Ottawa Senators trade Alexei Yashin to the New York Islanders for the second-overall pick, Bill Muckalt, and Zdeno Chara
So… this didn’t work out for the Islanders now did it? Considered one of the worst trades in the history of hockey, the Islanders traded for superstar forward Alexei Yashin after he sat out for a whole year. He did return for one more year with Ottawa, but it was clear he was out the door. He had back-to-back 40-goal seasons (despite having a missing season in between), and he was considered one of the best goal scorers in the NHL at the time. He was around 27 at the time, so he was smack dab in the middle of his prime.
This sounded like the right move. At the time, Zdeno Chara was a defensive defenseman who gave the Islanders a physical presence, but that was basically his role. He never scored more than two goals in a season with the Islanders. Then, the Senators unlocked his greatness. He scored 10 goals in his first season and then jumped to 16 goals in his third season.
The Senators also took Jason Spezza with their second-overall pick. He was one of the best players to ever play for the Sens. This was a huge loss for the Islanders, and this needs to be a learning experience for the Devils.
Meanwhile, Yashin’s output immediately dropped off. He was still really good for the first few seasons, but he never came close to 40 goals again. He only had one 30-goal season in an Islanders uniform, and he was out of the league in five seasons.
When the team is looking to make a massive jump into contention, the star players that are available are usually available for a reason. The Devils are going superstar shopping, and it could end up like the Yashin trade pretty easily. Tom Fitzgerald needs to be careful because messing up this trade could make him the laughing stock of the league. However, if it works, it could be the catalyst to a future Stanley Cup win.