With the benefit of a quarter century of hindsight, we can look back at "The Trade" of Aug. 9, 1988 and statistically evaluate the deal that sent Wayne Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings.
That means using cold, hard numbers far removed from the white-hot passion felt at the time by those directly involved, as well as Oilers fans who were burning Oilers owner Peter Pocklington in effigy.
First, a look at the players involved, with their major stats on the day of the trade:
To Los Angeles
F Wayne Gretzky -- 696 games, 583 goals, 1086 assists, 1669 points.
F Marty McSorley -- 247 games, 24 goals, 40 assists, 64 points.
F Mike Krushelnyski -- 442 games, 146 goals, 196 assists, 342 points.
F Jimmy Carson -- 160 games, 104 goals, 103 assists, 207 points.
F Martin Gelinas -- Had yet to play in the NHL.
3 1st- round draft picks -- 1989 (sent to New Jersey, which drafted Jason Miller), 1991 (Martin Rucinsky) and 1993 (Nick Stajduhar).
$15 million US in cash
Now that we know what each of the players brought to the table, what did they produce after the trade? (The numbers seem to indicate that the deal helped both teams to some extent.)
Here are each player's post-trade stats and, for fun, some of their top YouTube highlights:
F Wayne Gretzky -- 791 games, 311 goals, 877 assists, 1188 points.
F Marty McSorley -- 714 games, 84 goals, 211 assists, 295 points.
F Mike Krushelnyski -- 455 games, 95 goals, 132 assists, 227 points.
F Jimmy Carson -- 466 games, 171 goals, 183 assists, 354 points.
F Martin Gelinas -- 1273 games, 309 goals, 351 assists, 660 points.
F Jason Miller -- 6 games, 0 points.
F Martin Rucinsky -- 961 games, 241 goals, 371 assists, 612 points.
D Nick Stajduhar -- 2 games, 0 points.
Who got more in the deal? Here are the differences in total production for each team's acquisitions after the trade was made:
- The Oilers got 748 more man-games.
- The Oilers got 231 more goals.
- The Kings got 315 more assists.
- The Kings got 84 more points.
The Oilers went on to win the Stanley Cup (their only one without Gretzky) in 1990. The Kings made the final once during Gretzky's tenure, losing to Montreal in 1993.
It seems like both teams made out fairly well, especially since Gretzky was approaching free agency and may have left the Oilers with nothing in return at all.
What ever became of the $15 million US in cash? Well, it retired in 1996 after the Royal Canadian Mint discontinued the Canadian $2 bills Pocklington requested the payment be made in. (Just kidding.)
Speaking of the Oilers owner, what happened to the two men responsible for the deal going through -- Pocklington and Kings owner Bruce McNall?
: Eventually had to sell the Oilers in 1998 (but not before threatening to move the team
), and declared personal bankruptcy in 2008. He was charged with bankruptcy fraud a year later, and a plea bargain spared him prison time in favour of house arrest.
Bruce McNall: Was convicted for two counts of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy and spent more than four years in prison. He was released early in 2001 for good behavior and is still close friends with Gretzky and many other players.
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