Monday, February 26, 2007

The Velocity of Trades

In economics, the term “velocity” refers to the rate at which money changes hands in an economy. Let’s apply a variation of that to sports – specifically, trades. How can one trade’s velocity – the number of exchanges that trade influences in sequence to arrive at a result far down the road that is not at first glance at all related -- impact a club?

Let’s look at one trade in 1982. You’ve probably heard of it. On September 9 of that year, the Caps traded Rick Green and Ryan Walter to the Montreal Canadiens for Brian Englblom, Doug Jarvis, Craig Laughlin, and Rod Langway. Langway went on to become a Hall of Fame defenseman, but he is not what concerns us about this trade. Brian Engblom does . . .

On October 18, 1983, Engblom was traded to Los Angeles with Ken Houston for defenseman Larry Murphy. Murphy, who would later become an object of derision for Caps fans, put in six solid seasons with the club before his role in this adventure unfolded . . .

On March 7, 1989, Murphy was traded with Mike Gartner to Minnesota for Dino Ciccarelli and Bob Rouse. Rouse would be sent to with Peter Zezel to Toronto for Al Iafrate, which is a fork in this road we’ll come back to later. Meanwhile, Ciccarelli quickly become a fan favorite, spending parts of four seasons with the club before his moment would come . . .

On June 20, 1992, Ciccarelli was traded to Detroit for Kevin Miller. Miller – of the famous East Lansing Millers (that’s another story for another time) – was probably the least heralded of that family to make it to the NHL. Certainly his footprint in Caps history is not very deep . . . 10 whole games worth . . .

On November 2, 1992, Miller was sent off to St. Louis for Paul Cavallini. Cavallini was actually making his second stop with the Caps, having been drafted by the club in 1984 (he was sent to St. Louis in a totally forgettable trade – for a draft pick that became Wade Bartley). This time, Cavallini would last one season before he exited the stage . . .

On June 26, 1993, Cavallini was sent to Dallas for Enrico Ciccone. Ciccone spent 46 games with the Caps, during which he was on a first name basis with most of the off-ice officials manning the league’s penalty boxes. It was a short stay, but it would lead to the climax of our journey . . .

On March 31, 1994, Ciccone – with the Caps third round draft pick for 1994 and a conditional draft pick – was sent to Tampa Bay for Joe Reekie. Reekie would spend parts of nine seasons with the Caps, serving as “the steady guy” on his pairings, permitting guys like Sergei Gonchar to pile up some fine offensive numbers from the blue line.

Back to Bob Rouse . . . as we noted, he was sent to Toronto with Peter Zezel for Al Iafrate. Iafrate – the sort of character that defines the word “character” in hockey – spent four seasons in Washington before being traded to Boston for Joe Juneau on March 21, 1994. Caps fans will remember Juneau as the guy who scored the game and series-deciding goal against Buffalo in 1998 that sent the Caps to their first – and to date, only – Stanley Cup final.

As we ponder the big deals about to unfold in the next 24 hours, it might pay to think about the “throw-ins” in some of these deals and the road that leads from Brian Engblom.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

so can a team 'throw-in' ryan smyth for us please.

thanks. =D

Capital Guy said...

Outstanding and inspirational research.