By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 10 – June 16, 1990 – The Sabres trade Phil Housley, Scott Arniel, Jeff Parker and a first-round draft choice in 1990 (Keith Tkachuk) to Winnipeg for Dale Hawerchuk and a first-round draft choice in 1990 (Brad May).
If you like trades to be filled with blockbuster names, this one certainly qualified. Phil Housley had become something of a poster boy for Buffalo’s playoff failures in the Eighties, probably unfairly. He still was as good a skater as there was in the league among NHL defensemen though. Still, if Housley was going somewhere, it would take someone good to make a deal work.
Meanwhile, Dale Hawerchuk had been brilliant for Winnipeg for a decade, but his Jets teams kept running into the Oilers and Flames in the playoffs during that decade. He needed a change of scenery, and Sabres’ general manager Gerry Meehan thought Hawerchuk could be a great mentor for Buffalo’s young star center, Pierre Turgeon. The two stars were the centerpieces of a giant deal which was finished in the men’s room of the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, where team executives met during the draft to avoid detection.
That’s two Hall of Famers in one deal, and Keith Tkachuk might make it three someday. Brad May played more than one thousand games in a productive career. Scott Arniel also had some good years in both Winnipeg and Buffalo. The transaction sure changed the look of both teams, although playoff success still eluded them for years.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)