On Wednesday, the Washington Capitals published a guide for the upcoming NHL draft (June 27th), and it is awesome. One thing that I learned is that the Caps have historically been active on draft day. The team has made 20 draft day trades overall, including one in each of the past six years. The most notable moves lately have been the acquisitions of Troy “No Emmy” Brouwer and Mike “2 Chainz” Ribeiro.
If you take a fine-toothed comb to that list, one stunning factoid reveals itself. The Caps have essentially traded away two hall of fame players in draft day deals and gotten none in return.
On June 13th, 1987, the Washington Capitals acquired Clint Malarchuk and Dale Hunter from Quebec for Gaetan Duchesne, Alan Haworth, and a first-round pick in the 1987 Entry Draft. At that point in his career, Hunter was nearly a point-per game player with Quebec. This seemed like a huge coup for the Caps at the time.
Then those bastard Nordiques made their draft pick. With the 15th overall selection, Quebec drafted from the Swift Current Broncos Joe Sakic.
If we ignore the silverware, this deal worked out just fine for both teams. Hunter would captain the Capitals for what seemed like forever and led the team to a failed Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1998. And how can we forget this goal? He scored 181 goals in a Caps uniform, he beat the living tar out of a lot of tough guys, and he tallied over 1,000 points in his career.
Sakic, however, would bring the Quebec franchise to the promised land (by way of Denver). He led the Avalanche to two Stanley Cups. He was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy in 1996, the Hart trophy in 2001, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame (along with Adam Oates) in 2012. Okay, this is getting sad.
This is the only card of Kevin Miller in a Caps jersey, but it’s a good one.
Five years later, on June 20, 1992, the Caps acquired Kevin Miller from Detroit. In return, they dealt Dino Ciccarelli to Motown.
The reason: money.
To avoid paying the popular Ciccarelli a hefty salary increase, Washington owner Abe Pollin dealt the 29-year-old right winger to the Detroit Red Wings last June for Kevin Miller.
It was a disaster.
Miller failed to score even one goal in 10 games for the Capitals and was traded recently to the St. Louis Blues for defenseman Paul Cavallini.
Through his first 23 games, on the other hand, Ciccarelli, who had 38 goals last season and 112 in his four seasons with the Caps, had 11 goals and 20 assists. He had scored more points than Red Wings teammates Sergei Fedorov and Jimmy Carson.
Dino went on to score 104 goals in 254 goals with the Red Wings, including 41 in 1992-93.
“At the time it seemed like the thing to do,” Abe Pollin said to philly.com. “But so far, this hasn’t been one of our better trades.”
No, it wasn’t.
Ciccarelli was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010 after scoring 1,200 points and 608 career goals, the most goals scored by a draft-eligible player who was never drafted by an NHL team.
Here are the rest of the draft day deals.
Please notice there are a lot of solid moves in this, such as trading up to pick Philipp Grubauer and acquiring Alan May for a fifth round pick in 1989. Imagine life without Alan May.
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