With NHL free agency upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to list the worst trades for both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers in franchise history.
For the Lightning, it has got to be back in the 2008 season when the Bolts acquired Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, Mike Smith and a 2009 fourth-round pick — which was Kyle Bigos — from Dallas in exchange for Brad Richards and Johan Holqvist on February 26, 2008.
Were you thinking this past season with the Martin St. Louis, Ryan Callahan captain swap? Nope. That wasn’t even that bad. It’s just that St. Louis left on a sour note and fans didn’t appreciate it. And also because he had built his NHL career in Tampa and to just up and leave didn’t feel right…not the way it was done anyway. Furthermore, Callahan isn’t that terrible.
This was worse. Simply because Richards was the key player in this trade. He had three seasons in Dallas. Two of which, he racked up 77 points and 91 points. On the other hand, Mike Smith was the best thing Tampa got back in his trade. He was inconsistent and never proved himself as a good netminder.
For the Panthers, it was back in 2002, when the team sent Dan Boyle to Tampa in exchange for a 2003 fifth-round draft pick, which became Martin Tuma.
It was a one-sided deal because Tuma had never played in the NHL, let alone had a complete season in the AHL. And for the Lightning, Boyle went on to play six seasons with the Lightning and actually became their top defenseman. Clearly they got the better deal. He was actually part of the team’s 2004 Stanley Cup win.
In this year’s NHL free agency the Lighting were looking to re-acquire him from the San Jose Sharks. Instead, the New York Rangers nabbed him off the market.