reasons for this is because of one trade that was made back in the off-season on 1992.
It was then that the then Quebec Nordiques acquired Peter Forsberg from the Philadelphia Flyers in deal that saw the supposed “next one” Eric Lindros go to the Flyers. While there is no doubting that Lindros would go on to have a somewhat successful NHL career, it would be the Nordiques/Avalanche who would come out on top in this deal.
Forsberg would go on to win a Calder Trophy (1995), an Art Ross Trophy (2003), a Hart Trophy (2003) and two Stanley Cups (1996 and 2001) with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche while Lindros was never able to win and deliver the big trophy anywhere he played.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Not only did the Blue Jackets used to struggle on the ice, but they also had trouble making good deals.
It is easy to say now that acquiring Jeff Carter from the Philadelphia Flyers changed the team’s franchise for the worst. The Blue Jackets traded Jakub Vorachek, a first-round draft pick that turned into Sean Couturier and another draft choice to get Carter.
The deal was awful for the Blue Jackets. Carter expressed feelings to be dealt away and he ended up being shipped off to the Los Angeles Kings where he won Cups in 2012 and 2014.
On the other side, the Flyers have always gotten consistent play from both Vorachek and Couturier.
When it comes to making deals that could change the face of the franchise for years to come, NHL general managers sometimes to have to mortgage the future in order to get a greater return.
In 1996, the Dallas Stars traded forward Jarome Iginla to the Calgary Flames in exchange for productive forward Joe Nieuwendyk. While it is probably tough for fans to wonder what having Iginla in a Stars’ jersey would have been like, there is no doubt that Nieuwendyk delivered the most important trophy to the organization back in the 1998-99 season.
That season, Nieuwendyk led the Stars to their first Stanley Cup in team history and was an integral part of the club in the postseason as he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s most valuable player in the postseason.
Detroit Red Wings
Even when the team already had the likes of Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Viacheslav “Slava” Fetisov, Chris Osgood, and Mike Vernon, the Detroit Red Wings went out a made a deal for a player that would help the team win three Stanley Cups between the 1996-97 and the 2001-02 seasons.
Two games into the 1996-97 season, the Red Wings traded forward Keith Primeau, defenceman Paul Coffey and a first round pick to the Hartford Whalers in exchange for Brian Glynn and power forward Brendan Shanahan. It was a trade that would pay off immediate dividends for the Winged Wheel.
Shanahan would play with the Red Wings for 10 seasons. In that span, he helped the Red Wings to three Stanley Cups (1997, 1998 and 2002), scored 309 goals and 633 points in 716 games, won the King Clancy Memorial trophy for his humanitarian efforts and was named to the NHL All-Star game in five of his 10 seasons.
This one is obviously a no-brainer and goes without saying.
On August 9, 1988, the Edmonton Oilers traded the teary-eyed “Great One” Wayne Gretzky, Marty McSorley, and Mike Krushelynski to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Jimmy Carson, Martin Geilnas, three first-round draft picks and cash. It was a trade heard not only around the hockey world, but the entire sports world as well.
Up until that point, Gretzky had been everything to the Oilers. He led the team to four Cups in five years, won multiple scoring titles and was the leader and face of the franchise.
To this day, Oilers’ fans continue to talk about this trade and wondered what might have been had he stayed with the Oilers.
Los Angeles Kings
Just like the previous team we covered, the Los Angeles Kings’ trade that rocked not only the franchise but the entire hockey world is the one that revolved around Wayne Gretzky.
This trade would change hockey for the better in the United States. It led to teams being put in San Jose, Anaheim, Tampa Bay and Florida and also put hockey on the map in the Country.
Of course, the deal certainly did not hurt the Kings. Gretzky would spend eight seasons with the Kings and over those eight years, would accumulate 204 goals and 918 goals while getting the Kings into the playoffs on a consistent basis and even leading the team to a Cup Final in 1993, where they would lose to the Montreal Canadiens in five games.
The Minnesota Wild have found ways to make big moves when they needed to.
There were two deals that shook the franchise the most that occurred in late June of 2011 just prior to the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. In the first deal, the Wild traded All-Star defenceman Brent Burns in exchange for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle, and a first-round draft pick, which turned into Zach Phillips. In the second deal, the Wild traded forward Martin Havlat to the Sharks in exchange for Dany Heatley.
After Marian Gaborik left the Wild to sign with the New York Rangers in the summer of 2009, Wild captain Mikko Koivu and Burns worked extremely hard for the Wild. With that said, the team was struggling to score goals on a consistent basis and needed some scoring up front.
Believe it or not, the Nashville Predators perhaps made their biggest trade as a franchise before they even stepped on the ice for the first time in the 1998-99 season.
At the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, the Predators acquired the San Jose Sharks’ first-round and third-round picks in exchange for Nashville’s first-round and second-round picks. This allowed the Predators to move from third to second in the first round draft order.
With their first pick as an NHL franchise, the Predators took David Legwand. Legwand is still a Predator today. Legwand is currently the franchise record holder in points, goals, assists, games, game-winning goals, shots, playoff goals, playoff assists, playoff points, playoff games, playoff shots, playoff shorthanded goals, and playoff shorthanded points.
San Jose Sharks
There are certain trades that NHL general managers make that change the team’s history.
That is exactly what San Jose Sharks’ general manager Doug Wilson did on November 30, 2005. Wilson traded away Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart, and Wayne Primeau for the captain of the Boston Bruins, Joe Thornton.
Since becoming a Shark, “Jumbo Joe” has won a scoring title (2006), won a Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player (2006) gotten to the team to the Western Conference Finals on multiple occasions, and has recorded a ton of points.
The only thing he has yet to do for the Sharks is lead them to a Cup, something that all Sharks’ fans hope will happen in the near future.
St. Louis Blues
In the NHL, point-producing defencemen are always a good find.
When you get a chance to acquire one, they’re even better. That is exactly what the St. Louis Blues did back on July 4, 1994 when they traded offensive-defenceman Phil Housley, a 1996 second-round pick and a 1997 second-round pick to the Calgary Flames for Al MacInnis and a 1997 fourth-round pick.
MacInnis would spend 10 seasons in a Blues’ uniform and became one of the best defenceman in franchise history. Out of those 10 seasons, MacInnis put up more than 40 or more points in seven of those 10 seasons and won the Norris Trophy during the 1998-99 season.
MacInnis finished his career with 1,274 points, a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy with the Flames in 1989 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.
On June 23, 2006, the Vancouver Canucks’ wound up making the biggest trade in their franchise history, one that still has people questioning whether it was really good or not.
On that day, the Canucks traded goaltender Alex Auld, power forward Todd Bertuzzi and a 2007 conditional sixth-round pick for superstar netminder Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek and a 2006 sixth-round pick.
Luongo has helped the Canucks to divisional titles, earn a spot in the Stanley Cup final in 2011 won a ton of games.
Vegas Golden Knights
Considering that they are only in the second year of their existence, the Vegas Golden Knights have not made many deals in their franchise history.
With that said, one player they did acquire via the expansion draft because the Pittsburgh Penguins made him available is Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has been nothing short of remarkable with the young franchise and even took them to a Cup Final last year.
He’s signed for a few more years so there is a chance that he could still get this franchise a Cup.
Prior to being the Winnipeg Jets, the Jets were the Atlanta Thrashers.
The trade that changed the team’s landscape for the future was made back on February 4, 2010. That season, the Thrashers traded scoring-machine Illya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils for Johnny Oduya, two young, first-round prospects in Niclas Bergfors and Patrice Cormier, and the Devils’ first two draft choices.
Since that deal, the Thrashers have moved to Winnipeg and Kovalchuk was signed to a 15-year, $100-million deal and did nothing special with them.
Photo: Sporting News