SUN Hockey Pool

Coffey trade 'changed my life'

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

Nov. 24, 1987 -- the day Paul Coffey became a Pittsburgh Penguin and Craig Simpson became an Edmonton Oiler.

"It changed my life and gave me an opportunity to experience some great moments," said Simpson of the trade that saw him dealt for a future Hockey Hall of Famer.

Simpson, now an Oilers assistant coach, knew his name was coming in trade rumours.

All the evidence he needed came from seeing scout Barry Fraser at every Penguins pre-season game keeping close tabs on the gifted scorer, who was about to enter his third season in the NHL.

And after seeing how Coffey worked so well in tandem with Wayne Gretzky, Simpson figured a move to Pittsburgh was a no-brainer considering who the smooth-skating defenceman could team up with there.

"The natural fit for him was to go to Mario (Lemieux)," reflected Simpson. "For me it was a real motivator. Coming off a good second season, I knew I had a lot to prove and that added to the inspiration.

"If I was going to go, Edmonton was the best place to go to and I wanted to make sure if it happened, I was playing at the highest I can."


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