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Trade deadline move changed direction of Hull's life

Wednesday, 02.16.2011 / 11:19 AM / 2011 Trade Deadline

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Trade deadline move changed direction of Hull's life
Brett Hull was 23 years old when the Calgary Flames traded him to the St. Louis Blues at the 1988 trade deadline. It was a move that worked extremely well for Hull.
Brett Hull vividly remembers the day that changed the course of his hockey career, probably even his life.

It was March 7, 1988. He was 23 years old.

"I was walking into the rink that day with Paul Reinhart and we were talking about [the trade deadline]," Hull, who was with the Calgary Flames at the time, told NHL.com. "He goes, 'You don't have to worry about it, you're going to be a great goal scorer for a long time and they're not going to get rid of you.'"

Oh, but the Flames did -- that very day, in fact.

"They were searching for pieces to win a Stanley Cup," Hull said.

Hull didn't fit into the puzzle. He had 50 points in 52 games, but the Flames were loaded at right wing (Lanny MacDonald, Hakan Loob, Joe Mullen, Mark Hunter), and Hull never really got along with coach Terry Crisp. He was a healthy scratch on more than just a couple of occasions.

"So I go into his office and he says, 'Son, you've been traded.' I just said, 'Tell me it's somewhere good.' That's all I cared about. I didn't know much about St. Louis, but it was the greatest thing to happen in my career." -- Brett Hull

Flames GM Cliff Fletcher sent Hull and Steve Bozek to the Blues for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley.

"I go into the dressing room, I'm sitting there and the trainer comes up to me and says, 'Coach wants to see you,'" Hull said. "I'm like, 'Oh boy.' So I go into his office and he says, 'Son, you've been traded.' I just said, 'Tell me it's somewhere good.' That's all I cared about.

"I didn't know much about St. Louis, but it was the greatest thing to happen in my career."

Ramage and Wamsley played roles in the Flames' Cup run in 1989. Hull, meanwhile, turned into a superstar in St. Louis. He scored 527 goals with the Blues, and twice scored 50 in 50 games. He won the Hart Trophy in 1991 after scoring 86 goals that season.

"I don't think [getting traded] was a big deal for me because I was so young," Hull said. "I only played 50 or so games in the NHL and St. Louis was young at that time, too. Guys like Bernie Federko, Doug Gilmour, Brian Sutter and Greg Millen were just so professional and treated me like I'd been there forever. It was pretty neat."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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