Ron Francis joined Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux in Pittsburgh and won a couple of Cups. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)
With the trade deadline fast approaching, NHL fans are excited about their teams’ chances at improving for the stretch run or peddling their moveable assets into futures.
There have been 374 deadline-day deals involving 676 players and dozens of draft picks since the NHL instituted the first deadline day in 1980 and this week the THN.com Top 10 lists the best of all time.
10. March 10, 1980: Butch Goring traded from Los Angeles to N.Y. Islanders for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis.
• We begin where it all began, with the biggest deadline-deal at the first-ever trade deadline. Islanders fans will still say Goring was the catalyst for four straight Stanley Cups.
9. Feb. 26, 2008: Buffalo traded Brian Campbell and its seventh round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft to San Jose for Steve Bernier and San Jose's first-round pick in 2008 (Tyler Ennis).
• Campbell was the most sought-after blueliner to be dealt last year, but still disappointed in the playoffs.
8. March 23, 1999: Chicago traded Chris Chelios to Detroit for Anders Eriksson and first round picks in the 1999 and 2001 entry drafts.
• Ten years later and Chelios is still in Detroit.
7. March 18, 1997: Larry Murphy traded from Toronto to Detroit for future considerations.
• Basically booed out of Toronto, Murphy went to Detroit and finished a Hall of Fame career with two Stanley Cups.
6. March 24, 1998: Tampa Bay traded Bryan Marchment, David Shaw and a first round pick in 1998 to San Jose for Andrei Nazarov and Florida's first round pick in the 1998 entry draft (used to select Vincent Lecavalier).
• Wouldn’t the Sharks love to have a do-over with this one? Lecavalier is now one of the top-five skaters in the world.
5. March 10, 1981: Rick Martin traded from Buffalo to Los Angeles for L.A.’s third round pick in the 1981 entry draft and Los Angeles' first round pick in the 1983 entry draft (used to select Tom Barrasso).
• Like No. 6, it’s not so much about the players traded, but who the pick turned into. Barrasso won the Calder and Vezina awards with Buffalo three years later.
4. March 19, 2002: Dallas traded Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner to New Jersey for Jason Arnott, Randy McKay and New Jersey’s first round pick in the 2002 entry draft.
• In a rare deadline-day blockbuster, Dallas was looking to get younger during a non-playoff season. New Jersey disappointed, losing to Carolina in the first round – although Carolina did get to the Cup final.
3. Feb. 26, 2008: Atlanta traded Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and Pittsburgh's first-round pick in the 2008 entry draft (used to select Daultan Leveille).
• Last year’s surprise deadline deal was also one of the biggest in deadline history. Pittsburgh rode Hossa all the way to the Cup final, but hasn’t recovered from giving so much up in the trade.
2. March 7, 1989: Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy traded from Washington to Minnesota for Dino Ciccarelli and Bob Rouse.
• Not sure what the Caps were thinking with this one. Gartner went on to score 311 more NHL goals; Murphy 665 more points. Ciccarelli did tally 276 more NHL goals, but Rouse? C’mon!
1. March 4, 1991: Ron Francis, Grant Jennings and Ulf Samuelsson traded from Hartford to Pittsburgh for John Cullen, Jeff Parker and Zarley Zalapski.
• Some of you younger readers might not remember all the names involved, but Pittsburgh won back-to-back Cups with No. 4 all-time scorer Francis as the No. 2 center behind Mario Lemieux and Samuelsson terrorizing opposing forwards.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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