35 years ago today, the Capitals made the biggest trades in franchise history, acquiring eventual Hall of Fame defenseman Rod Langway as well as Craig Laughlin, Doug Jarvis, and Brian Engblom from the Montreal Canadiens. The Capitals sent 38-goal-scorer
Ryan Walter and 1976 first-overall pick Rick Green back to the Habs in exchange.
33-year-old rookie general manager David Poile, 10 days removed from being hired by owner Abe Polin, completed the blockbuster trade that would shape the franchise for years to come. But there was one problem. Walter was Pollin’s favorite player. According to a Ben Raby/NHL.com interview with Poile, Pollin’s reaction was classic: “You did what? Well, you better know what you’re doing.”
The Caps, coming off the end of their eighth year of existence as a franchise (1982), had yet to end a season with a winning record. They had also failed to make it to the playoffs for each of those eight seasons, in a 21-team league that sent 16 to battle for the Stanley Cup.
That all changed with the introduction of these four new players.