Vincent Lecavalier is one of the greatest players in the history of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and is most certainly on Tampa Bay’s Mount Rushmore of sports athletes. The franchise leader in games played (1037) and goals (383), Lecavalier’s number will be forever immortalized on February 18th, 2018 against the Los Angeles Kings.
But do you know how the Lightning acquired Lecavalier? Yes, he was drafted #1, but it’s not that cut and dry. The Sharks had acquired a first round pick from Florida, but it would be the next trade that would shape Tampa Bay Lightning hockey for the next 14 years.
On March 24th, 1998, The Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Andrei Nazarov and the conditional right to swap 1998 1st round picks in exchange for Bryan Marchment and David Shaw
First of all, what did the Lightning acquire? The decisions to swap first round picks would look confusing at first, as the Lightning were one of the worst teams of all time in 1997-1998, finishing with 44 points and a record of 17 wins, 55 losses, and 10 ties. However, the Sharks did own the Florida Panthers 1st round draft choice, and the Panthers were bad as well. Florida finished with 63 points, or a record of 24 wins, 43 losses, and 15 ties.
But if one looks at the standings on the day that the trade was made (March 24th,1998), the Panthers had 48 points and the Lightning had 41 points. A few more wins by the Lightning and a few more losses by the Panthers would have given the Sharks the first overall pick, even though they made the playoffs as the 8th seed in the Western Conference that season. So, by giving the Lightning the option to swap picks, the Bolts would have ended up with the 1st pick either way.
The as smaller part of the trade, Andrei Nazarov had 3 goals and 1 assists for 4 points in 40 games with the Bolts over 2 seasons before being traded to Calgary Flames for Michael Nylander. in 35 games with the Lightning over 2 seasons, Nylander had 3 goals and 9 assists for 12 points before being sent to the Chicago Blackhawks for Bryan Muir and Reid Simpson.
Simpson had 1 goal and 0 assists for 1 point in 26 games before leaving in free agency, while Muir had 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points in 40 games before being traded to the Colorado Avalanche for a 2001 8th round draft pick. With the pick, the Lightning selected Dmitri Bezrukov. Unfortunately for the Lightning, Bezrukov never made it out of Russia.
End of the First Half of the Trade
The Sharks’ part of the deal saw a long-term success. After being traded to the San Jose Sharks, David Shaw didn’t make it past the IHL (Present-Day AHL) in his 2 seasons with the Sharks’ affiliate, the Las Vegas Thunder (See people, they did have a hockey team before the Knights). In 2 seasons with the Thunder, Shaw put up 9 goals and 23 assists for 32 points in 50 games.
Bryan Marchment spent 6 seasons with the Sharks, scoring 13 goals and 53 assists for 66 points in 334 games. Marchment was then traded to the Colorado Avalanche on March 8th, 2003, for a 2003 3rd round pick and a 2003 5th round pick. That 3rd round pick was then traded to the Calgary Flames, along with a 2003 5th round pick and a 2004 6th round pick, in exchange for a 2003 second round pick.
The Sharks, with their 2 newly acquired picks, chose Matt Carle in the 2nd round of the 2003 NHL Draft. For the Matt Carle trade tree, click here. The 2003 5th round pick that the Sharks acquired from the Avalanche was then traded back to Colorado for Scott Parker. With that 5th round section, the Avalanche selected Brad Richardson.
Richardson spent 3 seasons with the Avalanche, Richardson had 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points in 136 games before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 2008 2nd round pick. The Avalanche then drafted Peter Delmas with that pick, who unfortunately never made it past the AHL. Meanwhile, in 71 games over 3 seasons with the Sharks, Parker had 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points.
Back to what the Flames got with those draft picks. The 2003 3rd round pick turned into Ryan Donally, who didn’t make it past the AHL level. With the first of the 2 5th round picks, the Flames selected Greg Moore. Moore played in 10 NHL games over his career, but had a very long career in the AHL. And finally, the 2003 6th round pick turned into Tyler Johnson (No, not that Tyler Johnson). Johnson did not make it past the WHL in his 6-year career.
Now, the picks
Since the 1998 clause in the trade wasn’t exercised and the Sharks made the playoffs, San Jose decided to get some value for their pick for a deeper playoff run. Nashville, the newest expansion team in 1997-98, was looking to draft a franchise player and were willing to trade up for the #2 pick. The Nashville Predators traded the #2 pick in the 1998 draft and a 1998 2nd round pick in exchange for the #3 overall pick in the same draft and a 1998 3rd round pick.
So, who was drafted by each team? Well, the Predators selected David Legwand with the #2 overall pick, who had a very nice career with the Preds. In 14 seasons with Nashville, Legwand had 210 goals and 356 assists for 566 points in 956 games. He was then traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Calle Jarnkrok, Patrick Eaves, and a conditional 3rd round pick that would become a 2nd if Detroit were to make the playoffs.
They did make the playoffs, and the 2nd round pick was then traded to the San Jose Sharks for a 2nd round pick in 2014 and a 4th round pick in 2015. The 2nd round pick turned into Julius Bergman, who hasn’t made it pasted the AHL. The 2nd round pick that the Predators acquired became Jack Dougherty, who hasn’t made it past the AHL either. The 4th round pick became Anthony Richard, who is currently in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals.
Geoff Koch was drafted with the 3rd round pick acquired, and he didn’t make it past college hockey. However, he had a very successful career in college, registering 31 goals and 50 assists for 81 points in 159 games for the University of Michigan.
The #3 pick that the San Jose Sharks acquired in the trade with the Preds was used to draft Brad Stuart. Stuart had 36 goals and 117 assists for 153 points in 377 games over 6 seasons with the Sharks. On November 30th, 2005, Stuart, Wayne Primeau, and Marco Sturm were all traded to the Boston Bruins for the young star with the name of JOE THORNTON.
Jumbo Joe teamed with new Leaf Patick Marleau to become one of the best duos in NHL history.in 13 years and counting, Joe Thornton had 216 goals and 724 assists for 940 points in 919 games.
Primeau would spend parts of 2 seasons with the Boston Bruins, scoring 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 101 games before Primeau and Stuart were traded to the Calgary Flames, along with a 2008 conditional 4th round pick, in exchange for Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew.
The 4th round pick’s conditional was if Stuart resigned with the Flames or not. He didn’t, and the Flames selected T.J. Brodie. Kobashew was traded one more time to the Minnesota Wild for Craig Weller, the rights to Alexander Fallstrom, and a 2011 2nd round pick. That pick became Alaxander Khokhlachev, and Alexander Fallstrom never signed with the Bruins.
With the #29 pick in the 1998 NHL Draft, the Sharks drafted Jonathan Cheechoo. Cheechoo was quite decent in his 6 seasons with the Sharks, scoring 165 goals and 126 assists for 291 points in 440 games. Cheechoo, Milan Michalek, and a 2010 2nd round pick were traded to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Dany Heatley and a 2010 5th round pick.
The 2010 5th round pick that the Sharks acquired stayed in their possession, and they selected Isaac Macleod. Macleod last played in the ECHL with the Kalamazoo Wings in 2014-15, scoring 1 goal and adding 3 assists for 4 points in 13 games played.
The 2nd round pick that the Senators received was then flipped to the New York Islanders in exchange for Andy Sutton. Michalek, Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Tobias Lindberg, and a 2017 2nd round pick were traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Dion Phaneuf, Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert, and Cody Donaghey. The Leafs used that pick to draft Eemeli Rasanen.
Obviously, both the Lightning and Sharks won. The Lightning won the opportunity to draft Vincent Lecavalier, while the Sharks drafted a nice piece in Jonathan Cheechoo and traded for an unbelievable player in Joe Thornton.
Who do you think were the winners of the trade? What trade do you want me to analyze next? Leave your opinions below and please follow me @Tampa_baysports on Instagram for the latest news and scores of the Lightning, Bucs, and Rays. If you have any questions or suggestions about my next article, please feel free to email me at Tampabaysports0@gmail.com