Wayne Gretzky, Eric Lindros Trades At The Top of the List

Published on October 30th, 2021 12:49 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Wayne Gretzky - The Great One - NHL superstar in the New York Rangers jersey. When it comes to the most lopsided/worst NHL trade of all time, you have to immediately go to the trade that involved the greatest player of ALL time being traded away in his prime by a financially distressed owner.

Regardless of what the Oilers received back in the trade, there is no way that they were going to end up winning, or even coming close to realizing proper value for "The Great One".

On August 9th, 1988, Wayne Gretzky, Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski were traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first-round picks and $15 million in cash.

At the time, Gretzky was just 27 years of age, so he had many prime years left in his career. He had already won four Stanley Cups and appeared primed to win many more.

The Oilers' owner at the time, Peter Pocklington, was struggling with some of his other businesses and needed cash. He had an amount in his head - $15 million, and Bruce McNall of the Los Angeles Kings was willing to pay it.

In August of 1988, the unthinkable happened - the "Great One" was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.

The trade's impact is still being felt today, as Gretzky's arrival in Los Angeles helped to grow the game of hockey in the United States. Would team like the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks exist today if it weren't for Gretzky's trade?

The Oilers, to their credit, would win the Stanley Cup again in 1989-90, though it's impossible to say that they were anything other than steamrolled in the Gretzky deal, as the main part of the deal involving lining Pocklington's pockets.

There is no doubt that Gretzky's trade to the Kings in 1988 is the most lopsided of all time.


The second most lopsided trade of all time is pretty much the exact opposite of the Gretzky trade.

In the early '90s, Eric Lindros was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques and subsequently refused to play for the team.

A long holdout ensued, and Lindros was subsequently traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for:

Steve Duchesne
Peter Forsberg
Ron Hextall
Kerry Huffman
Mike Ricci
Chris Simon
1st Round pick in 1993
1st Round pick in 1994
$15 million

A massive haul for Eric Lindros, but the haul got even bigger.

Philadelphia's first round pick in 1993 was used to draft Jocelyn Thibault, who was subsequently included in the 1995 trade for Patrick Roy.

Philadelphia's first round pick in 1994 was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Wendel Clark, Sylvain Lefebvre and Landon Wilson. Wendel Clark would essentially used to acquire Claude Lemieux, while Sylvain Lefebvre would be a crucial part of the 1996 Stanley Cup winning Colorado Avalanche club.


In short - this Lindros trade essentially translated into two Stanley Cups for the Colorado Avalanche, while Lindros would have a controversial career that would be shortened by injury.

On top of all of that, the owner of the Quebec Nordiques at the time also received $15 million in cash, which was a very significant amount of money at the time.


The Gretzky and Lindros trades are hard to top, and will almost certainly never be topped in terms of their lopsidedness.

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