Calgary Flames Trade History: Best and Worst Trades of All-Time

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The History of Trade is a mini series going through each team’s best and worst trades of all time. Each team has their own history and some may cross over, but the series will try to stick to each team. This article will focus on the Calgary Flames trade history, finding the best and worst of all time.

Calgary Flames Trade History: Best and Worst Trades of All-Time

Calgary is the first of the Canadian teams to be examined in this series. The Flames have been involved in several major trades in their history. As you will see, in the 1980’s the Flames and St. Louis Blues had an intriguing give-and-take relationship when it came to trades.

Best Trade

The Flames have been involved in some of the shrewdest trades in NHL history. Through these trades, most notably in the 80’s, the Flames were able to assemble a very talented team. They were somehow able to acquire players such as Lanny McDonald and Joe Mullen for spare parts.

The Trade

September 6, 1988

The Flames trade Mike Bullard, Tim Corkery and Craig Coxe to Saint Louis for Steve Bozek, Michael Dark, Doug Gilmour and Mark Hunter.

Traded Away

In one of the shrewdest trades in NHL history, the Calgary Flames acquired a future hall of fame forward for next to nothing. The trade pushed the Flames over the top and they went on to win the Stanley Cup in 1989. Unfortunately for the Blues, all the players they acquired were not able to stick with the team past one season. While an ugly off ice situation led to the Blues shopping Gilmour, the return for him is inexcusable. Maybe the Blues were returning the favour? (More on that later)

Mike Bullard had a decent run in the NHL as a goal scorer. He score 20 goals or more in his first eight seasons in the NHL. Still, he would only last 20 games with the Blues before he was traded to Philadelphia. Tough guy Craig Coxe would only play 41 games for the Blues in the 1988-89 season. Tom Corkery would never make it to the NHL.

The Blues traded away a hall of fame player for three players that played a total of 61 combined games for the team.

The Return

Had Doug Gilmour not even been a part of this trade, the Flames would still look good. The fact that they were able to land a hall of fame player for spare parts means they make out like bandits. While Glimour was the centrepiece of the trade, the Flames did get another serviceable player.

Mark Hunter would play parts of three season’s in Calgary. He scored 22 goals in the 1988-89 season for the Flames. While Hunter’s best days were behind him, he was still very useful on the Flames bottom six forwards.

Gilmour seemed to be the missing piece of the Flames Stanley Cup puzzle. The Flames had one of the better teams in the mid to late 80’s but always had to play in the shadow of their provincial rival, the Edmonton Oilers. Gilmour had an immediate impact finishing tied for second in team scoring with 85 points. The Flames won the Presidents Trophy and the Stanley Cup in 1989. In the playoffs, Gilmour continued his strong play, scoring 22 points in 22 games, including the cup-clinching goal for the Flames.

Gilmour had three and a half very productive season in Calgary, before a contract dispute led to him demanding a trade and walking out on the team.

Honourable Mention

Calgary acquires Joe Mullen, Terry Johnson and Rik Wilson from Saint Louis for Eddy Beers, Charles Bourgois and Gino Cavallini; Calgary acquires Lanny McDonald and a 1983 fourth round pick from Colorado for Don Lever and Bob MacMillan; Flames trade Joe Nieuwendyk to Dallas for Jarome Iginla and Corey Millen; Flames acquire Miikka Kiprusoff form San Jose for a 2005 second round pick.

Worst Trade

The Flames were very close to making their best and worst trade with the same person being at the centre of it. Doug Gilmour‘s trade from Calgary to Toronto was almost as bad as the one he was acquired for. Still, the Flames made an ever worse trade a few months prior.

The Trade

March 7, 1988

The Flames trade Brett Hull and Steve Bozek to St. Louis for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley.

Traded Away

The Flames were trying to add that last piece to push them to a Stanley Cup. Unfortunately for them, they sacrificed one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history in what has become one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history. Who knows how good the Flames could have been had they held on to Hull.

Brett Hull was having a great rookie season in 1987-88. Through 52 games Hull had 25 goals and 50 points. Then he was traded to St. Louis. Hull broke out in St. Louis. In his 10 season’s with the Blues Hull never scored less than 27 goals in a season. From 1989-90 season to the 1991-92 season Hull would score 72, 86, and 70 goals respectively. In his 10 full seasons with the Blues, Hull averaged 52 goals a season. in the 1990-91 season he would win the Hart Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player in the NHL and Lester B. Pearson (Now the Ted Lindsay award) as the MVP as voted on by the players. Hull is now in the hall of fame and was recently names as one of the top 100 players in NHL history.

Steve Bozek is on this list for the second time. Bozek was a reliable two-way player in the NHL for 11 seasons. His time with the Blues was short lived however as he was flipped back to the Flames as part of the Doug Gilmour trade in September of 1988.

The Return

While the Flames did find playoff success after making this trade, it still looks terrible. Trading away a generational talent like Brett Hull should have brought back a much higher return. Even still, the Flames would have been better off keeping Hull. Sure, the Flames won a Cup in 1989, but in the following 14 seasons the Flames found little success. The Flames would make the playoffs six of the following seven seasons, but fail to win a series. Starting in 1995, the Flames would endure seven straight seasons without qualifying for the playoffs.

The Flames received solid but unspectacular defensemen Rob Ramage as the main return for Hull. Ramage would only be with the Flames for one whole season, but was a part of the Flames Stanley Cup win in 1989. Ramage was soon traded to Toronto for a second round pick in the summer of ’89.

Rick Wamsley was Mike Vernon‘s backup in his time in Calgary. Wamsley posted decent numbers in the regular season with Calgary, but was a non-factor in their Cup run in ’89. He was traded away in the Doug Gilmour trade to Toronto in 1992.

Dishonourable Mentions: Calgary trades Doug Gilmour, Jamie Macoun, Kent Manderville, Ric Nattress and Rick Wamsley to Toronto for Craig Berube, Alexander Godynyuk, Gary Leeman, Michel Petit and Jeff Reese; Calgary trades Joe Mullen to Pittsburgh for 1990 second round pick; Flames trade Marc Savard to Atlanta for Ruslan Zainullin

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