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June 04, 2008

Whatever Happened To The Gretzky Draft Picks?

Here's how the Wayne Gretzky trade was officially looked when all was said and done:

The Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky, along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski, to the Los Angeles Kings for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, $15 million US in cash, and the Kings' first-round draft picks in 1989, 1991, and 1993.

In hindsight, the Kings certainly did not have to overpay to get the greatest hockey player on the planet, as well as two serviceable veterans. Of course the $15M was the main asset financially troubled Oilers owner Peter Pocklington was after. Carson was an established goal scorer in LA, but would soon fizzle out. Gelinas had just been drafted by the Kings weeks earlier, so he was essentially a fourth first round draft pick included to consummate the deal.

Gelinas would go onto a long NHL career. Though he played a nice role in the Oilers 1990 Stanley Cup, he would never develop into the goal scorer he was in junior. Most of his NHL career was spent outside of Edmonton.

And whatever became of the three draft picks Edmonton acquired?

They traded away the 1989 pick, 18th overall, to New Jersey. The Devils proceeded to pick up Edmonton-born Jason Miller, a draft bust who would play in only 6 NHL games. In exchange for the pick the Oilers recieved hard shooting defenseman Corey Foster. He fared no better, playing in 45 NHL games, none with the Oilers.

The Oilers landed a good player with the 1991 Kings pick, 20th overall. They selected Martin Rucinsky out of the Czech Republic. Rucinsky would be a serviceable NHL winger for about 1000 games, but he would only play in 2 games with the Oilers. At the 1992 trading deadline Rucinsky was sent to Quebec in exchange for goaltender Ron Tugnutt and prospect Brad Zavisha.

The 1993 pick, 16th overall, also reaped few dividends for the Oilers. They selected Nick Stajduhar, a big, offensive minded defenseman from the London Knights. Stajduhar's career was derailed 2 years later after being sucker punched in a bar room fight that left him severely concussed. He missed most of the 1995-96 season and would only appear in 2 NHL games.

By the way, here's who the Oilers could have had with each of the three picks:

1989 - Olaf Kolzig, Adam Foote, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Sergei Fedorov

1991 - Ray Whitney, Ziggy Palffy, Sandis Ozolinsh, Jozef Stumpel, Chris Osgood

1993 - Saku Koivu, Todd Bertuzzi, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brendan Morrison, Bryan McCabe

1 comment:

James Cousine said...

That's edmonton for you.

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