Islanders history of trades that worked out surprisingly well

Hall of Fame member Pat Lafontaine (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Hall of Fame member Pat Lafontaine (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

What trades in New York Islanders history had a surprising impact on the team?

Every trade a GM makes has a purpose and desired outcome. But sometimes a trade has a surprising twist. For the New York Islanders, it’s happened a few times in their history.

When I talk about a surprising twist I mean that the outcome wasn’t at all something that should have been expected. I’m also going full-on positive. No negative surprises like Kirk Muller just not wanting to play for the Islanders. This is a positive-only zone.

June 6, 1972: Getting Chico Resch for Cash

Chico Resch would finish his rookie season with an incredible 2.08GAA and 0.928SV%, in 1975-76 where the average for a goalie was a 3.37GAA and 0.890SV%. Resch would play 282 games for the New York Islanders and held a 2.56GAA and 0.911SV% in the regular season and held similar numbers in the playoffs winning a cup with the Islanders.

And all the Islanders had to give up was cash to the Montreal Canadiens to get the goalie. I can’t imagine it was a lot of cash, but it was clearly money well spent by the Islanders.

September 10, 1974: Bob Bourne for futures and rights

Again, bow tie Bill was at it again. This time he was able to get Bob Bourne from the Kansas City Scouts for next to nothing.

Bourne hadn’t yet played an NHL game but had some good numbers in the WCHL. Picked in the third round of the NHL draft in 1974, the Scouts were looking to move him for already. According to Bourne (subscription required), the Scouts asked him where he wanted to go and he picked the Islanders.

So to the Isles he went and in return the Scouts got future considerations (Bart Crashley) and the rights to Larry Hornung. Crashley and Hornung would play a combined 27 games for the Scouts.

Bourne would play 964 NHL games (814 with the Islanders) scored 582 points and win four Stanley Cups.

October 1, 1981: Cameron and Lorimer for LaFontaine

In 1981 Bill Torrey took a page out of Montreal Canadiens GM Sam Pollock’s books by trading a few players the Islanders didn’t need anymore for a top pick at the draft.

He sent center Dave Cameron and two-time Stanley Cup-winning defenseman  Bob Lorimer to the Colorado Rockies for their first-rounder two years later in 1983.

Now, I’m sure Torrey thought the pick was going to be a good one. The Rockies had made the playoffs once in their five years of existence to date. But he had no idea what he was going to get with that pick.

The Islanders would get the Rockies (then the New Jersey Devils) third overall pick. They would use that pick to eventually select future Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine.

I’m sure Torrey thought he could get a good player with the pick. But two years before the draft there’s no way he knew he was getting the type of player he got with LaFontaine.

June 27, 2009: Casey Cizikas for 2nd

On the first day of the 2009 draft, the Islanders sent their third and fourth-round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets to move up the draft from 26th overall to 16th overall.

On the second day of the draft, the Isles regained that third and fourth-round pick by giving the Blue Jackets Boston’s second-round pick that the Islanders received in 2007 when they traded Petteri Nokelainen.

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With that fourth-round pick, the Islanders drafted Casey Cizikas. And sure, he’s a fourth liner on this squad but Cizikas’s importance to this team is incredible. He’s the heart and soul of this club and getting that in the fourth-round is incredibly surprising.