This offseason, there were a number of big trades in the NHL that insiders deemed “blockbusters”. If not massive deals, there were others that, one-for-one weren’t insignificant.
More often than not, someone loses trades like this. Either the star player being moved shines and the team that gave him up regrets doing so, or in the case of one-for-one deals, one team in the trade tends to get shafted.
If we look at some of the bigger deals over the past few months, here are the biggest stinkers of the bunch:
Subban was traded to the New Jersey Devils and while the Devils didn’t give up a lot to acquire him, they did so for a couple of reasons. First, the organization wanted badly to compete this season. Willing to spend $9 million per season over the course of the next three campaigns, Subban was big ticket but deemed worth it if it meant enticing Taylor Hall to stick around.
A former Norris Trophy winner in 2013, Subban is not what he once was. He has struggled to produce offensively, last season only managing 31 points in 63 games and this season posting only five points in 19 games. This is not what the Devils signed up for (well, maybe they did but they hoped they didn’t.) On pace for only 22 points, it’s a big number to be spending on a blueliner that isn’t contributing much and certainly isn’t making Hall’s decision to stay a given.
Thank goodness the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t stuck with Barrie long-term if what he’s provided so far this season is what they can expect moving forward. Should Barrie not turn things around from a dismal season to date, the Maple Leafs can just move on, not handcuffed with an albatross contract for seasons to come.
That said, Barrie was supposed to be a solution on the Maple Leafs blue line and GM Kyle Dubas gave up Nazem Kadri to acquire him. Kadri has 15 points in 20 games for the Avs with three seasons at $4.5 million per season left on his ticket. That’s a good deal. Meanwhile, the offensively-gifted d-man in Barrie has only six points in 22 games.
The Maple Leafs don’t want to trade him despite his struggles, but teams are calling. Who knows, if the season continues to tank for the Maple Leafs, they may move him. That would mean having moved Kadri for no good reason. Ouch.
One can make the argument Phil Kessel being traded out of Pittsburgh was a must. If that is true, we’ll give a little bit of leniency to this trade. Still, the return for Kessel hasn’t been very good.
The Penguins received Alex Galchenyuk in the deal and he’s played in only 11 games, has only five assists and is struggling again. Meanwhile, Kessel is producing in Arizona where the team is firmly in the race for the playoffs in the Western Conference. Kessel isn’t lighting it up, but he’s certainly been the better of the two players by a mile.
There’s only so many ways someone can ask the Calgary Flames what they were thinking when they traded James Neal for Milan Lucic. Even with Neal cooling off from his incredibly hot start to the 2019-20 season for the Edmonton Oilers, Lucic has been a total disaster.
He’s got four seasons at $5.25 million left on the Flames’ books and a whopping three assists in 20 games for Calgary this year. There may not have been a more one-sided trade this summer and that when it happened most people thought the Oilers got away with grand theft only makes the Flames look that much worse. Everyone saw this coming except for them.