Shipping out captains nothing new

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Mats Sundin's name is prominent in trade speculation despite a no-trade clause, but the Maple Leafs aren't strangers to dealing their present and former captains:

SITTLER TO PHILADELPHIA

Jan. 20, 1982

The Deal: Sittler for Rich Costello, Ken Strong and a second-round draft pick (Peter Ihnacak).

Background: Sittler became the first of two de-frocked captains to be dealt. There was irreparable damage in his relationship with owner Harold Ballard, and he used his remaining clout to force a trade.

Result: Bad optics, as the highest scorer in club history ended up a journeyman with the Detroit Red Wings.

Strong and Costello only played a handful of games; Ihnacak had a club record 66 rookie points and played 427 games.

RICK VAIVE TO CHICAGO

Sept. 4, 1987

The Deal: Vaive, Steve Thomas and Bob McGill for Ed Olczyk and Al Secord.

Background: Despite three 50-goal seasons, Vaive had been wracked by seven years of Leaf turmoil. Wendel Clark had replaced him as No. 1 in the fans' hearts, and coach John Brophy craved Secord's toughness.

Result: A bad deal for the Leafs. Secord was too near the end and Olczyk was unsuited for a losing franchise. Vaive and the others were effective with Chicago and other clubs, but he missed life in Toronto.

WENDEL CLARK TO QUEBEC

June 28, 1994

The Deal: Clark, Sylvain Lefebvre, Landon Wilson and a first-round pick (Jeff Kealty) for Mats Sundin, Todd Warriner, Garth Butcher and a first-round pick (Nolan Baumgartner).

Background: The Leafs had advanced to the brink of the Stanley Cup final twice but wanted a young franchise player to complement Doug Gilmour.

Sundin was in a contract war with the Nords.

Result: Sacrificing Clark's toughness in the short term was the right move for a bounty of Sundin points.

The Swede would eventually replace both Clark and Gilmour as captain and become third-highest scorer in club history.

Clark returned here twice and became the first captain since George Armstrong to retire a Leaf.

DOUG GILMOUR TO NEW JERSEY

Feb. 25, 1997

The Deal: Gilmour, Dave Ellett and a third-round pick (Andre Lakos) for Jason Smith, Steve Sullivan and Alyn McCauley.

Background: The Cliff Fletcher/Pat Burns era was ending in disarray with two non-playoff years.

Result: The Devils only made it to the conference semi-final in 1997. Gilmour stayed there another full season and had 75 total points, but became an NHL nomad, ending an injury-shortened cameo with the Leafs in 2003.

Toronto made good use of all three newcomers, but Smith and Sullivan slipped away for no return and had huge impacts elsewhere, while McCauley was part of the ill-fated Owen Nolan trade to San Jose.


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