Today marks 30 years since the infamous Wayne Gretzky trade, which sent the best player in the history of hockey to the Los Angeles Kings. The deal stunned the sports world and changed the path of hockey in California, though Gretzky would never bring the Stanley Cup to Los Angeles. He would record 918 points in 539 games for the Kings though, and grow the game in an extremely non-traditional market.
Though the deal was (and is) seen as a pure sale of the greatest player in the world, the Oilers did receive some hockey assets in the deal. Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas and three first-round picks were included in the trade, along with a $15MM check. Carson would play just 84 games with the Oilers, while Gelinas didn’t really hit his stride until years later in Vancouver. Regardless of the outcomes for each team, the trade changed everything in hockey and spawned multiple generations of fans who will point to it as reason to believe anyone in the league can be traded at any time. After all, if Wayne Gretzky can be traded…
- The KHL, a league that Gretzky just agreed to lend his name to as the global ambassador for Kunlun Red Star, has decided that one of their teams will play home games more than 1,600 miles away from home. The arena for Avangard Omsk has been deemed not ready to host games this season, meaning the team will host their home games in the Moscow region on the other side of the country.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning seem to have a new superstar restricted free agent every offseason, and the summer of 2020 will be no different. Andrei Vasilevskiy is scheduled to become an RFA in two years meaning the team can start negotiating an extension as soon as July 1, 2019. In his latest for The Athletic, Joe Smith (subscription required) spoke with several agents around the league who do not represent the Russian goaltender who believe his eventual cap hit could come in between $8-8.5MM. According to one agent that’s if he doesn’t win the Stanley Cup and MVP, which would bump the number up into “[Carey] Price money.”