Every NHL team hopes to develop their draft picks into future stars, but sometimes more immediate needs forces a general manager to trade away a promising youngster, only to see that player go on to stardom elsewhere.
The following is a list of current players (selected since the 2000 NHL Entry Draft) who went on to varying degrees of success with other clubs.
Anaheim Ducks – P.A. Parenteau, Joffrey Lupul. Parenteau was selected 264th overall in 2001. Five years later the Ducks dealt him to Chicago, but Parenteau went on to become a good play-maker with the NY Islanders and Colorado Avalanche. Lupul had a solid sophomore season with the Ducks but they shipped him to Edmonton in 2006 as part of the Chris Pronger deal. Lupul went on to a couple of good years with the Philadelphia Flyers, was a bust in a short return with the Ducks, then had his best season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, netting a career-high 67 points in 2011-12.
Atlanta Thrashers (now Winnipeg Jets) – Braydon Coburn. At the 2007 trade deadline he was shipped to the Philadelphia Flyers for Alexei Zhitnik, a move which became a prime example of the poor management decisions that plagued the Thrashers during their years in Atlanta. Coburn went on to become a key part of the Flyers blueline, even if he’s occasionally mentioned in trade rumors.
Boston Bruins – Phil Kessel. He was already emerging as a scoring star when he was shipped to Toronto in 2009 for two first round picks, which became Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton. Kessel’s gone on to become a scoring superstar, while the Bruins shipped Seguin to Dallas. Then-Leafs GM Brian Burke was pilliored for this move, but in the long run it favored the Leafs.
Carolina Hurricanes – Andrew Ladd. Showed considerable promise with the Hurricanes and contributed to their Stanley Cup championship run. After being dealt to Chicago, Ladd helped the Blackhawks win the 2010 Stanley Cup. It’s with the Jets, however, that Ladd has emerged as a star in his own right.
Chicago Blackhawks – Dustin Byfuglien. He was part of the Blackhawks post-2010 Stanley Cup championship purge, joining Andrew Ladd with the Atlanta Thrashers,where he was moved from forward to defense and became a scoring star. Following the Thrashers move to Winnipeg, Byfuglien remains among the league’s best offensive blueliners.
Colorado Avalanche – Kevin Shattenkirk. Midway through Shattenkirk’s rookie season the Avs shipped him to the St. Louis Blues in a multi-player deal which could eventually rank among the most lopsided in NHL history. Shattenkirk’s now among the NHL’s best offensive blueliners and a key part of the Blues resurgence.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Adam McQuaid. Not a “star” in the traditional sense, McQuaid became one of the league’s best physical defensemen since the Boston Bruins acquired him from the Blue Jackets.
Dallas Stars – James Neal. The Stars thought they were getting a stud puck-moving blueliner when they shipped Neal to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Alex Goligoski. Neal’s become one of the NHL’s most dangerous snipers, while Goligoski failed to blossom as hoped for the Stars.
Detroit Red Wings – Tomas Fleischmann. The Wings shipped his rights in 2004 along with draft picks to the Washington Capitals for Robert Lang. Fleischmann’s gone on to a 51-point season with the Capitals in 2009-10 and a 61-point effort in 2011-12.
Montreal Canadiens – Ryan McDonagh. The Habs would love to have this one back. McDonagh’s rights were shipped to the New York Rangers during the summer of 2009 in a package deal for Scott Gomez. McDonagh’s become the Rangers top blueliner and one of the best all-round defenders in the game. Gomez never regained his scoring touch and was bought out in 2013.
Nashville Predators – Scott Hartnell. He was already showing promise with two 40-point seasons under his belt, but after Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen were shipped to the Flyers in 2007 he blossomed into a two-time 30-goal scorer.
New York Rangers – Marek Zidlicky. Because the Rangers were unwilling to sign him to a one-way contract, they shipped him to the Nashville Predators in 2002 as part of a deal for Mike Dunham. Zidlicky tallied five 40-plus point seasons with the Predators and Minnesota Wild.
Philadelphia Flyers – Patrick Sharp, Justin Williams. Toronto Maple Leafs fans will point to their club’s acquisition of James van Riemsdyk as the main example, but Sharp and Williams went on to bigger things since the Flyers traded them. Williams helped the Carolina Hurricanes and LA Kings win Stanley Cups, while Sharp is a three-time 30-plus goalscorer with the Blackhawks, helping them win two Stanley Cups.
Phoenix Coyotes – Blake Wheeler. Failing to reach an agreement on a contract, Wheeler became an unrestricted free agent, signing with the Boston Bruins. He was eventually dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers and is now one of the Winnipeg Jets’ best scoring forwards.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Matt Moulson. Selected 263rd in the 2003 draft, Moulson never played a game with the Penguins, eventually signing with the LA Kings, with whom he had a couple of unremarkable seasons. It was with the NY Islanders he came into his own, with three-straight 30-plus goal seasons.
St. Louis Blues – Ben Bishop. Montreal Canadiens fans believe acquiring Lars Eller as the most notable example, but Bishop’s gone on to bigger and better things. After his short tenure with the Ottawa Senators, he’s become the Tampa Bay Lightning’s starting goalie, and among the league’s best this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Tuukka Rask, Alexander Steen. Leafs fans would love to have these two back. Rask was traded to the Bruins for Andrew Raycroft because Leafs management at the time believed Justin Pogge was their goalie of the future. Rask has since established himself among the NHL’s top goalie with the Bruins. Steen was shipped along with Carlo Colaiacovo to the St. Louis Blues in 2008 for Lee Stempniak, becoming among the Blues’ top forwards.
Vancouver Canucks – R.J. Umberger. While the Canucks shipping Cody Hodgson to Buffalo for Zack Kassian is a sore spot for Canucks fans, losing Umberger was a bigger loss. Shipped to the NY Rangers in 2004 for playoff rental Martin Rucinsky, Umberger has had four 20-plus goal seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Canucks could use Umberger’s size, grit and scoring touch today.