Nowadays, it is extremely rare for a deal to happen in sports that is made up of a superstar switching teams. This is particularly true for the NHL as most big names don’t change teams all that much and the trade deadline hasn’t produced a truly massive trade in a long time and free agency is normally quiet for superstars as well. In order to quench your thirst for these huge trades and signings featuring superstars, here are four huge NHL deals that almost went through.
1. Joe Sakic to the Rangers
Joe Sakic is widely regarded as one of the best leaders in NHL history and played his entire 21 year career with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche franchise. However, Sakic was extremely close to becoming a member of the New York Rangers in 1997 when he signed a massive offer sheet with the team, with a signing bonus of around $15 million. The Avalanche matched the offer sheet, so Sakic remained in Denver, much to the relief of Avalanche fans around the world.
2. Steve Yzerman for Alexi Yashin
Looking back, this would have been horrific. The Detroit Red Wings almost traded the one of the best players in franchise history and the man who eventually led them to three Stanley Cups, Steve Yzerman. In 1995, Yzerman was nearly traded to the Ottawa Senators for Alexi Yashin in a deal that was only moments from being completed. It was agreed to in principle by both teams, before the Detroit ownership stepped in to veto the deal, which ended up being a great move in hindsight.
3. Eric Lindros to the Rangers
Despite eventually going to the Rangers later on in his career, Eric Lindros’ first near-trade there was an absolutely crazy situation. The Quebec Nordiques drafted Lindros with the first overall pick in the 1991 draft, but he refused to play with them. The Nordiques were looking for a trade, but instead found two. They actually ended up trading Lindros two times, to both the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers. The case was eventually decided and Lindros was traded to the Flyers.
4. Pavel Datsyuk for Scott Gomez
Back in 2007, the Red Wings were in contract talks with Pavel Datsyuk and his future in Detroit was in question. Rather than lose him for nothing, Detroit entertained the idea of moving him elsewhere. Scott Gomez of the New Jersey Devils caught their eye after coming off of an impressive 84 point season. In the end, the Red Wings came to their senses and didn’t make a deal, which turned out to be a great move as Gomez really never returned to form, while Datsyuk became one of the best players in the league.