Who doesn’t like a little bit of NHL Hockey trivia? I know I enjoy finding odd and quirky things, and all the better when they involve the Tampa Bay Lightning. Here’s a fun one for you: what is the most number of times a single draft pick has been traded?
Ok! Time’s up! The answer is... FIVE! Four different times in the history of the NHL Entry Draft, a single draft pick has been traded five times.
So what do the Lightning have to do with it? They were involved in the first two such trades. Want to know more about those trades? Then read on!
2000 Draft Pick, 3rd Round, 74th Overall
The first draft pick in question was a 2000 third rounder. It was the 9th pick in the third round and 74th overall. The pick was originally owned by the New York Rangers.
On October 1st, 1998, a full two seasons before the pick was even to be used, the Detroit Red Wings acquired it from the Rangers for Mike Knuble. Knuble was coming off of a season where he helped the Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup. He didn’t help a ton, but he played in 53 regular season games with 13 points and another three playoff games with one point, which was enough to get his name on the Cup. It took a little while for him to take off in the NHL, but he finally came into his own in 2002-03 with the Boston Bruins. He finished his career with 1,068 games played and 548 points.
Later in the season, on March 23rd, 1999 near the trade deadline, the Rangers re-acquired the draft pick by sending defenseman Ulf Samuelsson to the Red Wings. The Rangers also got a 1999 second round pick in the deal. Samuelsson played in only four games for the Red Wings during the regular season. He then played in nine playoff games with three points. He signed with the Philadelphia Flyers the following season and retired after scoring three points in 49 games.
The next offseason, the Lightning acquired the pick for themselves. The Lightning traded their 1999 first round pick, which was the 4th overall pick in a rather lack luster first round draft class, for this pick, a 2000 first round pick, goaltender Dan Cloutier, and center Niklas Sundstrom. Cloutier only spent a year and a half with the Lightning before being shipped off to the Vancouver Canucks.
Sundstrom never suited up for the Lightning. He was traded on August 4th, 1999 with this third round pick to the San Jose Sharks. In return, the Lightning received Andrei Zyuzin, Bill Houlder, Shawn Burr, and Steve Guolla. Zyuzin lasted parts of three seasons with the Lightning before being traded to the New Jersey Devils. Houlder was named the Lightning’s captain and played 14 games before being placed on waivers and was claimed by the Nashville Predators (hey another trivia fact!).
Burr played in four games, spent the rest of the season in the IHL, and then retired. Guolla played 46 games for the Lightning before being lost on waivers to the Atlanta Thrashers. Sundstrom on the other hand played in parts of the next four seasons for the San Jose Sharks and had three seasons with 37, 39, and 49 points. Maybe the Lightning should have just held on to him?
But back to our draft pick. After the Sharks acquired it, they traded it to the Chicago Blackhawks on draft day in 2000. The Sharks packaged it with the 49th overall pick in the second round to move up to the 41st overall pick in the second round.
The Chicago Blackhawks used the pick to take Igor Radulov. No, he’s not the Radulov you’ve heard of. He’s Alexander Radulov’s older brother. This Radulov spent a year in the OHL before spending three years in North American as a professional. He played in 43 NHL games with 16 points. The rest of his time was spent with the Norfolk Admirals in the AHL before returning to Russia.
2009 Draft Pick, 1st Round, 26th Overall
This one is already a little more exciting. First off, it’s more recent so there’s more names here that are going to be recognizable to fans. But also that it’s a first round pick involved and it changed hands multiple times. This time, it never returned to a team however with six different teams involved before the pick was finally made.
On July 4th, 2008, in a now infamous trade, the Lightning sent Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich to the Sharks. Boyle had recently signed a new contract with the Lightning and was forced out by the new owners that were cheap and didn’t have money to spend on their shiny new hockey team. In return, the Lightning received this pick, and a 2010 fourth round pick. The Lightning used that fourth round pick on James Mullin, an NCAA bound prospect that was never signed.
A couple months later, on August 29th, 2008, the Lightning traded this first round pick along with Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard to acquire Andrej Meszaros from the Ottawa Senators. Boyle’s contract paid him $6,666,666 per year for six years. So they acquired Meszaros to pay him $4 million per year for six seasons instead. Meszaros didn’t last long with the Lightning though and was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers after two seasons with salary retained when Steve Yzerman took over as general manager. In Tampa Bay, Meszaros did not put up the kind of offensive numbers he had put up with the Senators over his first three seasons in the NHL. He bounced back a bit with the Philadelphia Flyers but faded partly due to injuries.
The Senators hung on to the pick until February 20th, 2009 when they traded it along with Dean McAmmond to the New York Islanders for Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli. McAmmond played out the season with the Senators and then spent another season with the New Jersey Devils before retiring. Comrie likewise did not last in the league much longer as he played just 22 games for the Senators to finish the 2008-09 season. He went to the Edmonton Oilers after the season and finished his career the year after with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
On draft day in 2009, the Islanders put this pick into a package along with a 2009 Second round pick, and 2009 third round pick used on current Vancouver Canucks goaltender Anders Nilsson, and a 2009 fourth round pick used on current Islander forward Casey Cizikas. Those picks went to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the 16th overall pick in the first round that the Islanders used to select Nick Leddy, and a 2009 third round pick.
Before the Blue Jackets could use the pick, they traded back up with the Anaheim Ducks for the 21st overall pick to select John Moore. In return the Ducks gave up this pick and the 37th overall pick in the second round.
The Ducks then settled on using the pick and selected Kyle Palmieri. Palmieri is a name you should recognize. He had a decent enough start to his career with the Ducks, but really broke out when he was sent to the New Jersey Devils before the 2015-16 season. He has posted three straight 20+ goal seasons including 30 goals in 2015-16. He’s been off to a hot start this year for the Devils already reaching double digit goals.
2016 Draft Pick, 3rd Round, 76th Overall
Since these last two don’t involve the Lightning, and also are very recent, I’ll keep them short.
Two days later, the Panthers traded a 2015 second round pick, and an option on the higher of the two 2016 third round draft picks the Panthers owned. This pick was higher so the Devils got this one. In return, the Panthers received Jaromir Jagr.
On draft day in 2015, the Ducks traded Kyle Palmieri (hey, another trivia answer!) to the Devils for a 2015 second round pick, and the Devils option on the Panthers third round pick.
The pick was then involved in another trade deadline deal on February 29th, 2016. The Ducks received Jamie McGinn in exchange for a conditional pick that was either a 2017 second round pick or this optioned pick from the Panthers. Since the Ducks did not meet the conditions, this pick was traded.
Then in another bit of drama, the Nashville Predators traded the rights to Jimmy Vesey to the Sabres for this pick just prior to the draft. Vesey was an NCAA player and had made it known he would not sign with the Predators. The Sabres acquired his rights to have an opportunity to negotiate with him before he became a free agent. Vesey declined to sign with the Sabres and eventually signed with the New York Rangers.
The Nashville Predators used the pick on Rem Pitlick who is having a solid career in NCAA and is in his junior season with the University of Minnesota.
2018 Draft Pick, Third Round, 87th Overall
Yet another third round pick that was moved around. Like the previous one, six different teams are involved with no one getting the pick back.
The pick originally belonged to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs had the option of giving up a 2016-18 third round pick to the Devils as compensation for hiring GM Lou Lamoriello. Once the 2017 draft was complete and the Maple Leafs had not transferred the 2016 or 2017 third round picks, this pick officially became the Devils pick to do with as they please.
It didn’t take them long to make use of it. On July 2nd, 2017 just a week after the draft, the Devils traded this pick and a 2018 second round pick to the Washington Capitals for Marcus Johansson.
Closing in on the 2018 trade deadline, the Capitals sent the option of the more favorable of the two third round picks they owned to the Chicago Blackhawks for Michal Kempny. Kempny was instrumental in settling down the Capitals’ blue line on the way to the Stanley Cup. With the Capitals third round pick being the last pick of the round, the 87th overall pick was transferred to the Blackhawks.
On draft day, the Blackhawks sent this pick along with the 142nd overall pick in the fifth round to the Arizona Coyotes for the 74th overall pick. The Coyotes then moved back again in the draft trading this pick to the San Jose Sharks for the 114th overall pick in the fourth round and the 145th overall pick in the fifth round.
The San Jose Sharks then used the pick to select center Linus Karlsson.