Time and time again, teams are tempted to sell out their future in hopes of some immediate improvement. Often they will trade a high draft pick, often for a veteran player.
It doesn't always work out. Here's a look at some of the more infamous trades.
October 1st, 1981 - The New York Islanders send Bob Lorimer and Dave Cameron to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for the Devils 1st round draft pick. The Islanders end up with the 3rd overall draft pick, and select Pat Lafontaine.
March 10th, 1980 - Buffalo trades veteran Jerry Korab to Los Angeles in exchange for 1982 1st round draft pick. Buffalo ends up picking 5th overall, and drafts Phil Housley.
October 9th, 1978 - Boston Bruins send G Ron Grahame to Los Angeles for 1979 first round pick. Bruins use the selection to acquire Ray Bourque.
September 13th, 1976 - The Montreal Canadiens send Ron Andruff and Sean Shanahan to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for the right to swap positions in the 1st round of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. Colorado finished dead last, Montreal finished 19th. Montreal exercised the option to swap picks, and with the 1st overall pick they took Doug Wickenheiser. They could have taken Denis Savard or Paul Coffey. New Jersey, by the way, selected Paul Gagne 19th.
June 3rd, 1975 - Philadelphia sends Bill Clement, Don McLean and a 1st round pick in 1975 in exchange for Washington's 1st round pick. The Flyers end up with 1st overall draft selection, and take Mel Bridgman. Washington ends up taking Alex Forsythe with the 18th and last pick of the 1st round.
June 11th, 1968 - Montreal sends Gerry Desjardins to Los Angeles in exchange for 1st round draft picks in 1969 (later traded by Montreal) and 1972. With the 1972 pick Montreal took Steve Shutt 4th overall.
May 22nd, 1970 - Montreal sends Ernie Hicke and a 1970 first round pick (Chris Oddliefson) to California for the Seals 1971 1st round pick, as well as Francois Lacombe and cash. California floundered that season, threatening to finish dead last and giving Montreal the 1st overall pick. To ensure California finished last, Montreal made a mid-season trade, sending veteran Ralph Backstrom, to strengthen Los Angeles, the only team that could have finished worse than California. In the end, Montreal selected first overall. Their reward: Guy Lafleur.
May 20th, 1968 - Boston sends Skip Krake to Los Angeles in exchange for the first round pick in 1970. The pick turns out to be 3rd overall. Boston selects Reggie Leach.
October 18, 1967 - Boston sends Rosie Paiement to Philadelphia in exchange for their first round pick in 1970. The pick turns out to be 4th overall. Boston selects Rick MacLeish. Ironically the Flyers would acquire MacLeish later, and he would enjoy his best years in Philadelphia.