Pittsburgh Penguins: 5 Worst Trades in Franchise History

2 of 6

Mar 21, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the arena and American flag before the game between the Dallas Stars and the Chicago Blackhawks at the American Airlines Center. The Stars shut out the Blackhawks 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

  1. June 22, 1996 (The Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Sergei Zubov to the Dallas Stars for Kevin Hatcher)

Sergei Zubov was a 25 year old right handed defenseman coming off his first year in a Penguins sweater, and what a year that was. Zubov quarterbacked the deadly Penguins power play to within one game of the Stanley Cup finals while posting his highest points per game average of his career and matching his second highest playoff scoring output. Zubov was clearly a tremendous asset for the Pens moving forward.

Kevin Hatcher was a 29 year old right handed defenseman coming off a season in which the Dallas Stars had failed to make the playoffs. Hatcher, as most fans remembered, was a lumbering physical force on the blue line as evidenced by his decade patrolling the backside of the rival Washington Capitals defense. Never an offensive marvel, at this point in Hatchers career what was left of his previously booming shot was now softening and his lack of top end speed was becoming glaringly evident even in an era when speed was not paramount.

Hatcher while offensively passible was no match for Zubov on the plus side of the blue line. With his point totals being roughly half of Zubov’s over the previous four years and his play continuing to drop this trade was doomed from the jump with his aging skill set nowhere in vicinity of the silky smooth Russian. Hatcher lasted 3 seasons in Pittsburgh amassing 140 points and no discernible memories. Meanwhile, Zubov lasted a dozen years in Dallas racking up over 500 points, four all-star selections, and a Stanley Cup in 1999.

The real kicker of the deal is that the Penguins paid Hatcher nearly 8 million dollars over those three years and Zubov would have only cost the Penguins around 5 Million. With the financial turmoil that the club would soon endure those dollars could have been put to good use, let alone having the far superior player still in tow. The Penguins haven’t seen a defenseman as adept at puck distribution and command since Zubov departed and building your backend around a youthful borderline superstar defenseman is never a bad thing.

Keeping Zubov also would have been a lot easier than watching Ric Jackman, Dick Tarnstrom, and Josef Melichar in the waning years of Zubov’s career.