1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

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1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby FLPensFan on Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:23 am

So yesterday, one of the writers for the Athletic, Sean Shapiro, wrote an article based on an excerpt from a book he wrote about the Dallas Stars history. The article was based on one particular trade that helped launch the Dallas stars into an annual playoff team and Cup winner......acquiring Sergei Zubov from Pittsburgh.

As the way Sean tells it (this is from multiple interviews he has done on what went down), Craig Patrick went to Bob Gainey at the 1996 draft, and asked him if he would be interested in Zubov. Gainey said yes. Patrick said, we'd want Hatcher. Gainey says Derian? Patrick says no, Kevin.

Gainey hung up the phone and asked the rest of his table "Is there any reason we wouldn't trade Kevin Hatcher for Sergei Zubov?" (Gainey must have been floored by this too good to be true scenario)

Thing is, as the article states, Dallas had been trying to unload Kevin Hatcher, as the Stars said as soon as he arrived, he considerably dragged down brother Derian. Stars president Jim Lites said Kevin "had no character" and as soon as he arrived, Derian started following in his footsteps and his play suffered. The team actually had a mandate to trade Kevin Hatcher if at all possible.

The trade almost didn't happen, as while the owner was pretty hands off, he did request that any trade that was going to be made, he was phoned and made aware of first.....and the Stars couldn't reach him. He was in the middle of the Black Sea for a business deal with a client. The Stars bucked the protocol and made the deal anyway.

Zubov was also very skeptical of going to Dallas. The Stars had to call him and kind of convince him that this would be a good move.

The article also talks about some of the rumored "why" Pittsburgh traded Zubov. The article states the Mario factor, and that Zubov asked for a trade due to lack of Russians in the Pittsburgh area (with the Rangers, there was a bigger Russian community apparently). Zubov said both of those reasons are BS. Said he got along fine with Mario. He also said the Russian stuff wasn't a factor. He said Dallas wasn't a good team, he liked the NY area, and Dallas was about as far away from NY as you could get. But, Zubov said he simply thinks the Penguins were looking for one thing and Dallas another, and it was just a normal trade.

You can read the article here if you have the Athletic: https://theathletic.com/576874/2018/10/08/book-excerpt-22-years-ago-the-dallas-stars-pulled-off-a-heist-for-sergei-zubov-heres-the-inside-story/

I gave this thread the title I did because, while the Zubov trade is one of the top worst trades in Penguins history, the other worst trade happened several months earlier in March 1996, when Patrick traded Naslund for Stojanov. I'm sure he had reasons for both, but, both of these are probably the two worst trades in Penguins history, and they happened only months apart.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby Great58 on Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:55 am

Pittsburgh is not Manhattan, of course, but I always understood there was a sizable Russian population in Squirrel Hill and Greenfield.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby Jim on Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:00 am

There were a few bad trades done for salary reasons, but to me those were necessary bad trades (Kovolev, Jagr, etc). The Zubov trade was not one of those... ugh.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby DelPen on Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:00 am

Looking at that and then the almost total rebuild in the fall of 1997 is amazing.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby Defence21 on Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:01 am

FLPensFan wrote:So yesterday, one of the writers for the Athletic, Sean Shapiro, wrote an article based on an excerpt from a book he wrote about the Dallas Stars history. The article was based on one particular trade that helped launch the Dallas stars into an annual playoff team and Cup winner......acquiring Sergei Zubov from Pittsburgh.

As the way Sean tells it (this is from multiple interviews he has done on what went down), Craig Patrick went to Bob Gainey at the 1996 draft, and asked him if he would be interested in Zubov. Gainey said yes. Patrick said, we'd want Hatcher. Gainey says Derian? Patrick says no, Kevin.

Gainey hung up the phone and asked the rest of his table "Is there any reason we wouldn't trade Kevin Hatcher for Sergei Zubov?" (Gainey must have been floored by this too good to be true scenario)

Thing is, as the article states, Dallas had been trying to unload Kevin Hatcher, as the Stars said as soon as he arrived, he considerably dragged down brother Derian. Stars president Jim Lites said Kevin "had no character" and as soon as he arrived, Derian started following in his footsteps and his play suffered. The team actually had a mandate to trade Kevin Hatcher if at all possible.

The trade almost didn't happen, as while the owner was pretty hands off, he did request that any trade that was going to be made, he was phoned and made aware of first.....and the Stars couldn't reach him. He was in the middle of the Black Sea for a business deal with a client. The Stars bucked the protocol and made the deal anyway.

Zubov was also very skeptical of going to Dallas. The Stars had to call him and kind of convince him that this would be a good move.

The article also talks about some of the rumored "why" Pittsburgh traded Zubov. The article states the Mario factor, and that Zubov asked for a trade due to lack of Russians in the Pittsburgh area (with the Rangers, there was a bigger Russian community apparently). Zubov said both of those reasons are BS. Said he got along fine with Mario. He also said the Russian stuff wasn't a factor. He said Dallas wasn't a good team, he liked the NY area, and Dallas was about as far away from NY as you could get. But, Zubov said he simply thinks the Penguins were looking for one thing and Dallas another, and it was just a normal trade.

You can read the article here if you have the Athletic: https://theathletic.com/576874/2018/10/08/book-excerpt-22-years-ago-the-dallas-stars-pulled-off-a-heist-for-sergei-zubov-heres-the-inside-story/

I gave this thread the title I did because, while the Zubov trade is one of the top worst trades in Penguins history, the other worst trade happened several months earlier in March 1996, when Patrick traded Naslund for Stojanov. I'm sure he had reasons for both, but, both of these are probably the two worst trades in Penguins history, and they happened only months apart.

Interesting tidbit on Zubov. I never did buy into the Mario rumors, but you never know.

As for Naslund, I can't believe how many people hang onto this and still call it one of the franchise's worst trades. Naslund, while in Pittsburgh, was trapped on a third line with little room to move up the roster. He also was known as "Mr. September" for having played well early in the season, then fading as the season progressed. Stojanov was drafted higher than Naslund in the same draft year, but showed more as a 3rd/4th liner, and Naslund to that point showed to be a bad fit on a 3rd/4th line and too inconsistent for the top six. The trade was fine at the time and looked even better when Naslund was waived by Vancouver and went unclaimed, paving the way for him to stay with the Canucks and rejuvenate his career. Meanwhile, Stojanov went the other direction when, soon after the trade, he was in a car accident that caused him lingering issued that likely derailed his career. Sure, the Canucks won the trade in hindsight. But they won it by luck and nothing more. No team in the NHL felt he was worth the risk and watched him pass through waivers before he became a star. Patrick made many good moves early in his career, and the longer he stayed, the more I questioned his thinking. But not in this case. This was a trade of an overhyped/underachieving skill player for a more rugged guy to fill a team need. As it turns out, the players trended in opposite directions and the result looks bad for the Penguins.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby Jim on Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:15 am

Defence21 wrote:As for Naslund, I can't believe how many people hang onto this and still call it one of the franchise's worst trades. Naslund, while in Pittsburgh, was trapped on a third line with little room to move up the roster. He also was known as "Mr. September" for having played well early in the season, then fading as the season progressed. Stojanov was drafted higher than Naslund in the same draft year, but showed more as a 3rd/4th liner, and Naslund to that point showed to be a bad fit on a 3rd/4th line and too inconsistent for the top six. The trade was fine at the time and looked even better when Naslund was waived by Vancouver and went unclaimed, paving the way for him to stay with the Canucks and rejuvenate his career. Meanwhile, Stojanov went the other direction when, soon after the trade, he was in a car accident that caused him lingering issued that likely derailed his career. Sure, the Canucks won the trade in hindsight. But they won it by luck and nothing more. No team in the NHL felt he was worth the risk and watched him pass through waivers before he became a star. Patrick made many good moves early in his career, and the longer he stayed, the more I questioned his thinking. But not in this case. This was a trade of an overhyped/underachieving skill player for a more rugged guy to fill a team need. As it turns out, the players trended in opposite directions and the result looks bad for the Penguins.


The key issue for me when the Naslund trade comes up is that he was made available to all of the teams and no one bit. From what I recall, I think I had posted a link a few years back, That in an interview Naslund said that when no one wanted him it really affected him and caused him to turn the corner.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby Defence21 on Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:32 am

Jim wrote:
Defence21 wrote:As for Naslund, I can't believe how many people hang onto this and still call it one of the franchise's worst trades. Naslund, while in Pittsburgh, was trapped on a third line with little room to move up the roster. He also was known as "Mr. September" for having played well early in the season, then fading as the season progressed. Stojanov was drafted higher than Naslund in the same draft year, but showed more as a 3rd/4th liner, and Naslund to that point showed to be a bad fit on a 3rd/4th line and too inconsistent for the top six. The trade was fine at the time and looked even better when Naslund was waived by Vancouver and went unclaimed, paving the way for him to stay with the Canucks and rejuvenate his career. Meanwhile, Stojanov went the other direction when, soon after the trade, he was in a car accident that caused him lingering issued that likely derailed his career. Sure, the Canucks won the trade in hindsight. But they won it by luck and nothing more. No team in the NHL felt he was worth the risk and watched him pass through waivers before he became a star. Patrick made many good moves early in his career, and the longer he stayed, the more I questioned his thinking. But not in this case. This was a trade of an overhyped/underachieving skill player for a more rugged guy to fill a team need. As it turns out, the players trended in opposite directions and the result looks bad for the Penguins.


The key issue for me when the Naslund trade comes up is that he was made available to all of the teams and no one bit. From what I recall, I think I had posted a link a few years back, That in an interview Naslund said that when no one wanted him it really affected him and caused him to turn the corner.

Exactly. He was not highly regarded anywhere. This was not a case of Craig Patrick blindness that everyone else could see. This was a player who was on the verge of exiting the league. Hindsight is 20/20.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby FLPensFan on Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:33 am

Defence21 wrote:
FLPensFan wrote:So yesterday, one of the writers for the Athletic, Sean Shapiro, wrote an article based on an excerpt from a book he wrote about the Dallas Stars history. The article was based on one particular trade that helped launch the Dallas stars into an annual playoff team and Cup winner......acquiring Sergei Zubov from Pittsburgh.

As the way Sean tells it (this is from multiple interviews he has done on what went down), Craig Patrick went to Bob Gainey at the 1996 draft, and asked him if he would be interested in Zubov. Gainey said yes. Patrick said, we'd want Hatcher. Gainey says Derian? Patrick says no, Kevin.

Gainey hung up the phone and asked the rest of his table "Is there any reason we wouldn't trade Kevin Hatcher for Sergei Zubov?" (Gainey must have been floored by this too good to be true scenario)

Thing is, as the article states, Dallas had been trying to unload Kevin Hatcher, as the Stars said as soon as he arrived, he considerably dragged down brother Derian. Stars president Jim Lites said Kevin "had no character" and as soon as he arrived, Derian started following in his footsteps and his play suffered. The team actually had a mandate to trade Kevin Hatcher if at all possible.

The trade almost didn't happen, as while the owner was pretty hands off, he did request that any trade that was going to be made, he was phoned and made aware of first.....and the Stars couldn't reach him. He was in the middle of the Black Sea for a business deal with a client. The Stars bucked the protocol and made the deal anyway.

Zubov was also very skeptical of going to Dallas. The Stars had to call him and kind of convince him that this would be a good move.

The article also talks about some of the rumored "why" Pittsburgh traded Zubov. The article states the Mario factor, and that Zubov asked for a trade due to lack of Russians in the Pittsburgh area (with the Rangers, there was a bigger Russian community apparently). Zubov said both of those reasons are BS. Said he got along fine with Mario. He also said the Russian stuff wasn't a factor. He said Dallas wasn't a good team, he liked the NY area, and Dallas was about as far away from NY as you could get. But, Zubov said he simply thinks the Penguins were looking for one thing and Dallas another, and it was just a normal trade.

You can read the article here if you have the Athletic: https://theathletic.com/576874/2018/10/08/book-excerpt-22-years-ago-the-dallas-stars-pulled-off-a-heist-for-sergei-zubov-heres-the-inside-story/

I gave this thread the title I did because, while the Zubov trade is one of the top worst trades in Penguins history, the other worst trade happened several months earlier in March 1996, when Patrick traded Naslund for Stojanov. I'm sure he had reasons for both, but, both of these are probably the two worst trades in Penguins history, and they happened only months apart.

Interesting tidbit on Zubov. I never did buy into the Mario rumors, but you never know.

As for Naslund, I can't believe how many people hang onto this and still call it one of the franchise's worst trades. Naslund, while in Pittsburgh, was trapped on a third line with little room to move up the roster. He also was known as "Mr. September" for having played well early in the season, then fading as the season progressed. Stojanov was drafted higher than Naslund in the same draft year, but showed more as a 3rd/4th liner, and Naslund to that point showed to be a bad fit on a 3rd/4th line and too inconsistent for the top six. The trade was fine at the time and looked even better when Naslund was waived by Vancouver and went unclaimed, paving the way for him to stay with the Canucks and rejuvenate his career. Meanwhile, Stojanov went the other direction when, soon after the trade, he was in a car accident that caused him lingering issued that likely derailed his career. Sure, the Canucks won the trade in hindsight. But they won it by luck and nothing more. No team in the NHL felt he was worth the risk and watched him pass through waivers before he became a star. Patrick made many good moves early in his career, and the longer he stayed, the more I questioned his thinking. But not in this case. This was a trade of an overhyped/underachieving skill player for a more rugged guy to fill a team need. As it turns out, the players trended in opposite directions and the result looks bad for the Penguins.

Sorry, but I disagree. I get that there are some reasons behind it. Patrick wanted to go out and get a guy like Stojanov, but, it was still a bad trade. The Penguins simply didn't give him enough time to develop. He was only 20 when he came over to Pittsburgh, and 23 when they traded him. He was inconsistent, but, the Penguins should have been more patient.

I think Naslund situation is actually quite close to Daniel Sprong's current situation. Penguins had a stacked lineup, but were wanting Naslund to be a top line player when they already had Jagr, Stevens, Robitaille, Nedved, and Sandstrom at times ahead of him. Naslund actually asked for a trade about a year before the Penguins actually dealt him. I think, with the firepower the Penguins had back then, they were in win now mode and didn't give Naslund enough time to develop. Similar to what is happening with Sprong.

I also don't like the deal because it is one of a series of deals that Patrick made
- Naslund out, Stojanov in
- Zubov out, Hatcher in
- Tyler Wright for a draft pick
- Smolinski out, Kasparitis in

4 trades that happened from March to November 1996 that saw the Penguins dealing away skilled players and bringing in heavier, tougher, more physical players.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby Defence21 on Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:01 pm

FLPensFan wrote:
Defence21 wrote:
FLPensFan wrote:So yesterday, one of the writers for the Athletic, Sean Shapiro, wrote an article based on an excerpt from a book he wrote about the Dallas Stars history. The article was based on one particular trade that helped launch the Dallas stars into an annual playoff team and Cup winner......acquiring Sergei Zubov from Pittsburgh.

As the way Sean tells it (this is from multiple interviews he has done on what went down), Craig Patrick went to Bob Gainey at the 1996 draft, and asked him if he would be interested in Zubov. Gainey said yes. Patrick said, we'd want Hatcher. Gainey says Derian? Patrick says no, Kevin.

Gainey hung up the phone and asked the rest of his table "Is there any reason we wouldn't trade Kevin Hatcher for Sergei Zubov?" (Gainey must have been floored by this too good to be true scenario)

Thing is, as the article states, Dallas had been trying to unload Kevin Hatcher, as the Stars said as soon as he arrived, he considerably dragged down brother Derian. Stars president Jim Lites said Kevin "had no character" and as soon as he arrived, Derian started following in his footsteps and his play suffered. The team actually had a mandate to trade Kevin Hatcher if at all possible.

The trade almost didn't happen, as while the owner was pretty hands off, he did request that any trade that was going to be made, he was phoned and made aware of first.....and the Stars couldn't reach him. He was in the middle of the Black Sea for a business deal with a client. The Stars bucked the protocol and made the deal anyway.

Zubov was also very skeptical of going to Dallas. The Stars had to call him and kind of convince him that this would be a good move.

The article also talks about some of the rumored "why" Pittsburgh traded Zubov. The article states the Mario factor, and that Zubov asked for a trade due to lack of Russians in the Pittsburgh area (with the Rangers, there was a bigger Russian community apparently). Zubov said both of those reasons are BS. Said he got along fine with Mario. He also said the Russian stuff wasn't a factor. He said Dallas wasn't a good team, he liked the NY area, and Dallas was about as far away from NY as you could get. But, Zubov said he simply thinks the Penguins were looking for one thing and Dallas another, and it was just a normal trade.

You can read the article here if you have the Athletic: https://theathletic.com/576874/2018/10/08/book-excerpt-22-years-ago-the-dallas-stars-pulled-off-a-heist-for-sergei-zubov-heres-the-inside-story/

I gave this thread the title I did because, while the Zubov trade is one of the top worst trades in Penguins history, the other worst trade happened several months earlier in March 1996, when Patrick traded Naslund for Stojanov. I'm sure he had reasons for both, but, both of these are probably the two worst trades in Penguins history, and they happened only months apart.

Interesting tidbit on Zubov. I never did buy into the Mario rumors, but you never know.

As for Naslund, I can't believe how many people hang onto this and still call it one of the franchise's worst trades. Naslund, while in Pittsburgh, was trapped on a third line with little room to move up the roster. He also was known as "Mr. September" for having played well early in the season, then fading as the season progressed. Stojanov was drafted higher than Naslund in the same draft year, but showed more as a 3rd/4th liner, and Naslund to that point showed to be a bad fit on a 3rd/4th line and too inconsistent for the top six. The trade was fine at the time and looked even better when Naslund was waived by Vancouver and went unclaimed, paving the way for him to stay with the Canucks and rejuvenate his career. Meanwhile, Stojanov went the other direction when, soon after the trade, he was in a car accident that caused him lingering issued that likely derailed his career. Sure, the Canucks won the trade in hindsight. But they won it by luck and nothing more. No team in the NHL felt he was worth the risk and watched him pass through waivers before he became a star. Patrick made many good moves early in his career, and the longer he stayed, the more I questioned his thinking. But not in this case. This was a trade of an overhyped/underachieving skill player for a more rugged guy to fill a team need. As it turns out, the players trended in opposite directions and the result looks bad for the Penguins.

Sorry, but I disagree. I get that there are some reasons behind it. Patrick wanted to go out and get a guy like Stojanov, but, it was still a bad trade. The Penguins simply didn't give him enough time to develop. He was only 20 when he came over to Pittsburgh, and 23 when they traded him. He was inconsistent, but, the Penguins should have been more patient.

I think Naslund situation is actually quite close to Daniel Sprong's current situation. Penguins had a stacked lineup, but were wanting Naslund to be a top line player when they already had Jagr, Stevens, Robitaille, Nedved, and Sandstrom at times ahead of him. Naslund actually asked for a trade about a year before the Penguins actually dealt him. I think, with the firepower the Penguins had back then, they were in win now mode and didn't give Naslund enough time to develop. Similar to what is happening with Sprong.

I also don't like the deal because it is one of a series of deals that Patrick made
- Naslund out, Stojanov in
- Zubov out, Hatcher in
- Tyler Wright for a draft pick
- Smolinski out, Kasparitis in

4 trades that happened from March to November 1996 that saw the Penguins dealing away skilled players and bringing in heavier, tougher, more physical players.

Your argument, though, ignores that Naslund cleared waivers after the trade. It wasn't just Patrick who didn't think highly of Naslund, it was the entire league.

As for selling skill for physicality, it can be argued that the Penguins needed to deal away some of their second-tire skill guys to become more well rounded and less Globetrotter.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby Jim on Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:19 pm

Defence21 wrote:
FLPensFan wrote:I think Naslund situation is actually quite close to Daniel Sprong's current situation.

Your argument, though, ignores that Naslund cleared waivers after the trade. It wasn't just Patrick who didn't think highly of Naslund, it was the entire league.

As for selling skill for physicality, it can be argued that the Penguins needed to deal away some of their second-tire skill guys to become more well rounded and less Globetrotter.


If the Pens and let Sprong become a UFA this summer, then resigned him after 7/1... that would be a valid comparison to Naslund.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby Steve on Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:36 pm

FLPensFan wrote:Sorry, but I disagree. I get that there are some reasons behind it. Patrick wanted to go out and get a guy like Stojanov, but, it was still a bad trade. The Penguins simply didn't give him enough time to develop. He was only 20 when he came over to Pittsburgh, and 23 when they traded him. He was inconsistent, but, the Penguins should have been more patient.

I think Naslund situation is actually quite close to Daniel Sprong's current situation. Penguins had a stacked lineup, but were wanting Naslund to be a top line player when they already had Jagr, Stevens, Robitaille, Nedved, and Sandstrom at times ahead of him. Naslund actually asked for a trade about a year before the Penguins actually dealt him. I think, with the firepower the Penguins had back then, they were in win now mode and didn't give Naslund enough time to develop. Similar to what is happening with Sprong.

I also don't like the deal because it is one of a series of deals that Patrick made
- Naslund out, Stojanov in
- Zubov out, Hatcher in
- Tyler Wright for a draft pick
- Smolinski out, Kasparitis in

4 trades that happened from March to November 1996 that saw the Penguins dealing away skilled players and bringing in heavier, tougher, more physical players.


They are both terrible trades, the difference though (for me) was that that Nasland trade eventually became very lopsided, and in part due to an automobile accident that no one could predict.

The Zubov trade was horrible the second it occurred. I also don't buy into those Mario rumors, I remember some quote about the Pens needing a "warrior". Hatcher was not a warrior. I was at the 4OT Nedved goal game with the Caps - I remember Zubov pretty much playing every other shift in that game, he definitely was a warrior in that one at least.

Thanks for the OP, interesting stuff!
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby FLPensFan on Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:01 pm

Defence21 wrote:
FLPensFan wrote:
Defence21 wrote:
FLPensFan wrote:So yesterday, one of the writers for the Athletic, Sean Shapiro, wrote an article based on an excerpt from a book he wrote about the Dallas Stars history. The article was based on one particular trade that helped launch the Dallas stars into an annual playoff team and Cup winner......acquiring Sergei Zubov from Pittsburgh.

As the way Sean tells it (this is from multiple interviews he has done on what went down), Craig Patrick went to Bob Gainey at the 1996 draft, and asked him if he would be interested in Zubov. Gainey said yes. Patrick said, we'd want Hatcher. Gainey says Derian? Patrick says no, Kevin.

Gainey hung up the phone and asked the rest of his table "Is there any reason we wouldn't trade Kevin Hatcher for Sergei Zubov?" (Gainey must have been floored by this too good to be true scenario)

Thing is, as the article states, Dallas had been trying to unload Kevin Hatcher, as the Stars said as soon as he arrived, he considerably dragged down brother Derian. Stars president Jim Lites said Kevin "had no character" and as soon as he arrived, Derian started following in his footsteps and his play suffered. The team actually had a mandate to trade Kevin Hatcher if at all possible.

The trade almost didn't happen, as while the owner was pretty hands off, he did request that any trade that was going to be made, he was phoned and made aware of first.....and the Stars couldn't reach him. He was in the middle of the Black Sea for a business deal with a client. The Stars bucked the protocol and made the deal anyway.

Zubov was also very skeptical of going to Dallas. The Stars had to call him and kind of convince him that this would be a good move.

The article also talks about some of the rumored "why" Pittsburgh traded Zubov. The article states the Mario factor, and that Zubov asked for a trade due to lack of Russians in the Pittsburgh area (with the Rangers, there was a bigger Russian community apparently). Zubov said both of those reasons are BS. Said he got along fine with Mario. He also said the Russian stuff wasn't a factor. He said Dallas wasn't a good team, he liked the NY area, and Dallas was about as far away from NY as you could get. But, Zubov said he simply thinks the Penguins were looking for one thing and Dallas another, and it was just a normal trade.

You can read the article here if you have the Athletic: https://theathletic.com/576874/2018/10/08/book-excerpt-22-years-ago-the-dallas-stars-pulled-off-a-heist-for-sergei-zubov-heres-the-inside-story/

I gave this thread the title I did because, while the Zubov trade is one of the top worst trades in Penguins history, the other worst trade happened several months earlier in March 1996, when Patrick traded Naslund for Stojanov. I'm sure he had reasons for both, but, both of these are probably the two worst trades in Penguins history, and they happened only months apart.

Interesting tidbit on Zubov. I never did buy into the Mario rumors, but you never know.

As for Naslund, I can't believe how many people hang onto this and still call it one of the franchise's worst trades. Naslund, while in Pittsburgh, was trapped on a third line with little room to move up the roster. He also was known as "Mr. September" for having played well early in the season, then fading as the season progressed. Stojanov was drafted higher than Naslund in the same draft year, but showed more as a 3rd/4th liner, and Naslund to that point showed to be a bad fit on a 3rd/4th line and too inconsistent for the top six. The trade was fine at the time and looked even better when Naslund was waived by Vancouver and went unclaimed, paving the way for him to stay with the Canucks and rejuvenate his career. Meanwhile, Stojanov went the other direction when, soon after the trade, he was in a car accident that caused him lingering issued that likely derailed his career. Sure, the Canucks won the trade in hindsight. But they won it by luck and nothing more. No team in the NHL felt he was worth the risk and watched him pass through waivers before he became a star. Patrick made many good moves early in his career, and the longer he stayed, the more I questioned his thinking. But not in this case. This was a trade of an overhyped/underachieving skill player for a more rugged guy to fill a team need. As it turns out, the players trended in opposite directions and the result looks bad for the Penguins.

Sorry, but I disagree. I get that there are some reasons behind it. Patrick wanted to go out and get a guy like Stojanov, but, it was still a bad trade. The Penguins simply didn't give him enough time to develop. He was only 20 when he came over to Pittsburgh, and 23 when they traded him. He was inconsistent, but, the Penguins should have been more patient.

I think Naslund situation is actually quite close to Daniel Sprong's current situation. Penguins had a stacked lineup, but were wanting Naslund to be a top line player when they already had Jagr, Stevens, Robitaille, Nedved, and Sandstrom at times ahead of him. Naslund actually asked for a trade about a year before the Penguins actually dealt him. I think, with the firepower the Penguins had back then, they were in win now mode and didn't give Naslund enough time to develop. Similar to what is happening with Sprong.

I also don't like the deal because it is one of a series of deals that Patrick made
- Naslund out, Stojanov in
- Zubov out, Hatcher in
- Tyler Wright for a draft pick
- Smolinski out, Kasparitis in

4 trades that happened from March to November 1996 that saw the Penguins dealing away skilled players and bringing in heavier, tougher, more physical players.

Your argument, though, ignores that Naslund cleared waivers after the trade. It wasn't just Patrick who didn't think highly of Naslund, it was the entire league.

As for selling skill for physicality, it can be argued that the Penguins needed to deal away some of their second-tire skill guys to become more well rounded and less Globetrotter.

I get what you are saying, although, I'd love to know why GMs passed on him. He was known to have a bit of an attitude. I remember a hockey card or hockey book I had in the 90's stated that Naslund "liked to use his stick as the great equilizer," and not to score goals (I guess he liked to whack people alot early on). Fact is though, for moving throughout the lineup, he had 19 goals, 52 points in only 66 games with the Penguins when he was traded. Seems like he was just starting to come around and the Penguins pulled the trigger too soon. Maybe not top 6 performance yet in that age, but he was improving.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby Daniel on Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:01 pm

FLPensFan wrote:I get what you are saying, although, I'd love to know why GMs passed on him. He was known to have a bit of an attitude. I remember a hockey card or hockey book I had in the 90's stated that Naslund "liked to use his stick as the great equilizer," and not to score goals (I guess he liked to whack people alot early on). Fact is though, for moving throughout the lineup, he had 19 goals, 52 points in only 66 games with the Penguins when he was traded. Seems like he was just starting to come around and the Penguins pulled the trigger too soon. Maybe not top 6 performance yet in that age, but he was improving.


I honestly think the only reason this is even a discussion point is because of Stojanov's car wreck. He might not have been the scorer that Naslund was, but the Penguins have never had a problem scoring. They had a huge problem with toughness in the late 90s and Stojanov would have helped with that. He would have made a difference in the playoffs. I remember thinking he'd be a nice power forward with some good skill.

You also assume that Naslund would have had exactly the same career in Pittsburgh as in Vancouver. It was stated above that his waiver experience was a wakeup call that he doesn't get in Pittsburgh. He likely would have been Morozov and you would have wished he got traded.

Won't even defend the Zubov trade, it sucked the day of and it sucks 20 years later.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby DelPen on Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:21 pm

There was a game vs the Rags at the end of the season after the deadline where Messier was being his turdish self and neasinf with Mario. By the end of the night Messier was playing with 4th line goons trying to take runs at Stojonov because he was pit with Mario and kept hitting Messier the rest of the game. Stupid car wreck.

I guess the issue always has been CP dealing one for one when she should have got more. He had a player that didn’t fit his plan, Naslind and Zubov, and wanted guys who he thought fit better, but his hand was worth more and he didn’t ever think to get proper value back since he was happy with his trades.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby FLPensFan on Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:07 pm

DelPen wrote:There was a game vs the Rags at the end of the season after the deadline where Messier was being his turdish self and neasinf with Mario. By the end of the night Messier was playing with 4th line goons trying to take runs at Stojonov because he was pit with Mario and kept hitting Messier the rest of the game. Stupid car wreck.

I guess the issue always has been CP dealing one for one when she should have got more. He had a player that didn’t fit his plan, Naslind and Zubov, and wanted guys who he thought fit better, but his hand was worth more and he didn’t ever think to get proper value back since he was happy with his trades.

That's probably a good summary of how I feel but never said it in those words. He could have got much more for Zubov and Naslund. That's the more tragic part of these deals. As I said, Naslund had 52 points with Pittsburgh at the time of the trade, so he wasn't a complete bust. He was actually on the rise.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby midd on Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:44 am

I remember the Zubov trade. The Pens and Mario were not pleased with Zubov's pass first mentality. After the trade was made, Mario was calling Hatcher, a personal friend, a "warrior". He seemed to have forgotten about Hatcher's inability to move from a standing still position.
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Re: 1996: The year Craig Patrick went loco

Postby longtimefan on Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:26 pm

FLPensFan wrote:I also don't like the deal because it is one of a series of deals that Patrick made
- Naslund out, Stojanov in
- Zubov out, Hatcher in
- Tyler Wright for a draft pick
- Smolinski out, Kasparitis in

4 trades that happened from March to November 1996 that saw the Penguins dealing away skilled players and bringing in heavier, tougher, more physical players.


It was the sign of the times. The class of the league were the Flyers, who were heavy favorites to win the Cup. The Wings upset them. Eric Lindros was the dominant player in the league. The Pens stll had top line talent, like Lemieux, Francis, and Jagr. But the first two were on the other side of 30, and Mario ended up retiring after the '96-'97 season. Clutch and grab was at it's height, with Mario citing it as a big reason for his first retirement. You had to have bigger bodies to fight through the obstruction. It was the sign of the times, and the Pens tried to build around the remnants of the early '90's Cup teams. The Pens were known as a talented, finesse, team. They tried to toughen up around it. It was a brutal failure for that season, as they barely made the playoffs, and the Flyers got rid of them in 5 games. But Patrick's mindset was to try to win a Cup while Mario and Francis were still around.

As far as the deals you mentioned, Patrick says his worst trade was the Naslund deal. But it's hard to say how much more he could have got for him, since he did pass through waivers after the trade. He just blossomed later. I can see some parallels to Sprong, as I think it was tough for Naslund to break in with superstars. Sure, it's great to play on Mario's LW, but that's a ton of pressure. When he hit some rough spots, he couldn't stay there. In Vancouver, he eventually just played. Stojonov was a 1st rounder with a history of being a nuisance for Lindros, having been the only guy supposedly to beat Lindros in a Jr's fight. He struggled in Van, but there was some promise prior to the accident. But it was a specific targeting of toughness for Patrick.

Zubov for Hatcher was a bad deal. He should have gotten more. I don't remember it being a personality problem with Mario though. They just weren't compatible on the powerplay. Zubov liked to control the PP, and so did Mario. Hatcher seemed a better fit. Regardless, Patrick likely sold himself short. Especially after pulling off a bit of a coup by acquiring Zubov in the first place.

Tyler Wright for a 7th. :) That's a deal nobody pays attention to. In fact, Wright far outplayed the cost, simply by playing in the NHL for a couple of years. There was a very sad time that he was basically their enforcer, fighting Peter Worrell. (I also remember Barrasso coming out of his crease to beat the carp out of Darcy Tucker)

Smolinski was a hold out. $$$'s were beginning to rear their ugly head. Kasparaitis was a trade the fans basically were clamoring for. Smolinski was excellent the season before, and they preferred to keep him. But fans were clamoring for an Ulf replacement since he was traded. Plus, he became a staple on thier bluelie for several years. You may not agree with how he played, but it was the sign of the times.

I do think Patrick should also be given credit for keeping the team competitive until he was forced to trade Jagr. Competitive enough for Mario to cite it as one of the reasons he came back. He turned the Nedved holdout into Kovalev, and he signed Straka back as a free agent. Then he cliamed Robert Lang off of waivers. Those were pretty savvy moves in my opinion. That just never had enough to push through. Then they were forced to blow it up.
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