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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

TBC: Best, Worst, And Biggest NHL Trades

If there are a few people missing from work today in Canada, it's because we have an unofficial holiday in Canada known as "NHL Trade Deadline Day". TSN has had trade speculation notices up on its website since mid-October in the build-up to today, but I thought it might be a good idea to read up on some of the trades from years past. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review The Best, Worst, and Biggest NHL Trades of All Time! , written by Andrew Podnieks and Rob Del Mundo and published by Moydart Press. Mr. Podnieks and Mr. Del Mundo comb through the history of the NHL to find trades that saw careers flourish, teams stumble, and fans revolt after trades were made.

Andrew Podnieks has written more than 50 books on hockey, including Honoured Canadiens, Celebrating the Game, and Lord Stanley's Cup. Mr. Podnieks has played a major role in researching international hockey for various institutions including the Hockey Hall of Fame, the IIHF, and Hockey Canada. The Canadian author has provided Hockey Canada all of the statistics and historical info on all of Canada's teams at of the IIHF major tournaments since 2003. You can check out his website, which features his books, by clicking here.

Mr. Del Mundo is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He's probably best known from his work as the Toronto Maple Leafs reporter on The Fischler Report and from being site administrator and co-owner of the site. With his freelance work, he has reported on the NHL, the AHL, the CWHL, the NHL Awards, the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, and the 2013 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championships for various outlets. He has been a researcher and contributor to three other books as well as being a co-writer on The Best, Worst, and Biggest NHL Trades of All Time!

If there was one thing that stood out to me in The Best, Worst, and Biggest NHL Trades of All Time! was that there were no trades that occupied more than a couple of pages in the book. Each trade, including Gretzky's trades and Esposito's trades, took up no more than a few pages. In other words, this is a book that deals exclusively with the trades themselves, and doesn't really get into the stories behind the trades very often.

That fact, however, also leads to some key information being left out as to why some trades happened. The controversy that swirled around Eric Lindros being selected by the Quebec Nordiques and his subsequent snub of the team is touched upon, but really doesn't tell the whole story of Lindros' refusal to play for the Nordiques and how he was eventually dealt to the Flyers. His trade also touches upon the controversy that developed from Pierre Pagé making two trades for Lindros at the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. Lindros had actually been dealt to both the Rangers and Flyers! The authors give one paragraph to this development when there could have been an entire entry on the two Lindros trades on the same day!

The Best, Worst, and Biggest NHL Trades of All Time! shouldn't be held in a negative light, though, as Mr. Podnieks and Mr. Del Mundo comprehensively cover off all of the trades that historically have resulted in fortunes being changed for the parties involved. Some of the historic trades include players like Eddie Shore, Ted Kennedy, Terry Sawchuk, Johnny Bucyk, Ted Lindsay, and Jacques Plante. All of those Hall-of-Fame players were dealt at one time in their NHL careers.

There are also some of the more recent trades of big names. Players like Lindros, Gretzky, Doug Gilmour, Chris Chelios, Patrick Roy, and Teemu Selanne all have their trades reviewed by the authors as they look at winners and losers in the trades. The analyses that the men give on each trade is objective and based on stats and results, so you're not going to be hearing anyone bemoan the fact his favorite player was traded. Mr. Podnieks and Mr. Del Mundo do a good job at looking at the fallout of each trade on both the players involved and the teams involved. Here's the breakdown on the Markus Naslund-Alek Stojanov trade that saw Naslund go from Pittsburgh to Vancouver.
Quinn's search for a third line player turned into the acquisition of a cornerstone for the franchise. On December 11, 2010 - one year after his retirement - Naslund had his number 19 raised to the rafters of Vancouver's Rogers Arena.

Stojanov suffered a shoulder injury early in his career that forced him to miss a full year of hockey. In Quinn's opinion, Stojanov's skating development was hampered as a result. Whatever the reason, the result was a clear mismatch in one of hockey's most lop-sided trades of all time.
I'm not going to comment much about the trade because it still stings me as a Penguins fan, but the authors hit the nail on the head in describing it as "one of hockey's most lop-sided trades of all time". In any case, each summary of the trades outlined shows how the players and teams fared after the trade with pretty accurate 20/20 hindsight.

The Best, Worst, and Biggest NHL Trades of All Time! is a great look at some of the best trades the NHL has seen in its history, and Mr. Podnieks and Mr. Del Mundo do an excellent job in describing the fallout from these trades. While some trades might have needed a little more examination as to how the trade came about, the authors do a great job on the span of a few pages in examining and summing up the results of all of the trades. I'm not sure about the re-read value of the book, but I know it can and will be used for reference! Because of the vast number of trades outlined and the easy reading in getting through the book's 239 pages, The Best, Worst, and Biggest NHL Trades of All Time! deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Find a copy of The Best, Worst, and Biggest NHL Trades of All Time! at your local bookstore!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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