We are breaking into the Trade Vault again and taking a look at one of the most Lopsided trades in Penguins History.
The deal went down at the trade deadline on March 20, 1996.
Let’s face it: in the early to mid 90’s the Penguins were blessed with an immensely powerful lineup.
Lemieux, Jagr, Francis, Nedved, Sandstrom were some of the names that had goalies hiding in the goal cage. Heck, even Dmitri Mironov put up over 30 points in 1996-97.
So when the 16th overall pick in the 1st round of the 1991 Entry Draft, began to emerge and display his offensive prowess, his talents were deemed expendable by the Penguins.
That pick’s name was MARKUS NASLUND. Yes, that Markus Naslund.
The Markus Naslund who would appear in 1,117 NHL games and Appear 869 Times on the score sheet.
The Markus Naslund who would play 12 seasons for the Vancouver Canucks and eventually become captain.
The Markus Naslund who would win the Lester B. Pearson Award in the 2002-2003 season.
The Markus Naslund who would become the Canucks’ All-Time leading scorer.
The Markus Naslund who had his number hung from the rafters of the Canucks’ home arena.
So, by now you are probably saying that we must have got one heck of a return for a player of that calibre, right?
Well, take a look below.
Alek was drafted by the Canucks the same year as Naslund, however, Alek was drafted 7th overall. One pick behind Peter Forsberg.
Pittsburgh was in need of protection for the Millionaires Club that were the Pens’ Top 6 and Alek fit that bill.
He was 6’4 and had developed a “fearsome” reputation after famously pummelling Eric Lindros in junior hockey and he was drawing comparisons to one of the NHL’s legendary fighters, Bob Probert.
At times Alek also displayed somewhat of a scoring touch.
Pittsburgh was hoping for the best of both worlds: a enforcer type that could put the puck in the net.
Let's see how that worked out for the Pens.
Alek scored in his Penguins debut and looked as though he would prove to be a valuable asset. It would be short- lived as that was the only point he would get in 10 regular season and nine playoff games.
The next season Alek would go on to appear in 35 games for the Penguins and score five points (one goal, four assists) before being relegated to the minors then released by the Pens in 1998.
Alek would spend the next five seasons toiling in the minors until he retired at the end of the 2001-2002 season when he finished his career with the New Mexico Scorpions of the CHL.
Who could have known that Naslund would go on to have a Hall of Fame career and Alec would fade into obscurity?
On paper, it appears that Vancouver made off like thieves in the night by acquiring Naslund for Stojanov.
As with any trade though, hindsight is 20/20 and if you ask me, Alek Stojanov was worth the risk.
Thanks for reading.