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NHL.com's Online Magazine
March/2003, Vol. 1, Issue 6
  • Even Gretzky wasn't immune to wheelin' and dealin'

  • NHL.com's top 15 trades since 1980

  • GMs Pleau, Waddell take you inside the trade game

  • Wigge: Making magic at the deadline

  • Blake, Kovalev know all about living with trade rumors

  • Trades put players' wives to the test

  • A look back at 2002 trade deadline deals

  • Behind the scenes: Small transaction spurs big activity

  • Photo of the month

  • Back issues of Impact

    Rod Langway
    Rod Langway's arrival in Washington not only ushered a new generation of success for the Caps, it spawned one of the game's best nicknames: "Secretary of Defense."

    Trades that made a difference
    NHL.com's top 15 trades since 1980
    By Phil Coffey | NHL.com

    Throughout the course of its history, there have been thousands of trades in the NHL, many have been insignificant, others have been blockbusters that dominated headlines.

    For this issue of Impact!, NHL.com looks at 15 trades from 1980 to the present that made a difference for one or both of the clubs involved in the swaps.

    Goring to the Islanders (1980) -- Coming off consecutive first-round failures with a star-studded team, New York Islanders GM Bill Torrey made the first of his many savvy deals by acquiring veteran center Butch Goring from the Los Angeles Kings for forward Billy Harris and defenseman Dave Lewis.

    Goring not only went on to win a Conn Smythe Trophy during the Islanders' four-straight Stanley Cup triumphs, but he provided the immediate impact of convincing a young Islanders team that it was ready to win immediately. In many respects this is the prototypical trade at the deadline as it put a very good team over the top in its quest for the Cup.

    Langway helps save the Caps (1982) -- The Washington Capitals had missed the playoffs for eight-straight seasons and something had to be done. With new GM David Poile on the job for less than two weeks, he reached for that something, making a huge trade with the Montreal Canadiens that brought back four players who stabilized the franchise.

    Defenseman Rod Langway became the "Secretary of Defense" for the Caps and forwards Doug Jarvis and Craig Laughlin were solid performers, as was defenseman Brian Engblom, who was traded to Los Angeles the next season for veteran defenseman Larry Murphy. Combined with former first-round pick Scott Stevens, the Capitals had a defense to build a successful team around.

    Because the new Capitals had such a dramatic impact in Washington, it's often overlooked that the Canadiens got two very good players in the deal in forward Ryan Walter and defenseman Rick Green.

    Cam Neely
    The Bruins obtaIned Cam Neely from the Vancouver Canucks with few believing they would be obtaining a franchise player and a future Bruins' icon.
    But this deal is remembered primarily for putting Washington on the hockey map and establishing Poile's reputation as a smart GM.

    Neely comes to Boston (1986) -- The trade is remembered in infamy in Vancouver and the name Cam Neely remains venerated in Boston. But in the context of the time, it certainly didn't appear as lopsided as it became.

    Neely, a former first-round pick of the Canucks, was slow in developing and the Canucks opted to move him to the East Coast. They swapped Neely and a 1987 first-round pick to the Bruins for center Barry Pederson.

    That's when it gets ugly for the Canucks. The draft pick became defenseman Glen Wesley and Neely became, well, Neely, one of the most productive loved/feared power forwards in NHL history.

    Pederson, a strong player in Boston, did score 60 goals and 137 assists in 233 games with the Canucks, but that production paled in comparison to the rampage Neely put on in becoming the textbook definition of the power forward and one of the most popular Bruins ever. Neely scored 344 goals and 246 assists in 525 regular-season games and another 55 goals and 32 assists in 86 playoff games. Wesley appeared in more than 500 regular-season games and 100 more playoff games for Boston before he was swapped to Hartford in 1994 for first-round picks in the 1995, '96 and '97 drafts.

    All in all, a windfall for the Bruins.