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Notable NHL Captains Who Were given Traded

*This newsletter was once at the beginning revealed in Aug. 2021

The calendar lately grew to become to August, and disgruntled Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel stays at the roster. Whether or not or no longer he wishes vital surgical treatment to fix any diseases he has isn’t the subject of debate this present day, as a substitute, the Sabres declare to be in keep an eye on of the method. They do not want to let Eichel opt for not anything, regardless of the connection with their captain being all however destroyed. 

A neck harm can also be occupation finishing and life-threatening. Alternatively, the Sabres and Eichel’s camp haven’t begun to unencumber the precise main points of the harm, so maximum folks can handiest speculate what’s in reality happening in Buffalo. 

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Eichel’s title has been within the rumor mill for the simpler a part of two seasons, however the captain’s agent lately got here out and asked that his consumer get dealt. If and when that transaction happens, he’ll sign up for an unique workforce of celebrity avid gamers, captains in their respective groups, who discovered themselves traded. 

10 Erik Karlsson – Sept. 13, 2018

Erik Karlsson was once one of the most perfect defensemen within the NHL originally of the 2018-19 season. He spent his whole occupation with the Ottawa Senators, mountaineering their all-time scoring listing whilst shooting two James Norris Memorial Trophies within the procedure. 

Erik Karlsson #65, Ottawa Senators
Erik Karlsson was once the second one Swedish captain in Senators historical past. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In 2012, Karlsson signed a brand new seven-year contract with the Senators with the hopes of enjoying his whole occupation in Canada’s capital town. The crew had some first rate luck with him within the lineup, however via 2018 they’d fallen to the ground of the standings. 4 seasons after buying and selling their earlier crew captain, Jason Spezza, and 5 years got rid of from letting Daniel Alfredsson, their captain of 13 years, stroll in loose company, the Senators as soon as once more let a pace-setter break out. 

Karlsson made his solution to the west coast, becoming a member of the San Jose Sharks in September 2018. He was once a part of a industry bundle that integrated Francis Perron going to San Jose, whilst Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo, Josh Norris, Rudolfs Balcers, a first-round pick out in 2020, and a conditional second-round pick out in 2021 going to Ottawa. Because the industry, neither franchise has had a lot luck, with Ottawa striking across the backside of the league standings. Karlsson seems to be a shell of his former self in San Jose, alternatively, it’s not each day {that a} multiple-Norris winner and crew captain will get traded. 

9 Ryan Callahan & Martin St. Louis – March 5, 2014

Throughout the 2013-14 season, the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning had been on other paths. The Rangers had a crew able to win the Stanley Cup with Henrik Lundqvist within the web. Tampa Bay, in the meantime, had did not make the playoffs in 5 of the six seasons main as much as the 2014 industry closing date. 

Callahan has been a pace-setter with the Lightning since day one. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Lightning captain, Martin St. Louis, serving his first season within the position, was once unsatisfied with the placement in Florida. He didn’t conceal his emotions as the connection between the celebrity participant, and crew control started to fall aside. When the time got here, St. Louis asked a industry to New York, and the crew labored out one of the most handiest trades when a crew captain were given traded for some other. 

Similar: Revisiting the Callahan-St. Louis Business

In New York, Ryan Callahan was once in his 3rd season as crew captain. His dating with the crew started to wreck down once they couldn’t agree on a brand new extension. Not able to resolve the issue internally, the Rangers shipped their chief to Tampa Bay. The deal broke down as such: St. Louis and a 2015 second-round pick out went to the Giant Apple, whilst Callahan, a first-round pick out in 2014, a first-round pick out in 2015, and a seventh-round pick out in 2015 went south to the Lightning.

8 Mike Richards – June 23, 2011

The Los Angeles Kings have been to the Stanley Cup Ultimate simply as soon as of their historical past, a five-game loss to the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. Within the later a part of the 2000s, they had been stocking up on potentialities like Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Fast, to call a couple of. The celebrities had been aligning, and Los Angeles was once at the verge of changing into kings of the league. 

Bill McCreary NHL referee
Mike Richards was once the ultimate captain to steer the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Ultimate. (THW Archives)

Mike Richards began his occupation in 2006, and via the beginning of the 2008-09 season, he was once named captain of the Philadelphia Flyers. He was once a very important member of the crew who misplaced within the Stanley Cup Ultimate in 2010, however the Flyers paid a heavy value to reach their one shot at a hoop. Philadelphia loaded up on dear contracts in hopes in their first championship since 1976; alternatively, it misplaced in six video games inflicting control to disassemble the core. 

The Kings had been a prepared industry spouse, obtaining Richards and Rob Bordson for a second-round draft pick out in 2012, Brayden Schenn, and Wayne Simmonds. Inside of 12 months of the deal, Los Angeles gained its first Stanley Cup after which gained a moment identify in 2014. Richards was once the veteran presence the Kings had to get them over different powerhouse groups within the Western Convention.

7 Ron Francis – March 4, 1991

When Ron Francis retired from enjoying, he were given into control, and after being let move as common supervisor of the Carolina Hurricanes, the Seattle Kraken in the long run employed him as their first common supervisor. The fifth-leading scorer (1798 issues) in NHL historical past was once an affect participant with the Hartford Whalers all the way through the Nineteen Eighties, scoring 101 issues in 1989-90. 

Ron Francis Hartford Whalers
Ron Francis, whilst a member of the Hartford Whalers. (Picture via Steve Babineau/NHLI by the use of Getty Photographs)

The Pittsburgh Penguins had been a crew on the point of without equal prize, however had been nonetheless lacking a couple of items. The crew’s common supervisor, Craig Patrick, swung a handle the Whalers, obtaining Francis, Grant Jennings, and Ulf Samuelsson; all necessary avid gamers who put the crew within the winner’s circle. The Penguins traded John Cullen, Jeff Parker, and Zarley Zalapski to Hartford within the change.

Inside of months of this transaction, Pittsburgh hoisted the primary of back-to-back championships. Francis grew his legacy with the Penguins, scoring over 100 issues two times and changing into the crew’s captain when Mario Lemieux retired in 1997. He would go back to the Hartford franchise, which relocated to Carolina and led them to their first Stanley Cup Ultimate look in 2002. 

6 Jaromír Jágr – July 11, 2001 

Lemieux was once the Penguins’ biggest participant from the instant they drafted him in 1984 till his first retirement in 1997. He did the whole thing in his energy to stay the franchise in Pittsburgh, together with purchasing the crew out of chapter in 1999. After the whole thing Lemieux did for the crew off and on the ice, Jaromír Jágr took over the crew and ruled the league from 1995-2001, successful 5 scoring titles. 

Jaromir Jagr Pittsburgh Penguins
Jagr is the second-highest scorer in NHL historical past. (Picture via Graig Abel/Getty Photographs)

Jágr was once morphing into the second-best participant the franchise had ever noticed, and lots of idea he can be a participant to make them some other championship. Sadly, issues by no means went that method, and Jágr’s handiest two Stanley Cup rings got here in his rookie season (1991) and sophomore marketing campaign (1992). Francis took over for Lemieux when he retired as a captain; alternatively, Jágr assumed the captaincy in 1998-99 — the primary time in his occupation he had earned such an honor. 

Similar: Revisiting the Capitals’ Disastrous Jagr Business

Issues didn’t figure out when Lemieux returned to the membership in December 2000, selecting up the place he left off. Jágr was once nonetheless the captain, however no longer the principle enchantment anymore along with his boss on his line. He had a hefty contract at the books, and to get out of the monetary mess the crew discovered itself in, they traded their captain and reigning scoring champion to the Washington Capitals. Jágr and Frantisek Kucera went to the Capitals for Kris Beech, Ross Lupaschuk, Michal Sivek. Even if Jágr didn’t succeed in the luck he had in Pittsburgh, he did get a brand new large new contract with the Capitals.

5 Jarome Iginla – March 27, 2013

Jerome Iginla was once the center and soul of the Calgary Flames, successful a handful of person awards (Artwork Ross, Lester B. Pearson, Maurice Richard) all the way through his 16 seasons in Alberta. He stays the longest-serving captain in membership historical past, assuming the position in 2003-04 ahead of a industry to the Penguins in 2013 ended his tenure. 

Jarome Iginla Flames
Iginla took satisfaction in being the Calgary Flames captain, serving the neighborhood any probability he were given. (Icon SMI)

This actual industry harm the Flames fanbase as a result of they watched Iginla develop from a tender guy into one of the most sport’s most valuable avid gamers. Sadly, the crew was once now not thought to be a Stanley Cup contender at this level of his occupation, failing to qualify for the playoffs for 5 seasons beginning in 2009. Iginla’s handiest shot at successful a hoop got here in 2004 when the Flames misplaced to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a seven-game collection. 

Dealing with loose company in the summertime of 2013 and unsure of his long term in Calgary, control traded their perfect participant on the closing date to the Penguins. In a three-for-one deal, the Penguins traded a first-round pick out, Kenny Agostino and Ben Hanowski for Iginla. For the primary time in his occupation, Iginla had a recent get started and scored 12 issues in 15 postseason video games because the Penguins misplaced within the Convention Finals that season. It will be the moment to ultimate time one of the most sport’s perfect purpose scorers would seem within the postseason. 

4 Joe Thornton – Nov. 30, 2005

The Boston Bruins drafted Joe Thornton with the primary total variety within the 1997 Access Draft. On the time, the Bruins had been suffering and in peril of shedding their contender standing after failing to make it deep into the postseason. As finalists in 1988 and 1990, they yielded the Stanley Cup, whilst back-to-back losses within the 1991 and 1992 convention finals had been the ultimate hurrah for a crew that featured Corridor of Famers like Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and Adam Oates. 

Joe Thornton
Many of us overlook that Thornton was once as soon as captain of the Boston Bruins. (Picture via Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Photographs)

The Bruins’ historical playoff run of 39 years resulted in 1996-97, signaling a metamorphosis within the hockey marketplace that was once unseen for just about a era. Thornton will be the franchise’s new face, selecting up the place Bourque left off every time he deliberate to retire. Sadly, as you are going to learn later, Bourque was once traded, and the Bruins was Thornton’s crew a lot faster than someone anticipated. 

Regardless of Thornton’s successes, the Bruins struggled and not went deep into the playoffs. Control felt it was once time to take the crew in a brand new course and traded their captain of 3 seasons out west to San Jose. The Bruins won Wayne Primeau, Brad Stuart, and Marco Sturm in a three-for-one deal. Thornton then set occupation highs with 96 assists and 125 issues to win the Artwork Ross and Hart Trophies with San Jose. To at the present time, Thornton is the one athlete within the 4 North American sports activities leagues historical past to be traded after which be named because the league’s Maximum Precious Participant (MVP) in the similar season. 

3 Mark Messier – Oct. 4, 1991

While you stroll into Madison Sq. Lawn and shut your eyes, you’ll most certainly nonetheless pay attention mythical commentator Sam Rosen yelling, “The ready is over — the New York Rangers are the Stanley Cup Champions! And this one will ultimate an entire life!” That second in hockey historical past won’t have took place if Mark Messier by no means asked a industry from the Oilers. (from ‘Mark Messier industry were given Rangers the appropriate participant at proper time,’ NY Publish, 06/09/2020)

Mark Messier of the New York Rangers
Messier is the one captain in NHL historical past to steer two other franchises to the Stanley Cup. (Picture via Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Photographs)

Messier was once a very important a part of the Oilers dynasty that gained 5 Stanley Cups titles in seven years, serving as captain all the way through the 1990 playoff run. He was once passed the “C” in a while after the Wayne Gretzky industry in August 1988. As a substitute of enjoying within the shadow of The Nice One, The Moose (Messier’s nickname) after all had the crew to himself. Messier proved to the hockey international he was once certainly a good looking chief who may just get effects via successful the league’s two Maximum Precious Participant awards in 1990. 

The Rangers traded Louie DeDrusk, Bernie Nicholls, Steven Rice, and long term concerns (David Shaw) for Messier and long term concerns (Jeff Beukeboom). Inside of 3 seasons of placing on a Rangers uniform, Messier led the Rangers to their first Presidents’ Trophy (1991), gained the Hart Memorial Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award for a moment time (1992), then assured a playoff victory ahead of scoring a hat trick, and after all broke the sport’s longest championship drought after 54 years. 

2 Ray Bourque – March 6, 2000

In one of the most league’s maximum emotional trades, the Bruins traded their longest-tenured participant to the Colorado Avalanche. Bourque was co-captain (with Rick Middleton) in 1985-86. He remained within the position till 2000, development a Corridor of Popularity occupation within the procedure. Bourque was once a 19-time All-Superstar and a five-time Norris Trophy winner, completing his occupation with 1,579 issues, maximum for a defenseman.

Ray Bourque Colorado Avalanche Joe Sakic
Maximum avid gamers wish to retire on most sensible. Bourque were given to are living out his dream and go away on his personal phrases. (Picture via B Bennett/Getty Photographs)

The industry broke the hearts of each fan within the New England house for the reason that guy who gave such a lot by no means gained the Stanley Cup with the black and gold. He asked a industry with the hope of touchdown with a contender and succeed in the one factor that had eluded him his whole occupation. 

The Avalanche despatched Martin Grenier, Samuel Pahlsson, Brian Rolston, and a 2000 or 2001 first-round pick out. The Bruins opted for a 2000 pick out, deciding on Martin Samuelsson. In the meantime, the Bruins despatched Bourque and Dave Andreychuk west to the Avalanche, who misplaced that season’s convention finals. Andreychuk moved on after the season, lacking out on Bourque’s send-off birthday celebration the following spring with the Cup held prime over his head. 

1 Wayne Gretzky – Aug. 9, 1988

It isn’t surprising that the industry that despatched The Nice One from a Stanley Cup champion to a Stanley Cup contender would are available as primary on any listing involving notable transactions in league historical past. 

The Edmonton Oilers traded their captain, the most efficient participant within the league, simply a few months after successful their fourth championship in 5 seasons. Integrated within the deal had been Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski from the Oilers. In the meantime, the Kings shipped one in every of their most sensible potentialities, Jimmy Carson, along side Martin Gelinas, and 3 first-round selections in 1989, 1991, and 1993. Rumors say that Oilers proprietor Peter Pocklington was once in monetary hassle, so Los Angeles integrated $15 million money within the deal. 

Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
The Gretzky industry in 1988 modified the sport eternally. (Picture via B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Photographs)

Edmonton carried on with out a lot interruption, successful the Stanley Cup once more in 1990. Since then, the franchise has handiest been to the Ultimate in 2006, shedding a Recreation 7 nail-biter to the Hurricanes. Los Angeles was an quick contender however failed of their handiest Ultimate look with Gretzky in 1993 to the Montreal Canadiens. 

The industry surprised the hockey international and assist construct the league’s popularity in California, which now has 3 franchises. When Gretzky agreed to the transaction, it confirmed that no participant is untouchable and that the NHL continues to be a industry on the finish of the day.  


The listing of NHL captains traded is beautiful lengthy. This newsletter highlighted one of the crucial maximum notable names and the affect the ones avid gamers had on their new groups. Many avid gamers go away groups by the use of loose company; alternatively, some discovered themselves in one of the crucial most vital trades in league historical past. 

The sport’s biggest participant was once dealt two times in his occupation, this means that that anybody is tradeable for the appropriate value. When superstars like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews don’t prolong their contracts at the first day of eligibility, their names pop up within the rumor mill, and may just regulate the construction of this listing in the event that they finally end up dealt sooner or later all the way through their careers. 

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