On Wednesday, the Washington Capitals published a guide for the upcoming NHL draft (June 27th), and it is awesome. One thing that I learned is that the Caps have historically been active on draft day. The team has made 20 draft day trades overall, including one in each of the past six years. The most notable moves lately have been the acquisitions of Troy “No Emmy” Brouwer and Mike “2 Chainz” Ribeiro.

If you take a fine-toothed comb to that list, one stunning factoid reveals itself. The Caps have essentially traded away two hall of fame players in draft day deals and gotten none in return.

June 13, 1987


On June 13th, 1987, the Washington Capitals acquired Clint Malarchuk and Dale Hunter from Quebec for Gaetan Duchesne, Alan Haworth, and a first-round pick in the 1987 Entry Draft. At that point in his career, Hunter was nearly a point-per game player with Quebec. This seemed like a huge coup for the Caps at the time.

Then those bastard Nordiques made their draft pick. With the 15th overall selection, Quebec drafted from the Swift Current Broncos Joe Sakic.

If we ignore the silverware, this deal worked out just fine for both teams. Hunter would captain the Capitals for what seemed like forever and led the team to a failed Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1998. And how can we forget this goal? He scored 181 goals in a Caps uniform, he beat the living tar out of a lot of tough guys, and he tallied over 1,000 points in his career.

Sakic, however, would bring the Quebec franchise to the promised land (by way of Denver). He led the Avalanche to two Stanley Cups. He was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy in 1996, the Hart trophy in 2001, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame (along with Adam Oates) in 2012. Okay, this is getting sad.

June 20, 1992


This is the only card of Kevin Miller in a Caps jersey, but it’s a good one.

Five years later, on June 20, 1992, the Caps acquired Kevin Miller from Detroit. In return, they dealt Dino Ciccarelli to Motown.

The reason: money.


To avoid paying the popular Ciccarelli a hefty salary increase, Washington owner Abe Pollin dealt the 29-year-old right winger to the Detroit Red Wings last June for Kevin Miller.

It was a disaster.

Miller failed to score even one goal in 10 games for the Capitals and was traded recently to the St. Louis Blues for defenseman Paul Cavallini.

Through his first 23 games, on the other hand, Ciccarelli, who had 38 goals last season and 112 in his four seasons with the Caps, had 11 goals and 20 assists. He had scored more points than Red Wings teammates Sergei Fedorov and Jimmy Carson.

Dino went on to score 104 goals in 254 goals with the Red Wings, including 41 in 1992-93.

“At the time it seemed like the thing to do,” Abe Pollin said to “But so far, this hasn’t been one of our better trades.”

No, it wasn’t.

Ciccarelli was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010 after scoring 1,200 points and 608 career goals, the most goals scored by a draft-eligible player who was never drafted by an NHL team.

Here are the rest of the draft day deals.

Please notice there are a lot of solid moves in this, such as trading up to pick Philipp Grubauer and acquiring Alan May for a fifth round pick in 1989. Imagine life without Alan May.

  • June 30, 2013: Caps acquired a second-round pick (Zach Sanford) in the 2013 Entry Draft from Winnipeg for a third-round pick (Jimmy Lodge), a fourth-round pick (Jan Kostalek) and a fifth-round pick (Tucker Poolman) in 2013 Entry Draft.
  • June 22, 2012: Caps acquired Mike Ribeiro from Dallas for Cody Eakin and a second round-pick (Mike Winther) in the 2012 NHL Draft.
  • June 24, 2011: Caps acquired Troy Brouwer from Chicago for a first-round pick (Phillip Danault) in the 2011 Entry Draft.
  • June 26, 2010: Caps acquired a fourth-round pick (Philipp Grubauer) in the 2010 Entry Draft from Toronto for a fourth-round pick (Petter Granberg) and a fifth-round pick (Daniel Brodin) in 2010.
  • June 27, 2009: Caps acquired a fifth-round pick (Caleb Herbert) in the 2010 Entry Draft from Phoenix for Sami Lepisto.
  • June 20, 2008: Caps acquired a first-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft (John Carlson) from Philadelphia for Steve Eminger and a third-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft (Jacob Deserres).
  • June 24, 2000: Caps acquired a second-round pick in the 2000 Entry Draft (Matt Pettinger) from Calgary for Miika Elomo.
  • June 26, 1999: Caps acquired their own ninth-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft (Igor Shadilov) from Chicago for a seventh-round pick in the 2000 Entry Draft.
  • June 28, 1994: Caps acquired Rob Pearson and Philadelphia’s first-round pick (previously acquired, Nolan Baumgartner) in the 1994 Entry Draft from Toronto for Mike Ridley and St. Louis’ first-round pick in the 1994 Entry Draft (previously acquired, Eric Fichaud).
  • June 26, 1993: Caps acquired a seventh-round pick in the 1993 Entry Draft (Andrew Brunette) from Calgary for Brad Schlegel.
  • June 26, 1993: Caps acquired Craig Berube from Calgary for a fifth-round pick in the 1993 Entry Draft (Darryl Lafrance).
  • June 20, 1992: Caps acquired Kevin Miller from Detroit for Dino Ciccarelli.
  • June 22, 1991: Caps acquired Toronto’s second-round pick in the 1991 Entry Draft (previously acquired, Eric Lavigne) from Quebec for Mikhail Tatarinov.
  • June 17, 1989: Caps acquired Alan May from Los Angeles for a fifth-round pick in the 1989 Entry Draft (Thomas Newman).
  • June 17, 1989: Caps acquired Bob Mason from Quebec for future considerations.
  • June 13, 1987: Caps acquired Clint Malarchuk and Dale Hunter from Quebec for Gaetan Duchesne, Alan Haworth and a first-round pick in the 1987 Entry Draft (Joe Sakic).
  • June 8, 1983: Caps acquired Dave Christian from Winnipeg for a first-round pick in the 1983 Entry Draft (Bobby Dollas).
  • June 9, 1982: Caps acquired Alan Haworth and a third-round pick (Milan Novy) in the 1982 Entry Draft from Buffalo for a second-round pick (Mike Anderson) and a fourth-round pick (Timo Jutila) in the 1982 Entry Draft.
  • June 9, 1982: Caps acquired Ken Houston and Pat Riggin from Calgary for Howard Walker, George White, a sixth-round pick in the 1982 Entry Draft (Mats Kihlstrom), a third-round pick in the 1983 Entry Draft (Parry Berezan), and a second-round pick in the 1984 Entry Draft (Paul Ranheim).
  • June 11, 1980: Caps acquired Mike Palmateer and Toronto’s third-round pick in the 1980 Entry Draft (Torrie Robertson) from Toronto for Tim Coulis, Robert Picard and a second-round pick in the 1980 Entry Draft (Bob McGill).
Tagged with:
  • Bilal

    I mean yeah, the Dino trade never should have happened, but even if we kept the pick that ultimately landed Sakic, there’s no guarantee that we’d have drafted Joe. Still, kinda sucks.

  • Adam Schwager

    2000-2008 was a time without many draft trades for the organization

  • Yeah, but I think Ian intends this to get filed under “fascinating and heartbreaking trivia” rather than some kind of instruction for how to run a hockey team.

  • WeWantRandyHolt4

    What did we acquire for Scott Stevens?

  • JH

    Note that GMGM was not involved in either. Just wanted to mention that.

  • Brian Bean

    Exactly. And we wouldn’t have had Peter Forsberg or Patrick Roy to help win those Cups either.

  • troyerlaw

    scott stevens was signed away from us as an RFA.

    as for cicarelli, I think he was on the list to be shipped out of town after being one of four players involved in alleged sexual assault in limo in 1990. he also pleaded guilty to indecent exposure in Minn, and was arrested and charged w/ assault for clubbing Luke Richardson over the head. i am glad the Caps dealt him away. didn’t seem like a good guy

  • Brian Bean

    $100,000 cash and draft picks that ended up being Gonchar, Witt, and a few other no names.

  • troyerlaw

    five first-round picks and $100K cash. he was signed away from us as RFA by the st. louis blues.

  • Bilal

    well yeah I wasn’t reading it like that, and I really like this article, very interesting, like most of the stuff in this site. Just something i was thinking of………..

  • Boush

    Caps actually traded for Troy Brouwer’s RFA rights with that 1st round pick, if I recall correctly.

  • Boush

    Yup, I’m not crazy. The Caps were just wrong. Also, I wonder if Troy is really the answer at 2LW now…

  • Barrett

    Cannot really say the trade to acquire Dale Hunter for a draft pick (Joe Sakic) was a bad move. If that trade never happened, Dale Hunter stays, Quebec moves to Colorado and he wins the Cup with some guys name Forsberg and Roy while Sakic probably doesn’t win anything in DC. Sakic doesn’t win that Cup alone. It took an entire roster full of great players (some HOFers) in Colorado to pull that off and that’s something Washington just doesn’t have.

  • Bilal

    true point, but can’t deny having Sakic in a caps jersey, as far away as that ever seemed, would be really cool

  • Greg

    We tried. The Caps drafted Joe’s brother, Brian Sakic, in 1990.

  • Eric Schulz

    I’m interested to see how Philip Danault turns out. I think he’ll be a very solid player with 2nd line upside. I really liked the Blackhawks 1st round bounty that year (McNeill, Saad, and Danault), and mostly love how they draft.
    I think Brouwer’s a tad underrated here now though. Hopefully next year Trotz puts all of our players in the best position to succeed as a team, and we can appreciate the players we have for who they are instead of lamenting what they aren’t. (I think Brouwer is an exemplary 3rd line winger on a contender, and I think we have the personnel to be one as long as we keep Grabovski and add one defender. Johansson could be a great set-up man for him on the 3rd; I think we’d love those two on a super-3rd, instead of getting frustrated with Johansson miscast on the 1st, for instance, and/or thinking that Brouwer is overpaid.)

  • Eric Schulz

    Also, Andrew Brunette was a beastly 7th rounder. I miss having him in the league. Nobody ever seemed to want him, but he got better every year.

  • RESmith

    That is the way I remember it as well. Abe Pollin was a big one for players being ambassadors to the community so all four were out of town over that summer.

  • Sarah

    Yeah, Sakic to Colorado screwed both teams I love. But destiny and stuff.

  • RESmith

    And weren’t the Blues then forced to trade him the next season (for Brendan Shanaham and ?) after they were caught tampering and negotiating with Stevens before the allowed window to do so?

  • RESmith

    To add further irony to it, we gave up another Hall-of-Famer in Mike Gartner to originally get Dino.

  • 5manfront

    Completely irrespective of nothing here, I had a very vivid dream that we acquired Bobby Ryan in a draft day trade. Just saying… if it happens, you heard it here first.

  • dylan wheatley

    the recent ones have almost all been good