Montreal Canadiens: The stars of 1993 vs the players they were traded for

Stanley Cup Most Valuable Player Patrick Roy of the Montreal Canadiens holds the cup over his head after Montreal defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 09 June 1993. The Canadiens won their 24th Stanley Cup by winning the series 4-1. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
Stanley Cup Most Valuable Player Patrick Roy of the Montreal Canadiens holds the cup over his head after Montreal defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 09 June 1993. The Canadiens won their 24th Stanley Cup by winning the series 4-1. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images) /

The 1992-93 season was the last time the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. Who were the stars of that team traded for? Let’s compare.

As crazy as it may seem, its been 27 years since the Montreal Canadiens won their last Stanley Cup. With an NHL season filled with superstars like Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Ed Belfour, Paul Coffee, etc. the Canadiens came out on top against all odds, reeling off 11 straight OT playoff wins in the process.

However, things quickly derailed after that magical run, missing the playoffs 2 years later, and not making it past the 2nd round of the playoffs until 2010. Most of the core of that 1993 team was dissolved over a few years, and the hiring of Rejean Houle as GM and an overall sense of panic from the organization only made matters worse. So, I’d thought I’d compare and contrast some of the major performers from that 1993 team against the players they were traded for.

Traded: Kirk Muller and Mathieu Schneider

Acquired: Vladimir Malakhov and Pierre Turgeon

On paper, this trade looked to be a solid one for both sides, which unfortunately is a running theme for the Canadiens throughout these trades. Muller had already proven himself as a perennial 90-point player in the league, and Schneider had established a reputation as a solid, 50-point offensive defenseman. However, with Muller in the midst of a rough shortened 1994-95 season, the Canadiens traded them (and forward Craig Darby) for Vladimir Malakhov and Pierre Turgeon.

With Turgeon and Malakhov possessing similar skillsets to Muller and Schneider, this trade should’ve come out in the wash overall. However, Malakhov simply never put in full effort in Montreal, and was frustratingly inconsistent, both on and off the ice. Turgeon put together an impressive 96-point season in his first year with the Habs, being named team captain, but was dumped off the year after for an aging Shayne Corson. On the plus side, Malakhov was dumped off for New Jersey for Sheldon Souray, who become an essential part of the Canadiens later on.

Traded: Brian Bellows

Acquired: Marc Bureau

Honestly, I still don’t fully understand this trade, and well, most Canadiens fans still don’t get it either. Bellows recorded an 88-point season in 1993, a 71-point season in 1993-1994, but a rough 1994-95 season saw him dumped off to Tampa Bay for center Marc Bureau. Name aside (which yes, is a probable reason why he was acquired) Bureau demonstrated elite offensive abilities in both junior and the AHL, but never became more than a standard bottom six center. He never reached more than 19 points in a season in his 3 years in Montreal, while Bellows managed another 40-point season with the Lightning. While he was later dealt to Anaheim for scraps, Bureau simply left as a free agent.

Traded: Eric Desjardins, Gilbert Dionne and John LecLair

Acquired: Mark Recchi

With 3 100-point seasons under his belt, Recchi had established himself as one of the best complementary scorers in the NHL and had the potential to be more than that. LeClair had the potential to be a 1st line left winger but struggled to attain this role on a stacked Canadiens team. Desjardins was one of the best defenders the team had but was seen as the principal player the Canadiens were giving away.

Instead, LeClair would go on to record 3 straight 50 goal seasons in Philadelphia centering the legion of doom line alongside Mikael Renberg and Eric Lindros, while Desjardins put together 5 50 point seasons with the team, spending the rest of his career with them. Recchi put together some solid seasons in Montreal, but a terrible 1998-99 season saw him moved back to Philly for Danius Zubrus. While not the best outcome for Montreal, Zubrus was later flipped for Jan Bulis and Richard Zednik, who became key performers for the team.

Traded: Patrick Roy, Mike Keane

Acquired: Andrei Kovalenko, Martin Rucinsky, Jocelyn Thibault

This is the big one. The trade most Canadiens fans immediately think of when you mention the fallout after the 1993 championship. Patrick Roy was dynamite during that run but continued to butt heads with management and President Ronald Corey. After being left in for all of a 9-goal rout by the Detroit Red Wings, Roy went over the Corey and announced he had played his last game as a Montreal Canadien. Four days later, Roy and forward Mike Keane were traded to the Colorado Avalanche for Andrei Kovalenko, Martin Rucinsky, and Jocelyn Thibault. GM Rejean Houle had only had the job for 40 days, and the trade quickly became known as one of the worst in NHL history.

While Kovalenko, Rucinsky, and Thibault all turned in below average to solid performances, Roy would go on to become the Avalanche’s franchise goalie, spending the rest of his career with the team, winning 2 more Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe. Keane played a checking role for 2 years before leaving as a free agent, and Rucinsky, Kovalenko, and Thibault were all moved within 5 years.

Rucinsky was traded to Dallas for Donald Audette and Shaun Van Allen, Thibault was dealt to Chicago for Jeff Hackett and Eric Weinrich, and Kovalenko was traded to Edmonton for Scott Thornton. While all these players would go on to contribute to the Canadiens in some manner, this trade is still seen as lopsided for a reason.