The ten most impactful Habs trades of the 90's: Trevor Linden

Linden vs. Messier - windsorstar.com

At last, I dip into the archives for a trade that I'm actually old enough to remember. In 1998, the Montreal Canadiens shipped their 1999 first round pick to Long Island for Trevor Linden.

When I went to the Canucks game last weekend, Trevor Linden was signing autographs for fans before the game. I thought about going, because he once played for the Habs, but the line was really long, and the fact that he once donned the Bleu Blanc et Rouge wasn't enough for me. But, I'll explain that later. This trade, unlike the disastrous turd of a trade that I talked about last time, is actually pretty decent in retrospect.

Trevor Linden is obviously most well known for his time with the Vancouver Canucks. He's a legend out here (I live in B.C.) and I've seen a lot of people walking around with Linden jerseys. Some of them act like he's Maurice Richard, and only ever wore one jersey in his NHL career. Unfortunately for the fans in Vancouver, and for Linden, Mike Keenan became the GM and head coach of the Canucks in 1997. This was unfortunate because the two had a very strained relationship, which led to his departure from Vancouver.

Leaving his adoptive hometown, Linden began a quick tour of the league that saw him play in three different cities. Keenan shipped him to the Islanders for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe, and a third round pick midway through the 1997-1998 season. Perhaps he was unmotivated after the whole Mike Keenan situation, because his season-and-a-half stay on Long Island was pretty mediocre. Perhaps that's not such a bad thing, because the Habs were able to get him in the 1999 off season for a mere first round pick.

But don't get too excited. His time in Montreal was marred with injury problems and he only played 50 games in his first season with the club. He did sign a four year deal with Montreal, but after only 57 games in 2000-2001, he was sent to Washington along with Dainus Zubrus for Richard Zednik, Jan Bulis and a first round pick (Alexander Perezhogin.) That's why I wasn't so stoked to go and get his autograph in Vancouver, because he wasn't even with the team for two seasons. I don't know how I feel about the move, BUT Bulis was the last Habs player before Lars Eller to score four goals in one game. I Don't know if that's relevant or not... Executive decision: it's relevant.

I've neglected to mention the name-drop the eventual first round pick that the Habs sent to get Linden from the Islanders in the first place. Twas Branislav Mezei, and that is the opposite of a name-drop. Mezei still plays actually, in the KHL. In the NHL he was a bit of a journeyman, and never returned to North American hockey after the 04-05 lockout.

So this trade was rather inconsequential if you ask me. We barely even got to experience what Linden brings to a team, but we gave up next to nothing for him. I'm not over-celebrating the second trade, but I was a big Zednik fan as a young kid, and getting him and Bulis isn't such a bad thing I guess. I suppose, had the Habs held on to Linden, he could have returned to the form he showed during his original stint in Vancouver. Maybe then he would have been a big part of the team, but we'll never know.

I'll let the readers do the judging by attaching a little poll to this one. But if you ask me, it didn't have a massive impact either way, and it pretty much worked out for all parties involved, except the Islanders really... Linden eventually found his way back home to Vancouver, the Habs got two players I always enjoyed watching, and there wasn't really any harm done to my beloved team with this one. Feel free to light me up in the comment section if you disagree.

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