NHL History: 32 years ago today, Edmonton Oilers trade Grant Fuhr, Glenn Anderson to Toronto Maple Leafs
2 months ago
It was on this day in 1991 that legendary Edmonton Oilers Grant Fuhr and Glenn Anderson were traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It was the ’90s that broke the hearts of Oilers fans. They’d lost “The Great One” and said goodbye to Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, soon Mark Messier, and now the final pieces to the Oilers Dynasty team Glenn Anderson and Grant Fuhr.
Losing Gretzky and the rest of the squad was a tough pill to swallow for Oilers fans, but the triumph of a final Stanley Cup win in 1990 had people still buzzing about their beloved home team.
That was until forward Anderson reportedly attempted to get his tan on in the Bahamas instead of attending training camp in 1991. Unsurprisingly, the four-time all-star sought a contract renegotiation that asked for $700,000 annually, the Edmonton Journal reported at the time.
Anderson was the fourth-round, 69th overall pick for the Oilers in 1979 and became best known for his aggressive playing style and determination to get the puck to the net. Playing 12 seasons in the City of Champions, with 845 games under his belt, his 187 points in the playoffs remain fourth all-time in franchise history. Anderson sat amongst the Dynasty, capturing four Stanley Cups and eventually earning one more in 1990.
Another player was also looking towards the sight of playing for another team. Fuhr had been the No. 1 backstop for the Oilers through four Stanley Cup wins but fell into the second netminder role after an injury that gave Bill Ranford a chance to shine between the pipes.
Fuhr’s departure would be much more emotional; dubbed one of the greatest goaltenders, he made a name for himself in Edmonton. With the younger and healthier Bill Ranford painting a big picture for the Oilers, the organization didn’t have enough money for two phenomenal netminders.
As Edmonton Journal writer Jim Matheson opined, the eighth overall pick in 1981 became “a walking, saving, piece of Edmonton hockey history from the days when the brash, young team sang on the bench during playoff games.”
The city had been through a lot with Fuhr, from calling fans “jerks” after a grueling performance, to the gut-wrenching Steve Smith own goal costing the Oilers the 1986 playoffs, to watching him win the Vezina award for top goalie in 1988. Fuhr would play 432 games in Edmonton with 226 wins under his belt.
Both historic Oilers would make the move on Toronto in September of 1991. The Leafs, who had their eyes set on Fuhr’s hybrid style of play, and Anderson’s willingness to play anywhere but Edmonton, allowed them to acquire both of the now Hall-of-Famers, as well as forward Craig Berube. In exchange, the Oilers got back forward Vincent Damphousse, a promising All-Star MVP, goaltender Peter Ing, defenceman Luke Richardson, and forward Scott Thornton.
An Edmonton Journal article details the trade of Glenn Anderson and Grant Fuhr to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The deal seemed semi-sweet for Edmonton with the positive being Damphousse, whose impressive performance in the 1991 All-Star game that him an MVP, got the attention of the Oilers’ coaching staff.
The forward seemed hopeful about what he would walk into with his new team, commenting to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal:
“Hopefully we can start a new dynasty. There’s much more depth in Edmonton. They still have a great goalie, Billy Ranford. He’s one of the best in the league. Ranford is so good, it’s not so much of a loss losing Grant Fuhr.”
A new dynasty isn’t precisely what Damphousse received, although he played 80 games in his debut season with the Oilers leading both goals (38) and points (89) for the team; the Oilers, unfortunately, would be swept by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1992 playoffs.
Reports mentioned Damphousse became unhappy within the organization, whether it was from the media relations team showing negative comments from players or that he was never overly thrilled to be moved to Edmonton in the first place. Regardless, Edmonton traded away the forward to the Montreal Canadiens after just one season to increase their depth within the lineup even more. The Canadiens would acquire Damphousse and a fourth-round draft pick in 1993 in exchange for Shayne Corson, Brent Gilchrist, and Vladimír Vůjtek.
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