Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Which player can make the best starting lineup of guys he was traded for?

Trading has returned to the NHL. Kind of.

As Pierre LeBrun reported last week, the seven teams whose seasons are over can now resume trading with each other. That doesn’t go far enough – the league should reopen trading for everyone – but it’s all we’re going to get for the next few months, so we’ll take it.

To welcome trading back into our lives, let’s have some fun with another roster-building game: What’s the best starting six you can make out of players who were all once traded for the same guy?

We’ve done version of this before with GMs, both for players acquired and those traded away. Fair warning: This is going to be a lot tougher. A typical GM has dozens of trades to work with, while no individual player’s trade total even hits double digits. Finding players who can give us a full lineup will be tough enough, let alone an especially good one.

Still, that’s no reason not to try. As always with this sort of thing, we need some arbitrary rules:

  • Each player needs to be able to find three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie that he was involved in a trade for. We won’t worry about position beyond that, and we’ll let a few guys get away with dipping into the minors if we have to. But if you can’t fill all six spots, you’re out.
  • If a player was traded for a draft pick that turned into a star player, that counts. But if a player was drafted with a pick that had previously been traded for someone, that doesn’t. In other words, you don’t get credit for trades that happened before you were even NHL property.
  • Getting traded with somebody – i.e. on the same side of the trade – doesn’t put that player on your roster. They have to have been going the other way in the deal.
  • A player must use at least three different trades to fill out their roster. That prevents someone like Eric Lindros from using one blockbuster for all their spots, which would go against the spirit of the thing. We want the guys who were traded more than once or twice.

One last note: This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list. I’m sure there are some good candidates who slipped by me. After all, the only way to consider everyone would be to literally spend weeks clicking on every single player link on hockey-reference, and who would do that? (Feels like everyone is staring at him.) Yes, OK, that does sound like something I would do. But this time I didn’t. So if you can come up with a player I missed, post it in the comments.

We’re still roughly 60 days away from possibly watching hockey again. Let’s waste one of those days building some weird rosters …

Team Mark Recchi

Forwards: Rick Tocchet, John LeClair, Dainius Zubrus

Defense: Eric Desjardins, Kjell Samuelsson

Goaltender: Ken Wregget

We’re going to find some decent rosters built around relatively obscure players, but let’s start with a Hall of Famer. Recchi was traded five times in his career, but most of this roster comes from the first two – the controversial 1992 swap that sent him from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and the 1995 trade that saw him go to Montreal in a deal that backfired badly on the Habs.

It all adds up to a strong entry; we don’t have any Hall of Famers, but every position is solid. Team Recchi also features decent depth, as we could also draw on Matt Carkner and Matt Lashoff, among others. It’s not bad. But is it the best? Let’s see what else we can find …

Team Craig Berube

Forwards: Jari Kurri, Doug Gilmour, Vincent Damphousse

Defense: Luke Richardson, Jamie Macoun

Goaltender: Rick Wamsley

I’m not sure Berube will end up being our best roster, but it’s definitely going to be my favorite, because I’m not sure we’ve ever seen a trading resume quite like his. He was an honest role player who served a purpose back in the enforcer days – I was a big fan, which didn’t work out well for me – but he was miles away from being a star. And yet, he somehow managed to be involved in three blockbuster trades in a wild eight-month span back in the early ’90s. And despite playing in the NHL for 17 years, those were his only three trades involving other players.

For our purposes, he gives us a forward line that features two Hall of Famers and combines for over 4,000 points, two solid defensive defensemen and a dependable goaltender (backed up by Peter Ing). That’s not bad for a guy who played 17 seasons and never cracked 20 points in any of them.

Team Bret Hedican

Forwards: Craig Janney, Dave Gagner, Byron Ritchie

Defense: Ed Jovanovski, Sandis Ozolinsh

Goaltender: Kevin Weekes

Two things I know about Bred Hedican. He’s one of the only NHL players who married somebody who could skate better than he could and he was really good at getting traded for big names who were kind of past their prime. Still, it’s a decent squad, especially that blue line. And we can probably get them some skating lessons at a discount.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

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