New York Rangers: The ten worst trades in franchise history

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: Rick Nash
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: Rick Nash /
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21 Jan 1998: Center Dave Gagner of the Florida Panthers in action against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks during a game at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Panthers 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch /Allsport
21 Jan 1998: Center Dave Gagner of the Florida Panthers in action against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks during a game at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Panthers 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch /Allsport /

# 8- Dave Gagner and Jay Caufield to the Minnesota North Stars for Jari Gronstrand and Paul Boutilier.

October 8, 1987

This is the second Phil Esposito trade to make this list, if you are counting at home.

Dave Gagner, father of current NHL center Sam Gagner, was a diminutive forward who put up big numbers for Brantford of the OHL including 55 goals in 70 games in 1982-83. He was so well regarded, the Rangers made him their number one draft pick (12th overall) in 1983.

Gagner played parts of three seasons in New York with little success. Running out of patience, Phil Esposito traded him to the North Stars along with enforcer Jay Caufield for Finnish defenseman Jari Gronstrand and ex-Islander Paul Boutiilier.

Gronstrand and Boutilier played 66 games for the Rangers before being traded away. Caufield played six more NHL seasons, but it was Gagner that the Rangers were going to regret giving away.

Gagner went on to play 529 games for five teams (mostly with Minnesota/Dallas) scoring 307 goals and 692 total points after leaving New York. He had six straight seasons with 31 or more goals, topping 40 goals twice.

Dave Gagner is the classic case of giving up on a high draft pick too soon. It didn’t help that Gagner was a Craig Patrick draft pick, so Esposito had no loyalty to him.