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Anatomy of a deal

Tuesday, 08.05.2008 / 6:30 PM / 20th Anniversary of the Greatest Deal

By Staff

After leading the Edmonton Oilers to their fourth Stanley Cup in five years, Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on August 9, 1988.
May 26, 1988
Gretzky and the Oilers win their fourth Stanley Cup in five years, sweeping the Boston Bruins in four straight games.

May 27, 1988
Gretzky learns about a possible trade to Vancouver. A group of Vancouver businessmen who are attempting to buy the Canucks had offered Oilers’ owner Peter Pocklington over $20 million for Gretzky.

August 4, 1988
The Los Angeles Times reports the ‘Gretzky-to-L.A.’ trade rumors. Both teams dismissed the trade speculation. Oilers’ GM Glen Sather told the Edmonton Journal: ''it's a rumor, leave it at that. These sort of things have been discussed for the last six years.”

August 9, 1988 – Trade Day
Pocklington and Kings’ owner Bruce McNall complete one of the biggest   trades in NHL history early Tuesday morning, sending Gretzky, Mike Krushelnyski and Marty McSorley to Los Angeles for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas (selected 7th overall in 1988), Los Angeles’ first round Entry Draft choices in 1989 (traded to New Jersey, who selected C Jason Miller) 1991 (LW Martin Rucinsky) and 1993 (D Nick Stajduhar) and an undisclosed amount of money (later determined to be $15 million).

An Edmonton press conference is called in the morning to announce the trade. Prior to the press conference, Sather pulls Gretzky aside to give him a chance to stop the trade, but a tearful Gretzky addressed a room full of more than 200 reporters before being unable to continue.

Gretzky and McNall return to Los Angeles for an evening press conference at the Sheraton Plaza La ReinaGretzky dons the Kings jersey, complete with the silver 99, for the first time.

Quote of the Day

Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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