by Ron Spence
The NHL’s trading deadline is one of the pressure points of a GM’s season. Do I dump players? Do I try and improve my team for a run into the playoffs?
We are told that Dave Nonis was offered Brad Richards for Luc Bourdon, Ryan Kesler and Cory Sneider. He declined the price of admission to the playoffs.
Colorado made such a decision on March 6, 2000, when they traded away three players and a 1st round pick for Ray Bourque.
Who were the three players that were sent to Boston?
Who was the first round pick that Boston received?
And, who was the other player who Boston sent to Colorado along with Bourque?
Martin Grenier was sent to Boston and would be released at the end of the season and play a total of only 18 NHL games.
Dave Andreychuk played 14 games for Colorado and was set free, like Grenier. Andreychuk, however, would go to Buffao and later to Tampa Bay where he would average better than 20 goals a season over the next four years.
Boston picked Martin Samuelsson who was a bust, playing only 14 NHL games, but the next pick was Justin Williams who has played 459 games, and the pick after that was Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall, who has played 180 games.
The two gems whom Boston received were Samuel Pahlsson and Brian Rolston.
Legends of Hockey wrote of Pahlsson: “…Pahlsson has shown his worth as a strong defensive centre with excellent faceoff skills. In 2002-03, [he] helped the Mighty Ducks reach their first Stanley Cup final, only to lose in a hard fought seven game series to the New Jersey Devils. Over the course of the next few seasons, Pahlsson established himself as one of the leagues top defensive forwards and excelled in defensive situations. In 2006-07, Pahlsson’s career year included a personal best 26 points and a nomination for the Frank J. Selke Award. During the playoffs that season, he represented the Ducks in all 21 games en route to the 2007 Stanley Cup.”
Rolston has also starred. Again the Legends of Hockey wrote: “In his first season with the Bruins, Rolston scored a career-high 58 points before bettering that total the following year with 62 on the strength of 31 goals. A silver medallist with the U.S. Olympic team in 2002, Rolston went on to play parts of five seasons with the Bruins, reaching the 400-point plateau during the 2003-04 season before being acquired by the Minnesota Wild in the summer of 2004. In the 2005-06 season as a member of the Wild, Rolston appeared in all 82 regular season games and recorded new career high in goals (34), assists (45) and points (79). The following season Rolston continued to produce offensively and for the fist time in his career appeared in an NHL All-Star Game. In the summer of 2008, the unrestricted free agent’s three-season stint in Minnesota came to an end when he signed his former club in New Jersey.”
And Ray Bourque? He would total 14 points in 14 games and one in the playoffs, before the Avs were defeated by the Stars.
The following campaign – his last – he has 59 points in 80 games and 6 points during the 21 games playoffs, when Colorado won the Cup.
Was it a good trade for Colorado? Well, many of the Colorado players have said that they were playing hard so that Bourque could win his first Cup after 22 seasons.
“In our heart, in our mind, we were playing for Ray,” coach Bob Hartley said. “This entire community was pulling for Ray. I will remember coaching Ray Bourque until the day I close my little eyes.”
How important was Bourque at such a great cost? Some will point out that Colorado also had Rob Blake, Adam Foote, Greg DeVries, Martin Skoula and Jon Klemm on their D.
They would argue that Colorado gave away the farm to acquire a winning horse.
But, the Avalanche had their second winning horse.