Risk in trading for former first rounders
In 1995, the Dallas Stars acquired Joe Nieuwendyk from the Calgary Flames. But in exchange, the Flames demanded a prospect (among other things). That prospect was an 18-year-old who had never played in the NHL -- the No. 11 selection from the previous draft. It wasn't a terribly high price, so the Stars pulled the trigger. And that's how they traded away Jarome Iginla.
That's the trade we remember when we talk about first-rounders who were traded before playing a single NHL game. But it's actually a fairly common occurrence. From every draft class, we can expect about three of these deals to happen. In fact, the 2010 draft class had its first victim last month when No. 28 pick Charlie Coyle was sent to the Minnesota Wild in the Brent Burns deal.
But, while deals like this are common, the Iginla deal -- and probably every other similar deal you remember -- are unique. That's because the prospects involved in these deals are still projected to be good NHL players. They aren't damaged goods. In comparison, there are many more trades that involve former first-rounders with major problems or developmental delays.
So that's what we're exploring here: Trading away your own first-rounders before they reach the NHL, and what that means. Are they worth the gamble?
To read Alvin Chang's full take here, you must be an ESPN Insider.