Jan 23, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA; Calgary Flames right wing Jarome Iginla (12) during the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars' Most Disappointing Transaction

A few days ago I mentioned the Puck Daddy “Summer of Disappointment” series they are running and how I thought they got pretty much everything on the list wrong, and that’s okay. Disagreements are the lifeblood of the internet. However, as a professional opinion giver I didn’t think it is fair to say that someone is wrong unless I’m able to show why. With that in mind, I would like to offer my opinions on the worst of the Dallas Stars. Today we take a look at the Most Disappointing Transaction: Dallas giving up Jarome Iginla in exchange for Joe Nieuwendyk.

Before you freak out on me, let me explain. I’m aware that without Nieuwendyk the Stars don’t win the 1999 Stanley Cup. They don’t become the dominate force that they were to close the century. This trade isn’t on the list because Iginla has scored 560 goals and 1,167 points in his Hall of Fame career. This is the worst trade in Stars franchise history because Calgary originally wanted someone completely different – Todd Harvey.

Prior to the trade, Nieuwendyk was holding out in Calgary about a new contract. Calgary was a smaller market and Nieuwendyk wanted two million dollars, something the Flames simply couldn’t afford. As the season wore on it became clear that Nieuwendyk’s time in Calgary was coming to an end. While there were offers made to the Flames from St. Louis and Toronto (allegedly better ones), Calgary liked the idea of trading with Dallas. The player going to Calgary was either going to be Iginla or Harvey, and while the Flames preferred Harvey, the Stars had the choice. 

At the time, Iginla was still a prospect, and while he was producing at a solid rate, he was still a few years away from being NHL ready and nobody would have guessed that he would have turned out to be the player he became. Harvey, meanwhile had just posted 11 goals and 20 points as a rookie and looked like he could become a very solid power forward.

So the Stars elected to give up Iginla and focus on winning sooner rather than later. It’s very hard to second guess that decision, since Nieuwendyk was a pivotal force in the Stars 99 Cup run.  Of course having the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, it is interesting to think about what would have happened had the Stars traded Harvey instead of Iginla.

What we do know for sure is that either way, the Stars would have ended up with Nieuwendyk. Imagine that the Stars kept Iginla, would Dallas think they needed to go out and sign someone like Brett Hull? Would the 99 Cup even happen? With Iginla’s help, would Dallas have gotten past New Jersey and repeat as champions in 2000? Would Iginla have won a Cup at this point and spent his whole career with Dallas? Harvey ended up playing four seasons with Dallas, scoring only 38 goals and 99 points. Iginla, by comparison, has had five seasons with at least 38 goals, and three seasons with at least 94 points.

I think that with Iginla, the Stars would have been even better than they were to close the century. Of course that could (and probably would have) altered the point standings, the consequential draft order and the whole direction of the franchise. Maybe the Stars wouldn’t have ended up drafting Jamie Benn, hiring Jim Nill or trading for Seguin. There’s no way to tell, but in my opinion, despite winning the ultimate prize, it’s tough to imagine trading away an almost 1,200 point career. The fact that they could have had the same return and gave up much less is what makes this the most disappointing transaction in Dallas Stars history.

What do you think?

As always, I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading and go Stars!

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