Home > Uncategorized > Blast from the Past: Revisiting the 1980 Trade Deadline

Blast from the Past: Revisiting the 1980 Trade Deadline

Photo from www.greatesthockeylegends.com Dubbed the trade that all deadline deals are measured against, the New York Islanders added a key piece to their budding dynasty by acquiring Butch Goring from the Los Angeles Kings for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis on March 10, 1980.

Photo from http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com
Dubbed the trade that all deadline deals are measured against, the New York Islanders added a key piece to their budding dynasty by acquiring Butch Goring from the Los Angeles Kings for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis on March 10, 1980.

Four years and 11 days before I was born, some interesting deals took place on the first trade deadline of the 1980s. There were few moves compared to today — only 5 total trades, involving 9 players and 3 draft picks — but there were certainly some big ones that greatly impacted the future of a few franchises.

Trading Deadline: March 11, 1980

Butch Goring

Butch Goring

March 10, 1980: Butch Goring traded from Los Angeles to the New York Islanders for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis.

ANALYSIS: After 11 years with the L.A. Kings, Butch Goring was dealt to the New York Islanders and became a key piece in their future dynasty of the early 1980s. Goring went on to score 11 points in 12 games that regular season and had 19 points in 21 playoff games, helping lead the Islanders to their first ever Stanley Cup, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4 games to 2. The Islanders won the Cup again in 1981, this time with Goring winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP as they beat the Minnesota North Stars 4 games to 1. In 1982, the Islanders captured their 3rd straight Cup, sweeping the Vancouver Canucks. And in 1983, they made it a four-peat as the Islanders swept Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers, who later got the better of the Islanders, 4 games to 1 in 1984 for the Oilers’ first of five championships through 1990. Goring went on to play 6 seasons with the Islanders before finishing his career with the Bruins, then becoming their coach the following season. Ironically enough, Goring’s ties with the Oilers can be linked as the last organization he played for, as he came out of retirement to suit up for the Nova Scotia Oilers in 1987.

Right-winger Billy Harris was a first overall pick of the Islanders back in 1972 and was in his 8th season with the team at the time of the deal. He was a solid point-producer, putting up 50 or more points every full season he played for the Islanders with at least 20 goals in 6 of those seasons — hitting 30 once. His production was decent during his time in L.A. with 7 points in the last 11 games that year and 49 points with 20 goals in 80 games the following season with the Kings. He only had 4 points in 16 games the next year before being dealt to his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, who he played for until the 1983-84 season when he was dealt back to the Kings and retired at the end of that season. That was the same year the Islanders won their fourth and final Cup, having been crowned champions every NHL season that Billy Harris didn’t play for them prior to his retirement.

Dave Lewis is a current assistant coach with the Carolina Hurricanes and former NHL coach of the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins. The Kindersley, Sask., native was the Islanders’ 3rd round pick, 33rd overall, in the 1973 entry draft. He was playing his 7th season on the Islanders’ blue-line before the trade. Lewis was on the down slope of this career when he was traded and spent the following 3 seasons with the Kings before 3 seasons with the New Jersey Devils and 2 years with the Red Wings.

VERDICT: The Kings made out OK in the trade, but it’s easy to see that the Islanders, with 4 straight Stanley Cups, were the real winners of this deal.

Phil Housley

Phil Housley

March 10, 1980: Jerry Korab traded from Buffalo to Los Angeles for Los Angeles’ 1st-round choice in the 1982 Entry Draft (Phil Housley).

ANALYSIS: The Kings picked up Jerry “King Kong” Korab that year, a big physical defenceman standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 220 pounds. Korab had started his NHL career playing 3 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks in the early 1970s. He played part of a season with the Vancouver Canucks before spending the next 7 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres where he never had less than 41 points in a full season and had less than 100 penalty minutes only once. The year he was traded to the Kings, they got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs with Korab getting an assist in 3 games, along 3 points in 11 regular-season games. The following year, Korab had 52 points in 78 games with 139 penalty minutes before his point totals started dropping off. He spent 3 more seasons with the Kings before returning to the Buffalo Sabres for the final 2 years of his career — finishing with 455 points and 1,629 penalty minutes in 975 career regular-season games.

Phil Housley, the player drafted with the 1st overall pick, was an offensive cornerstone on the Sabres’ blue-line for the next 8 seasons with 66 points in 78 games his rookie season, then a career-high 31 goals his second year with the team. He played 3 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, getting a career-high 97 points in the 1992-93 season, no doubt having several of his 79 assists going in off the stick of Teemu Selanne, who scored an NHL-record 76 goals in his rookie season. Housley spent the next season with the St. Louis Blues before spending 2 seasons with the Calgary Flames, who traded him to the New Jersey Devils to finish out another season. From there, Housley spent 2 seasons with the Washington Capitals before returning for another 3 with the Calgary Flames. He spent the next 2 years with the Chicago Blackhawks before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for draft picks at the 2003 trade deadline. Housley would only play 1 game for the Leafs and retired at the end of the season as the leading American-born point-producer with 1,232 points in 1,495 games. He has since been passed by Mike Modano, who has 1,374 points. Brett Hull, who represented the USA internationally, finished his career with 1,391 points, but was born in Canada. Housley still sits second in the all-time ranking for U.S.-born players in points — 37th on the all-time list and 4th for defencemen behind only Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey and Al MacInnis.

VERDICT: Even though Kaleb had a solid year in L.A. the season following the trade, it is easy to see the Sabres won this deal.

Ron Low

Ron Low

March 11, 1980: Ron Chipperfield traded from Edmonton to Quebec for Ron Low.

ANALYSIS: Centreman Ron Chipperfield was a WHA standout with the Oilers after spending time with the Vancouver Blazers and Calgary Cowboys in the WHA. He scored 65 goals and 154 points in 135 WHA games with the Oilers. The shift to the NHL saw his production dip, with 37 points in 67 games the year he was traded to the Nordiques. He tallied 8 points in 12 games that year with the Nordiques, but would only play 4 more games, registering one point the following year, before finishing his career in Italy — racking up 128 points with 78 goals in 30 games during the 1981-82 season overseas.

Ron Low, a former teammate of Chipperfield in their junior days with Dauphin, had taken the NHL route and never played a game in the WHA. The goaltender was an 8th-round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1970. He played one season for the Leafs in 1972-73 before taking another year to get back into the NHL with the Washington Capitals. He spent the next 3 years with the Capitals, then one with the Detroit Red Wings before again finding himself spending another year in the Central Hockey League. Low then landed with the Quebec Nordiques, who made the trade with the Oilers mid-season. Low was a backup with the Oilers over the next 3 seasons, spending some time in the minors every year but one. He was traded to the New Jersey Devils during his 4th year with the Oilers and spent 2 more seasons with the Devils following that, before finishing his career in the minors with the Nova Scotia Oilers in 1985-86. The following season Low became head coach of the same Oilers farm team for 2 seasons before becoming an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers in 1989-90 during their last Stanley Cup season. He held the assistant position until midway through the 1994-95 season when he became the head coach for the next 4 seasons following that. He then spent one year coaching the Houston Aeros in the IHL before landing a job with New York Rangers for 2 seasons. He last coached in the NHL as a goalie coach for the Ottawa Senators during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. Low is the only former NHL goalie to have been a head coach for two different NHL teams, according to his profile on Wikipedia. He won 2 Stanley Cups as an Edmonton Oiler — one as a player in 1987, and the other as an assistant coach in 1990.

VERDICT: The deal worked out better in the long-term, as Ron Low was a valuable member of Edmonton’s organization for years even after his playing days were done.

Don Murdoch

Don Murdoch

March 11, 1980: Cam Connor and Edmonton’s 3rd-round choice in the 1981 Entry Draft (Vesa Salo/Gord Walker) traded to the New York Rangers for Don Murdoch.

ANALYSIS: Right-winger Cam Connor was a tough customer who spent his first 4 pro seasons in the WHA, two with the Phoenix Roadrunners starting in 1974-75 and then 2 with the Houston Aeros, playing with Gordie Howe during his first season there. Connor finished his WHA career with 904 penalty in 274 games with 171 points. In his first NHL season with the Montreal Canadiens in 1978-79, Connor won a Stanley Cup. He was more of a role player in the NHL, having his best season that following year with the Oilers with 20 points and 136 penalty minutes in 38 games before being traded to the Rangers where he finished the season with another 3 points and 37 penalty minutes in 12 games. Connor was a standout in the AHL the following year with 61 points in 61 games and 243 penalty minutes, but only had 4 points to go with 44 penalty minutes in 15 games with the Rangers that season. The following year was again spent in the AHL before the Rangers brought him up for 10 playoffs games where he scored 4 goals. The 1 game he played in the 1982-83 season with the Rangers was his last NHL game as Connor played the rest of that and the following year in the Central Hockey League. He played only 89 NHL regular-season games, registering 9 goals, 31 points and 256 penalty minutes. He was an assistant coach with the AHL’s New Haven Nighthawks for one season following his retirement.

The 3rd-round choice was used by the Rangers to draft either Vesa Salo, a defenceman form Finland who never played in the NHL, or forward Gord Walker, who played 31 games and tallied 7 points over his career with the Rangers and L.A. Kings. Draft records in the early 1980s made it difficult to tell which pick was owned by the Oilers.

Right-winger Don Murdoch was a junior standout with the Medicine Hat Tigers, where he put up 306 points, including 170 goals, and 285 penalty minutes in 140 games. Murdoch was the 4th overall pick by the New York Rangers in the 1976 draft and had a standout season with the team with 56 points in 59 games during his rookie campaign before tearing his Achilles tendon. Over the next 3 years, Murdoch continued to rack up points for the Rangers before the trade to the Oilers, where he put up 7 points in 10 games before seeing his point totals drop to 19 in 40 games the following year. He spent the next season with the Detroit Red Wings, splitting time in the minors where he would spend the rest of his career over the following 5 years. Murdoch’s NHL totals were 237 points in 320 games.

VERDICT: This deal ended up being a swap of 2 players that were no longer productive in the NHL.

Jim Corsi

Jim Corsi

March 11, 1980: Jim Corsi traded from Edmonton to Minnesota for future consideration.

Goaltender Jim Corsi is the current and longtime goaltending coach with the Buffalo Sabres, having held that position since the 2000-01 season, with the exception of the 2003-04 and 2004-05 campaigns. Corsi played all of his 26 NHL games in net for the Edmonton Oilers the season of the trade. He was sent to the minors by the North Stars after being acquired. He had spent 2 seasons previously with the WHA’s Quebec Nordiques.

VERDICT: Seems like this was more of a deal to make room for Ron Low.

Jesse Gill

Jesse Gill

Jesse Gill is a former radio broadcaster and colour commentator who dreamed of anchoring TSN, but has since changed careers and now calls Medicine Hat, Alta., home. His passion for hockey has remained strong, as a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan who also enjoys the junior ranks and the rougher side of the sport. Follow him on Twitter: @JesseGill3.

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