This was the summer after the "Goose Loonies" incident in Edmonton, which--according to a story about it I read a few months ago--crushed Demers. He felt betrayed by a handful of his players and had wanted to bench the guys who were out drinking past curfew, but didn't want to handicap the rest of the team.
Looking back at that roster and putting together a similar or slightly-better package, here's what I can come up with: (Please note, I have no idea who was a free agent that summer!)
-C Wayne Gretzky
-D/W Marty McSorley
-C Mike Krushelnyski
Same package as offered to Los Angeles.
-C Adam Oates
-F Petr Klima
-1st round picks in '89, '91, '93
Comparable deal to LA's, but Detroit gives Edmonton some more experienced players in Oates and Klima.
Oates really began to blossom in 1987-88, scoring 14-40--54 in 63 games. Of course, Oates didn't score goals like Carson did, but "Oates and Kurri" would probably have been just as good--if not better--than "Hull and Oates". Or at least it would have been a spicy breakfast!
Klima, while very talented, was a discipline problem (and supposedly the reason the Wings passed on Jagr in 1990) and was one of the ringleaders of the curfew-breaking crew.
I upped the cash to $20 to compensate Edmonton for taking on 2 older, more expensive players than Carson and Gelinas, who were 18 and 20 (and cheap) at the time of the trade.
Los Angeles continues to toil in the lower half of the Smythe Division with Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Edmonton does not experience the fall-off in '88-'89 that they did after trading with LA. With a top 8 forward group of Kurri, Oates, Messier, Tikkanen, Simpson, Klima, Anderson, and MacTavish, they can roll out 2 high-scoring lines and a very solid 3rd line. Rather than losing to Gretzky's Kings in the first round, they contend with Calgary for the Smythe championship, possibly Detroit for the Campbell championship, and possibly win another Stanley Cup. Over the next several seasons, this trade would have made Edmonton stronger than the LA trade did.
Detroit ends up with 2 of the top 3 centers in the league for '88-'89, along with Gallant, MacLean, Krushelnyski, Barr, and Burr. In real life, Yzerman had his career-best year playing mostly with Gallant and MacLean this season. Having Gretzky on his team--and maybe his line--could have made that even better. McSorley would have been a great third "Bruise Brother", especially considering Probert missed most of this season and didn't produce much when he did play. It sure would have been an intimidating lineup to play against! The Wings did finish first in the Norris that year, but with 80 points in 80 games, wouldn't have finished higher than 4th in any other division and were upset in the first round by a brutal Chicago team, who wouldn't have even come close to making the playoffs in any other division. With Gretzky, Krushelnyski, and McSorley, the Wings fare better in the regular season and at least get by Chicago and St Louis before bowing out to Edmonton or Calgary in the Campbell final. Over the next several seasons, the Wings are stronger with this trade than without, for several reasons. 1, Gretzky (duh). 2, it saves them from making a couple bad trades in the upcoming seasons--the Oates/MacLean for Federko/McKegney DEBACLE, and the Klima/Murphy/Graves/Sharples for Carson/McClelland deal. Gretzky may have wanted to go to LA after a few years here, but the Wings would still have been able to get a nice package for him. Graves might have been a long-time Wing, not Ranger.
Bottom line, if they were able to pull off this trade, I think the Wings would have ended up winning a Cup sooner than '97... maybe they would have gotten one or two in the '90-'93 window.
Edited by joshy207, 11 August 2014 - 02:53 PM.