The Best Trade In Capitals History, By Far

Ted Montgomery over at USA Today is getting ready for the trade deadline by listing eight of the worst trades in NHL history (which, as he implies, can also be viewed as eight of the best trades in NHL history, but what fun is complimenting when you can insult?).

Anyway, a Caps trade made Monty's list:
Trade: The New York Rangers traded Kelly Miller, Mike Ridley and Bob Crawford to the Washington Capitals for Bob Carpenter and a second-round draft choice [Ed. note: The pick was in the 1989 Entry Draft and was used on some guy named Jason Prosofsky who only made it as high as the AHL for four games].

Date: Jan. 1, 1987.

Outcome: Carpenter's first five years in Washington were pretty good, but he only had one really outstanding season for the Caps (1984-85). He was also a bit of a problem child; he just needed time to mature. After the trade was made, Carpenter played in just 28 games for the Rangers before they flipped him to Los Angeles. He then played several more years with the Bruins and Devils, with one year back in Washington, but he was never the big scorer for those teams that he had been in his early 20s with the Caps. Miller and Ridley went on to personify the hard-working Caps of the late 1980s and 1990s. Miller played nearly 13 seasons for the Caps, and was incredibly durable and steady. Ridley was the better scorer of the two, and averaged 75 points per season on a team that largely depended on Peter Bondra and Michal Pivonka for the bulk of its scoring. While at the time of the trade Carpenter was considered a budding superstar, subsequent events showed that steadiness and hard work always win out over promise and flash. Carpenter played 28 games for the Rangers; Miller and Ridley played a combined 1,586 games for the Caps. It was the best trade in Capitals history, by far.
Awesome deal. Granted, not once in the four years they all played together was Ridley outscored by both Bondra and Pivonka and only once did either Eastern European score more goals than Number 17 (Bonzai in 1992-93). And, by my count, Rids and Miller combined for 1,528 - not 1,586 - games in Caps sweaters. But those facts are neither here nor there. The bottom line is that in that trade the Caps got the guys who still sit third on the all-time franchise list in games played (Miller) and goals (Ridley), and, most importantly, it was 11 years after the deal when the team next missed the playoffs.

Carpenter, on the other hand, scored more goals (177) in the 422 games before the trade than in the 756 games he played for the rest of his career (in which he scored 143 times). Ironically, the "Can't Miss Kid" had to adjust his game once his scoring touch deserted him, and he became something of a poor man's Kelly Miller. Still, he - and Miller - comfortably made my list of Top American-Born Caps of All-Time.

So yeah, great trade.

But "the best trade in Capitals history"? "By far"? Not a chance. On either point.

I'll let Vogs take it from here, as his absolute must-read is the best post I've ever read on this subject. By far.

Besides, as GDub noted, you should know better than to trust anything purporting to count the eight worst trades of all-time "without a single mention of Mike Milbury or the Toronto Maple Leafs."

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