How important do you think the Gretzky trade was in retrospect?

With the NHL having it’s week of all things 99 an article was written about him being shipped to the sun soaked coast of California and I was wondering how important to the game and the Oilers do you think the trade to be? In the article it was compared to the Sox-Yanks swap of the Great Bambino but that trade had the interesting fact that for 86 years the BoSox couldn’t ever win, while the Yanks went headlong into glory. 99 brought better exposure to the game in non-traditional markets but he never captured another Cup, while Messier, even with the "Great One", captained the Oilers to another sip out of Lord Stanley’s Mug. Personally, I’ve always felt the trade was good for the marketing of the league but never meant as much in terms of production for either side, where the Sox-Yanks Ruth trade created so much more frustration/happiness for either side.

P.S. Here’s the article link- http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app/?service=page…

I don’t think it affected the league as a whole too much. I am a Flyers fan so I was happy to see him go. But other than that, he was never really the same guy.

5 thoughts on “How important do you think the Gretzky trade was in retrospect?

  1. I don’t think it affected the league as a whole too much. I am a Flyers fan so I was happy to see him go. But other than that, he was never really the same guy.
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  2. In retrospect you’re right it was great for the league as it continues to expand. Back then if it wasn’t in the Northeast USA, it wasn’t selling. Bring in a guy as charismatic and skillful and great as Gretzky and all of a sudden the team was contending and selling out, celebrities started coming out. It was a great time for hockey in LA. Oddly enough, today the Kings are in disarray and it’s the Oilers that perhaps may have the best team in the NHL in a few years from now with the great young talent they have.
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    http://sneforums.freeforums.org

  3. It was important in that it helped the NHL expand into new markets like Anaheim and San Jose. This also helped fuel some of the other expansion over the last 20 years also. Whether you think expansion was good or bad is not really relevant to the fact that it was an important development ( positive or negative) and the Gretzky trade played an important role in openning hockey to new markets.

    Interesting in that while Gretzky could never bring a cup to California the Ducks did and the Sharks will soon.
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  4. I definitely don’t think it shared the same importance as the Red Sox and Yankees trade because Gretzky’s best years were still on Edmonton, and Edmonton was still good without him.
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  5. The biggest trade in RETROSPECT was from Indianapolis to Edmonton. If Skalbania would have held out and kept him in Indianapolis (found a million dollar loan to bide time) the Racers may have been one of the 4 teams to make it into the NHL. You know Indy also had a guy named Messier. Imagine if they wouldnt have been traded (at different times) to the Oilers and Skalbania would have pushed hard for the Racers to make the NHL instead of folding them. The Oilers may never had made the NHL. Now thats pure speculation but quite the possibility. Imagine how that would have changed the Hockey History as we know it.
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