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Old 11-28-2007, 11:48 PM   #1
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Default The Other Gretzky Trade

Some would argue that the trade that sent Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings was a tad lopsided... until you look at the deal that got him to the St. Louis Blues.

From TSN.ca
Los Angeles Kings traded Wayne Gretzky to the St. Louis Blues for Craig Johnson, Patrice Tardif, Roman Vopat, 5th round selection (Peter Hogan) in 1996 and 1st round selection (Matt Zultek) in 1997.

Sure, Wayne was a rental... but we got more for Fleury in Regehr than Los Angeles got from St. Louis out of this deal.

The following is the career numbers for the players involved, not including #99:

Craig Johnson - 557 GP 75G 98A 173 PTS (Last seen in WSH 03/04, playing in Europe)
Patrice Tardif - 65 GP 7G 11A 18PTS (Last seen with LA in 95/96, playing in Europe)
Roman Vopat - 133 GP 6G 14A 20 PTS (Last seen in PHI 98/99, Gretzky's last year. Played in Europe 99/00 - 06/07)
Peter Hogan - Never made it to the NHL (1997 5th Round Pick, 123 Overall)
Matt Zultek - Never made it to the NHL (1997 1st Round, 15th overall. Re-entered draft, selected by BOS 2nd round #56 overall 1999.)

So, you have a total NHL career of the 3 players that made it of 88G and 123A for 211 Pts. To put that in perspective... Wayne scored more points in 2 individual seasons than the 3 put together. (81/82 92-120-212, 85/86 52-163-215).

Heck, in the 18 games he played in St. Louis (95/96), he scored more points than Vopat and Tardif's respective careers. (18 GP 8-13-21).

I just came across this, and wanted to look into it more while coming up with another tidbit for a different thread. I'm surprised this trade never came up in "Worst Trade" threads on this board before.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:53 PM   #2
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The reason why I don't think this trade comes off as one of the worst trades is because really it wasn't too devastating for either team. Obviously St.Louis dosent lose much as you pointed out but the deal had potential for LA with the 1st round pick and they were gonna lose Gretzky anyways most likely.

Sure it seems like they could of gotten more but Craig Johnson stayed on the team for several years even put up close to 40 points once. It didn't do too much harm for the king's franchise as they made the playoffs 2 years after the trade after not making it in the last 3 years with Gretzky.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:56 PM   #3
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I thought this thread was going to be about Brent Gretzky's rights being traded from the Port Huron Beacons to the Danbury Trashers
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:57 AM   #4
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In fairness, Craig Johnson was a fast skater and a very capable scorer. Had he not been injured so much, that trade may not look too bad. As its already been stated, Gretzky had already decided he was leaving LA, no doubt about it.
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:04 AM   #5
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I think my point was as much as Gretzky had New York on the brain at the time, the return was horrible. Johnson made it sub-OK, but he was one of the best players in the league at the time, and even as a rental... should have had a higher return.

I guess it's looking at it the way we say we should when the Flames draft or make a trade for prospects. The imediate impact is stats on paper, the long term effects are best seen in results years later.

Years later, as a former Gretzky follower, I say this one stunk.
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Old 11-29-2007, 09:50 AM   #6
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Zultek was going to have been a real good player, or at least the Ottawa Sun's Chris Stevenson thought so. He really ripped the Sens after the 97 draft when they passed on Zultek to draft some no-name Euro called Marian Hossa.
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:08 PM   #7
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The Kings also got a compensatory 2nd round pick in 1999 for Zultek re-entering the draft. They took Andrei Shefer - a Russian defenceman who never saw the NHL.
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Old 11-29-2007, 02:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidney Crosby's Hat View Post
The Kings also got a compensatory 2nd round pick in 1999 for Zultek re-entering the draft. They took Andrei Shefer - a Russian defenceman who never saw the NHL.
Even better...
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