The actual trade is rarely (if ever) listed, so allow me the honor:
May 22, 1970: Montreal trades LW Ernie Hicke, their 1970 1st rd pick (C Chris Oddleifson) to Oakland for the Seals’ 1971 1st round pick, D Francois Lacombe and cash.
Hicke scored 22 goals as a rookie on a terrible team (there really is no current comp for the Oakland Seals, they were the Arizona Cardinals of the NHL. If they had landed Gretzky they’d have converted him to defense). He wasn’t a bad hockey player really, and I think it’s unfair that the only time he gets mentioned is in regard to the Lafleur deal.
After all, he didn’t make the trade. Frank Selke Jr made the deal. No one remembers that, though.
Dustin Penner is a better player than Ernie Hicke was, and fact is Edmonton is unlikely to win the draft lottery allowing the Anaheim Ducks to draft John Taveras (should he become eligible) or Steve Stamkos. It is at the very least a stretch to compare the two situations, but I think we can safely call it a “small Hicke” or “Hicke light” at this time.
I would be thrilled if Dustin Penner rolls off several seasons of 35+ goals and the Oil finish in the playoffs. It would make me very happy if Anaheim drafted a dud with the first, second and third round picks. I am not one of those who laughs when Burke says things like “we’re taking back 3 picks and given Kevin’s recent performance I expect them to be excellent picks.” In an industry rife with bullies and assholes, Brian Burke is the king of the hill.
But I don’t like this deal. I just don’t. It’s not close to full value, and it absolutely reeks of despair on Kevin Lowe’s part, brought into even greater focus because it is giving off a strong and foul order the day it was completed. IS Dustin Penner a better player than Raffi Torres? Jarret Stoll? By how much?
The number of things that have to go right in order for the Oilers to get to even on this deal are massive, and I suspect you could not find an oddsmaker on the planet earth that would give you a fair shake on a bet this works out.
We are lost. Our money and our assets do not give us 100 cents on the dollar, and so we are left to overpay mid-level talent in the hopes they counter trey established wisdom and over one hundred years of the game’s history.
Glory is farther away than ever, the game plan askew. The men in suits have gone mad.