Midway through the 1995-96 season Selanne was informed that he had been traded to Anaheim and though at first devastated by the news, his mindset adapted as he settled into to his new surroundings. Then he began to take off and really soar as a true star.
We all know the story of how influential of a player Teemu became for the Ducks, however what about all the other players that created one of the most influential trades in Anaheim history? Who was involved in the exchange that brought the Finnish Flash to Anaheim? Where are these other puzzle pieces now?
The entire trade from 1996 would end up sending Oleg Tverdovsky, Chad Kilger and a third-round draft pick to the Winnipeg Jets, with Anaheim getting Teemu Selanne, Marc Chouinard and a fourth-round draft pick in return.
So let’s break it down piece by piece:
Possibly the most recognizable player (aside from Teemu of course) involved in this blockbuster trade is Oleg Tverdovsky, who was a defenseman for Anaheim, and their highest ever draft pick (second overall in 1994) for two seasons (including the lockout shortened 1995 season) leading up to the trade. Once he arrived in Winnipeg, Tverdovsky only tallied 8 points (0+8=8) in 31 regular season games played before they became the Phoenix Coyotes. During his four years with the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise he totaled 24 goals and 83 assists for 107 points in 241 games.
The Coyotes traded him back to Anaheim three seasons later, where he would take off as a forechecking defenseman once again. During his four and a half seasons in Anaheim, Tverdovsky tallied 319 games played, 165 points (40+125=165). Considering his NHL statistics totaled 713 games played, and 317 points (77+240=317), Tverdovsky was clearly a more threatening offensive blue liner when he played for Anaheim.
Despite the majority of his career and his best statistical years being in Anaheim and Phoenix, Tverdovsky was a two time Stanley Cup Champion, in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils (Boooo) and in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. Tverdovsky played his last NHL hockey in the beginning of the 2006-2007 season with the LA Kings, however would be sent to their minor league, AHL-affiliate team for the rest of the season. He spent the following six seasons jumping around different European hockey leagues, and officially retired in 2013 after a 25-game season with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.
Chad Kilger was a promising young rookie right winger when he was traded from Anaheim to Winnipeg in the 1995-96 season, however he never really reached his expected potential until he played with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1997-98. Kilger racked up 714 career NHL games played over 14 seasons and scored a career total of 218 points (107+111=218). He played with seven separate teams, however after this trade he only played 29 games with the Jets before he was reassigned to their AHL affiliate team, the Springfield Falcons, and played 87 games in the minor league before rejoining the big club in Phoenix. After just 10 games played with the ‘Yotes, he was traded to Chicago as the main bait for veteran defenseman, Keith Carney.
Isn’t it strange to think that the Ducks and Blackhawks indirectly made a trade with the Jets/Coyotes playing the middlemen? Anaheim would be home to Keith Carney for three and a half seasons, while Chicago would house Chad Kilger for two partial seasons. Carney is a player I remember watching play for the Ducks, however Kilger didn’t ever flourish into the strong wing that he was expected to grow into.
Third-Round Draft Pick:
The 1996 third-round draft pick that Winnipeg acquired from Anaheim was used to select Per-Anton Lundstrom, a defenseman from Sweden, chosen 62nd overall. Lundstrom never played in a single career NHL game, spending his entire career, from the 1995-96 season through the 2010-11 season, playing for different European leagues, specifically those centered in his home country of Sweden. Utilized as more of a stay-at-home, back-checking defender, Lundstrom only broke more than 10 points in a single season once, with 11 points tallied in the 2008-09 season he spent with Leksands IF.
Conclusion regarding Winnipeg’s acquisitions:
Despite some promising talent coming over in Oleg Tverdovsky, and some serious potential surrounding Chad Kilger, the two tangible acquisitions from the Selanne trade never seemed to mesh well in Winnipeg and, in a lot of ways, fell flat. The draft pick was also a seemingly hopeful opportunity, especially when you see that the likes of Tom Poti, and even Zdeno Chara, were chosen in the same (third) round of the 1996 Entry Draft. Further, later-round talent include Tomas Kaberle, who was drafted in the midst of the eighth round, and Sami Salo who was the 239th overall pick out of the 241-player draft. Winnipeg definitely lost in the trade when you see what they came away with, and what it cost them.
The player that accompanied Selanne on this trade to Anaheim was a long-time minor league player, who played almost eight seasons in the minors before he saw NHL ice time. Chouinard was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the second round of the 1995 Draft, yet he never played a single game in a Jets’ jersey. It wasn’t until the 2000-01 season that he would get his shot with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. In 44 games played in his rookie season, Marc Chouinard scored seven points (3+4=7). Despite his lack of scoring, Chouinard was utilized for two more seasons as a shutdown center, and saw ice time on both special teams units, with the coaches realizing that his impressive 6’5 stature was an asset to be utilized. After the 2002-03 season, his contract expired, and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim let Chouinard walk, only to see him get picked up by the Minnesota Wild. The checking-line center would play for three more seasons, ending his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks, and returning to the minor leagues.
Fourth-Round Draft Pick:
Eventually, Anaheim would turn around and trade this draft pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for enforcer, Ken Baumgartner. Toronto utilized this draft pick to select Kim Staal, who played his career mostly in the SEL, with one season playing in the AHL for the Milwaukee Admirals. Ken Baumgartner, who would play for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for 79 games (over two seasons), tallied a respectable 12 assists, and an impressive 223 penalty minutes. Throughout his career in the NHL as an enforcer, Baumgartner totaled 696 games played and 2,241 penalty minutes, when playing for one of the five teams he dressed for in his career. Baumgartner sits in the 37th ranking on the list of NHL players who have the most career penalty minutes, and he managed that over just 12 seasons. Only two players have more PIM in as many or fewer seasons than Baumgartner (Dave Schultz and Shane Curla). The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim managed to trade a semi-decent draft pick (which was used on a career minor-leaguer) for a reliable enforcer.
The player whose number will retire to the rafters on Sunday, January 11, 2015, was of course the highlight of this six-piece trade between the Winnipeg Jets and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 1996. Celebrated as one of the most important and one of the best players to play in Anaheim, Selanne’s achievements are too numerous to begin listing here, and if you need reminding, click here. Otherwise let’s just sum up his illustrious career with some key highlights.
First, his unforgettable rookie season, in 1992-93, scoring 76 goals and totaling 132 points in 84 games played, which earned him the Calder Memorial Trophy for Rookie of the year, only to follow that up in the 1998-99 season as the first recipient of the Rocket Richard Trophy, for the most goals in a single season, with 47. Next, Selanne would play on the Finnish Olympic team six times, taking home three bronze medals and a silver. Selanne was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy in the 2005-06 season, and helped the Anaheim Ducks to become Stanley Cup Champions in the 2006-07 season.
Conclusion Regarding Anaheim’s Acquisitions:
Clearly Anaheim made out like bandits in this trade, hell, giving up all they did they could have won even if they just got Teemu Selanne in return. All the other pieces of the trade were important, and all carried their own merit, however regardless of how you slice it, Anaheim definitely came out ahead. They managed to snag a big-bodied shutdown center, a draft pick that would later be exchanged for a reliable enforcer, and the of course the superstar named Teemu Selanne who retired in a Ducks’ jersey.
Without these other agents in the trade, Selanne may have never played in Anaheim, now that’s a nightmarish thought. But he did, and he became a genuine hero for one of the smallest hockey-market teams in the NHL, and for that we are both grateful, and proud.