Flames Best Trades

Kent Wilson
February 15 2011 10:07AM

 

(Rob Vollman of Hockey Prospectus returns to detail some of the best trade in Flames Franchise history)

As recompense for recently re-visiting the worst trades in Calgary Flames history, here are the best trades in Flames history.  They’re ranked based on the value of the asset at the time it was acquired, using their combined career GVT from that point forward, regardless if the players were subsequently moved elsewhere.

1.) Doug Gilmour

As painful as it was to see Doug Gilmour go to Toronto in one of the worst trades in franchise history, always remember how easily he was acquired in the first place. In their shrewdest acquisition ever, the Calgary Flames sent Mike Bullard (no, not the talk-show host), enforcer Craig Coxe and non-NHLer Tim Corkery for a 25-year-old Doug Gilmour, wingers Mark Hunter and Steve Bozek, and depth defenseman Michael Dark.   According to GVT, the Flames gained 190 goals of value in this one transaction.

2.) Joey Mullen

The Gilmour trade wasn’t the first time the Flames had plundered the St. Louis Blues, as three seasons previous they picked up Joey Mullen, along with Terry Johnson and Rik Wilson, for Eddy Beers, Charlie Bourgeois and Gino Cavallini.  Even if he hadn’t suffered a career-ending back injury the next pre-season, it’s doubtful that Beers could have put up the Hall of Fame numbers that Mullen did, including three straight 40-goal seasons.

The Flames gained 115.5 goals in value with the Mullen deal, making is 305.5 goals in total.  If you’re starting to feel guilty about the Stanley Cup that could have rightfully belonged to St. Louis, don’t.  First of all, the Blues took Calgary for 263.7 goals in the Brett Hull deal, and both Gilmour and Mullen (Pittsburgh) were both dealt away for nothing a couple years later.

3.) Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Andrew Cassels

Many fans might have expected the Miikka Kiprusoff deal to have been the biggest steal in Calgary’s history, but the Giguere deal is far ahead.  The Flames gained assets worth 110.2 goals in value (and counting) when they picked up Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Andrew Cassels from the Hartford Whalers for Gary Roberts and Trevor Kidd.

4.) Michael Nylander and James Patrick

If Calgary had a 2ndfavourite target after St. Louis, it would certainly be Hartford.  In an a largely overlook but defining trade, the Flames gave up Gary Suter, Paul Ranheim and Ted Drury for Michael Nylander and James Patrick.  The Flames gained 107.4 goals in future value over the Whalers, taking them for at least 217.6 goals between the two deals.

5 .) Jarome Iginla

In a time where small-market Canadian teams had to sacrifice their assets, give the Flames credit for actually winning the deal that sent superstar Joe Nieuwendyk to the Dallas Stars for prospect Jarome Iginla.  Despite Nieuwendyk’s amazing post-trade accomplishments, Iginla has already exceeded them by 101.3 goals of value, not counting this season.  As the Flames captain continues his career, this trade could easily climb all the way to the top.

6.) Miikka Kiprusoff

When Darryl Sutter arrived in Calgary, he knew exactly which flower to pluck from his former team.  The San Jose Sharks may have received the pick they used on Marc-Edouard Vlasic, but they gave up a Vezina winner, and are so far losing this trade by 87.7 goals.

7.) Lanny McDonald

Probably the first fantastic Flames trade after arriving from Atlanta was to convince the Colorado Rockies to part with mustachioed superstar Lanny McDonald, along with the draft choice used for Mikko Makela, for Bob MacMillan and Don Lever.  Flames won the deal by 69.9 goals.

8.) Doug Risebourgh and Frantisek Musil

It’s not hard to win a deal where you get something for nothing, and when the Montreal Canadiens sent the Flames a valuable role player and a draft choice used for another, that’s exactly what they did.  Neither of the two draft picks they received in exchange even made the NHL, costing the Habs 64.8 goals.

9.) Carey Wilson

The Flames have had good luck trading players named Cyr in the early 80s.  They acquired prospect Carey Wilson from the Chicago Blackhawks for Denis Cyr in 1981-82, and then picked up Dan Quinn, Richard Kromm, Richie Dunn and Don Edwards from the Buffalo Sabres for Paul Cyr, along with Jens Johansson, Normand Lacombe and John Tucker.

Carey Wilson enjoyed five straight 20-goal seasons, and helped net the Flames 53.5 goals in value in this one trade.

10.)  Kristian Huselius

Kristian Huselius was stolen from the Florida Panthers for Steve Montador and Dustin Johner. If he had stayed with the Flames for more than just two more seasons, Calgary would have enjoyed the entire 47.9 goals of excess value from this trade – and counting.

Other Trades

The trades for Jordan Leopold just barely missed this list, as did the deal that sent Denis Gauthier and Oleg Saprykin to the Phoenix Coyotes for Daymond Langkow.

If you include the Atlanta Flames, 3rd place would actually belong to yet another St. Louis ravaging, when they acquired Bob MacMillan and Dick Redmond, along with Yves Belanger and a draft pick, for Phil Myre, Barry Gibbs (who would go on to form a disco group – just kidding!) and Curt Bennett.  This trade looks even better when you consider that Bob MacMillan was later used to acquire Lanny McDonald.

The other big Atlanta deal that shows up on the radar just head of the Lanny deal was next season when they picked up Phil Russell, Ivan Boldirev and Darcy Rota from the Chicago Blackhawks for Tom Lysiak and some loose change (Pat Ribble, Greg Fox, Miles Zaharko and Harold Phillipoff).  Too bad Boldirev and Rota were subsequently dealt to Vancouver for Don Lever and Brad Smith.

The Best Trade

For some reason it’s always easier to remember the really bad trades than the good ones.  The Flames may have lost Doug Gilmour and Brett Hull for nothing, but remember that they got Gilmour for very little, and they certainly won their fair share of trades with St. Louis (and Hartford, for that matter).

Another important reminder is that as great as the acquisitions of Lanny McDonald, Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff were, there were at least four other deals that could have been even better had they held on to players like Gilmour, Mullen, Giguere, Cassels, Nylander and Patrick.  The lesson here is that it’s one thing to get a player with a great trade, and quite another to keep him.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Domebeers.com
February 15 2011, 10:16AM
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I have a partying in Banff with Marc-Edouard Vlasic story.

It involves Mike Smith and him sharing a room, and us walking into it while Marc is with a lady, and without breaking, err, stride, he goes "Mike, boys, whats up"

Hockey players, gotta love em.

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#2 Vintage Flame
February 15 2011, 10:33AM
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Wow.. I have a real problem agreeing with #3. J.S. Giguere and Andrew Cassels over Gary Roberts and Trevor Kidd?

I would have to consider Giguere and Kidd a wash in NHL performance. Giguere was nothing exciting in Calgary and never challenged to have his name mentioned in the likes of Mike Vernon or Even Reggie Lemelin. Hell, Fred Brathwaite made a bigger impact in Calgary than Giguere did. J.S. belongs in the same conversation as Trevor Kidd, and probably Dwayne Roloson.

Which brings me to Roberts vs. Cassels? This isn't even close. I don't care what numbers say. What Roberts contributed to the Flames, and even later with the Leafs... Coming back after breaking his neck.. He was a 50 goal scorer, and played like it was game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final EVERY night.

If I'm Crosby or Staal in that All Star game drafting players, I'm taking Roberts over Cassels every time.

The Ralph the Dog trade for Harvey the Hound had more impact than Giguere..

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#3 marty
February 15 2011, 10:34AM
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I would just like to point out that Steve Bozek was aquired from the kings (Traded to Calgary Flames by Los Angeles Kings for Carl Mokosak and Kevin Lavallee on June 20, 1983). He was later sent to the blues in the Hull deal.

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#4 icedawg_42
February 15 2011, 10:37AM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Wow.. I have a real problem agreeing with #3. J.S. Giguere and Andrew Cassels over Gary Roberts and Trevor Kidd?

I would have to consider Giguere and Kidd a wash in NHL performance. Giguere was nothing exciting in Calgary and never challenged to have his name mentioned in the likes of Mike Vernon or Even Reggie Lemelin. Hell, Fred Brathwaite made a bigger impact in Calgary than Giguere did. J.S. belongs in the same conversation as Trevor Kidd, and probably Dwayne Roloson.

Which brings me to Roberts vs. Cassels? This isn't even close. I don't care what numbers say. What Roberts contributed to the Flames, and even later with the Leafs... Coming back after breaking his neck.. He was a 50 goal scorer, and played like it was game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final EVERY night.

If I'm Crosby or Staal in that All Star game drafting players, I'm taking Roberts over Cassels every time.

The Ralph the Dog trade for Harvey the Hound had more impact than Giguere..

I think these snippets are based solely on GVT, or numbers, not character or what the players meant to fans - otherwise I'm 100% with you on Roberts over Cassels. I was never really high on Kidd.

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#5 Vintage Flame
February 15 2011, 11:05AM
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@icedawg_42

"I think these snippets are based solely on GVT, or numbers, not character or what the players meant to fans - otherwise I'm 100% with you on Roberts over Cassels. I was never really high on Kidd.

Kidd had all the promise in the world and I really think he could have been a good goalie for Calgary, but they messed up. When he wrecked his knee in Junior, it changed his playing style. You have to remember he was the starting goalie over Felix Potvin for Canada in the juniors. And he deserved it, because he was a better goalie than Potvin.

But the Flames rode Vernon for so long, and he played so many games in the year [sound familiar??] that they basically left Kidd to rot in the minors. He never got the chance, like Potvin, to develop as an NHL goalie.

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#6 the-wolf
February 15 2011, 12:54PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

"I think these snippets are based solely on GVT, or numbers, not character or what the players meant to fans - otherwise I'm 100% with you on Roberts over Cassels. I was never really high on Kidd.

Kidd had all the promise in the world and I really think he could have been a good goalie for Calgary, but they messed up. When he wrecked his knee in Junior, it changed his playing style. You have to remember he was the starting goalie over Felix Potvin for Canada in the juniors. And he deserved it, because he was a better goalie than Potvin.

But the Flames rode Vernon for so long, and he played so many games in the year [sound familiar??] that they basically left Kidd to rot in the minors. He never got the chance, like Potvin, to develop as an NHL goalie.

Kidd was hampered by injuries, especially when he broke his leg, but the Flames made a massiv emsitake in letting him leave junior to play for the National Team, it cost him huge developmetn-wise as he played way less games against largely under-motivated players.

Agree on the whole Roberts thing, I'd have prefered to keep him. That kind of leadership doesn't come along very often.

Same with the Suter deal. Sorry, but of course there's less goals going the other way, he's a defenseman.

Iginla, too. Nieuwy won 2 more Cups with 2 different teams. Iginla? 'Nuff said.

Yes, somehow the thought of having kept Joe, Gary, Gary and a bunch of those others seems better than the supposed "advantage" we got back in terms of goal production.

It's a bit of a hollow stat to me, but I agree with the rest. "Keeping your stars" is the trick, indeed.

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#7 Vintage Flame
February 15 2011, 01:41PM
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@the-wolf

Same with the Suter deal. Sorry, but of course there's less goals going the other way, he's a defenseman.

Ya Suter was a big loss. Zalapski was brutal. It's interesting. There is a thread out there where some guy actually traced the lineage of trading Gary Suter for Jay Bouwmeester.. Sounds weird eh. I'm not willing to do the research to see if he is right, but if you want, check it out. http://forum.calgarypuck.com/showthread.php?t=76462

Iginla, too. Nieuwy won 2 more Cups with 2 different teams. Iginla? 'Nuff said.

Yeah, this is a coin flip right. I was a big fan of Nieuwy.. Probably tied for my 3rd fav all time, but then again Nieuwy walked out on this team which prompted the trade, and why his number will never be retired here. Iggy is this franchise, but it's hard to ignore Nieuwy's 2 Cups after he left.. AND a Conn Smythe.

Yes, somehow the thought of having kept Joe, Gary, Gary and a bunch of those others seems better than the supposed "advantage" we got back in terms of goal production.

I think none of these trades were avoidable, The Flames had to decide between Suter and MacInnis, they made their choice.. Then traded Al later, but that's another story. Rob's was a huge loss, but let's face it.. It needed to happen.

This is probably why I'd have to say the Kipper trade HAS to be #3 on this list. Without getting him, who knows if this team is even still around?

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#8 Parallex
February 15 2011, 02:44PM
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C'mon guys,

This is obviously based off of individual career statistical performance post-trade (I'm going to presume that GVT is a hockey rough equivalent to WAR or RAR in baseball sabermetrics) not Stanley Cups won, "Heart", or how much you liked that guy, or any other random intangible quality. They're pretty hard to dispute on that basis.

Although TBQH I think the +/- stat is bunk to the point that I don't think the contributions of blueliners are properly accounted for in GVT. Then again I can't think of a better alternative that's been historically tracked so what do I know.

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#9 Rain Dogs
February 15 2011, 02:58PM
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@Rob Vollman:"Another important reminder is that as great as the acquisitions of ...Miikka Kiprusoff were, there were at least four other deals that could have been even better had they held on to players like ... Giguere."

Uh... huh? It's quite possible I don't understand what extra magic is involved in GVT, but I don't see how keeping Giguere would have been "even better" than acquiring Kiprusoff.

1. Both of their trades involved second round picks, one out and one in, so that's a wash.

2. Career Statistics there is little that indicates Giguere has been "better"

Shots Faced Career: Kiprusoff: 13,849 (508GP) Giggy: 14,315 (519GP)

Goals Against: Kipper: 1211 (12638 saves) Giggy: 1251 (13064 saves)

Sv%/GAA/SO Career: Kiprusoff: .913, 2.46, 37SO Giggy: .913, 2.53, 34SO

It's so similar, it's pretty uncanny, other than: three shutouts and a bit better GAA for Kipper.

3. However, when comparing at ev strength and during their "starting goalie" years 03/04 - today, Kiprusoff has seen many more shots against and made more saves.

Kiprusoff: 9536 evsa, .925 evsv%

Giguere: 6990 evsa, .924 evsv%

4. In the last three years, as they both age:

Kipper (34yrs): 4252 evsa, 3900svs, .917%evsv

Giguere (33yrs): 2311 evsa, 2106svs, .911%evsv

In these last three years when Calgary has really struggled, Giguere, with a .911evsv% would have allowed 26 more 5 on 5 goals against. That's 4 wins and 8 points, which may have furthered three years of missing the playoffs. I know many people hold JS Giguere in very high regard, but I don't see stats that support that he would have been much better in goal for Calgary than Kiprusoff has been. I don't think the team argument floats either, Anaheim was a very good team, and Giguere has only faced about 1000 shots in Toronto.

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#10 B
February 15 2011, 07:13PM
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...I've been pondering the Tomas Kaberle situation lately. It sounds like he is going to be traded to Boston. From the sounds of things, the Leafs want a forward in return. Blake Wheeler for Tomas Kaberle?

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#11 Vintage Flame
February 15 2011, 09:04PM
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@B

Hmmm Boston aquires Chris Kelly from Ott for a 2nd round pick.

Wonder if that affects the Kaberle talks?

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#12 FireOnIce
February 15 2011, 09:51PM
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Apparently the Bruins are still looking for a defenseman...

Perhaps Sarich or Staios might interest them? At least get a pick, or someone like Wheeler out of it.

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#13 Sean Elekes
February 16 2011, 02:55AM
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@Vintage Flame

Trevor Kidd was crap. Common, a better goalie than Potvin in the NHL. What happened in game 7 double overtime 95 playoffs, against the Sharks. Kidd's overrated.

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#14 Sean Elekes
February 16 2011, 03:11AM
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Draft picks are overrated. Only 13% of players drafted make the NHL. 50 NHL contracts per year/team, 23 under the big club. Not much left after a 3 year entry level contract. Toronto will get very little for Tomas Kaberle. Most likely will get 2nd, & conditional 3rd or 4th and mabye a roster player. Burke once again overplays the market.

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#15 Robert V
February 16 2011, 09:55AM
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Thanks again to everyone for reading and sharing their thoughts.

Giguere vs Kidd is not a wash. Remember we're not just looking at a player's time as a Flame, but their over-all future value at the time of the trade. Giguere accomplished far, far, far more than Kidd since 1997-98.

But yes, I agree Roberts accomplished more after that trade than Cassels, but not by very much (11.5 goals, in fact).

As for Bozek, he has been traded to Calgary twice in his career, and yes the first time was by Los Angeles, but he was shipped off to the Blues as part of the Hull deal, and then brought back in the Gilmour deal.

Parallex, have you checked out Alan Ryder's Player Contributions at HockeyAnalytics.com? GVT is based on simpler statistics which makes it less accurate defensively, but allows you to compare across different leagues and era, but PC uses more advanced statistics, and has more accuracy (but is only available for modern-era NHL).

Lawrence, love the analysis of Giguere vs Kiprusoff, but Giguere has still accomplished slightly more in the past 13 years than Kipper in the last 5. Furthermore, the Flames gave up the pick for Vlasic in the Kipper deal, which is worth slightly more than downgrading Roberts to Cassels and tossing in Kidd.

Once again, thanks everyone. Let me know if there's any other analyses you'd like to see in the future.

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#16 Resolute
February 16 2011, 10:17AM
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Parallex wrote:

C'mon guys,

This is obviously based off of individual career statistical performance post-trade (I'm going to presume that GVT is a hockey rough equivalent to WAR or RAR in baseball sabermetrics) not Stanley Cups won, "Heart", or how much you liked that guy, or any other random intangible quality. They're pretty hard to dispute on that basis.

Although TBQH I think the +/- stat is bunk to the point that I don't think the contributions of blueliners are properly accounted for in GVT. Then again I can't think of a better alternative that's been historically tracked so what do I know.

Also, "Stanley Cups won" is also just about the worst argument on earth in a "who's better?" debate. That argument says Matt Cooke is better than Alexander Ovechkin.

That being said, I don't feel that intangibles and emotion can be stripped out of the equation. Take the Kent Nilsson for two second rounders trade. First off, I'm not sure how that doesn't make the list statistically given Nilsson played only 120 more NHL games and scored the same number of points while Nieuwendyk and Matteau went on to play 2000 NHL games and scored nearly 1500 points. But more than that, removing Nilsson's "Lose by six? Lose by seven? What's the difference?" attitude was a major contributing factor to the organization's development from being a middling group to one that would have won several Stanley Cups if not for the Oilers.

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#17 steve
February 16 2011, 03:45PM
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Umm you guys are done so who cares.

WE HAVE HOPE!

Hall Omark Pajarvi Eberle

YOu guys have NOTHING!

Oh btw we will also get one of Larson or Nugent Hopkins.

Best trade for Oilers was giving you guys Staios for a third roun pick. NICE WORK FLAMERS

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#18 Rain Dogs
February 16 2011, 06:21PM
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@Robert V

"Lawrence, love the analysis of Giguere vs Kiprusoff, but Giguere has still accomplished slightly more in the past 13 years than Kipper in the last 5."

This is a joke right? or some heavy confirmation bias? Where do you see 13 years and 5? and why would you compare 13 years with 5 years anyway? They've played within 11 career games of one another. Care to elaborate?, cause I, and I imagine many people, don't follow at all.

"Furthermore, the Flames gave up the pick for Vlasic in the Kipper deal, which is worth slightly more than downgrading Roberts to Cassels and tossing in Kidd."

Again, this makes no sense to me. Your statement was that the Flames would have been "even better" had they kept Giguere and not acquired Kiprusoff.

OR in other words... not traded Giguere for a second, and not used a second to get Kiprusoff.

That's the same currency: a goalie for a second round pick. I'm not talking about Kidd/Roberts, I'm talking about Giguere staying and not getting Kipper. We're not comparing Trevor Kidd, I have no interest in comparing Kidd to Giguere...and it has nothing to do with Trevor Kidd, unless you're measuring Giguere's worth as a goalie based on who he was once traded for early in his career... which would be mind-numbing.

I understand your assertion that you can use GVT to see who won a trade, but it's a specious argument that the same GVT number somehow reflects a level of skill when compared to a player not involved in the transaction.

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#19 Adrian
February 21 2011, 06:14PM
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Hi Folks, I like the Calgary Flames and I hope they make the playoffs. But, who in the world designed their uniforms for the Winter Classics? They look like a bunch of jailbirds or something out of a Walt Disney movie. Surely someone could have designed better uniforms than that!

Good luck Flames! Adrian

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