On the day the trade was announced, Floyd Smith was asked what would happen if he had just dealt away a draft pick that would turn out to be Eric Lindros.
“Easy,” said Smith, the Leafs general manager of the time.
“I won’t be around to worry about it. I’ll be fired.”
The deal to bring Tom Kurvers in to play defence for the Leafs did send Toronto’s first-round pick to New Jersey, but the Leafs cooperated in at least one way two years later.
They didn’t finish last.
They didn’t leave Lindros there for the Devils.
Instead, it was the third pick. Not Lindros, but Hall of Fame defenceman Scott Niedermayer.
The guy who won everything — at every level, on every team he ever played for.
Lou Lamoriello remembers the day of the deal quite well. He finished off the deal talking from a phone booth, on a pay phone from the Hartford Civic Center.
“We were playing Hartford that night.”