(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 2nd favourite 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.
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.