Photo credit:© Simon Fearn-USA TODAY Sports
On this day in 1998, Canucks acquire Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan McCabe from Islanders
15 days ago
On this day in 1998, the Vancouver Canucks acquired forward Todd Bertuzzi and defenceman Bryan McCabe alongside a third-round pick in the 1998 NHL Draft from the New York Islanders in exchange for Trevor Linden.
McCabe was still reasonably fresh in the NHL when he came to the Canucks. He was drafted as the Islanders’ 40th overall selection in the 1993 NHL Draft and officially joined the team for the 1995-96 campaign.
However, 56 games after naming McCabe captain for the 1997-98 season, Islanders general manager Mike Milbury had other plans for the club and sent his captain to the Canucks.
Although Milbury was “heartsick” to have dealt his captain, it completely shocked McCabe.
“I guess I was stupid to think like that,” McCabe told Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano. “But I figured I was just named captain, so I’d stick around for a while.”
McCabe was immediately named an alternate captain after arriving in Vancouver, and the market believed he would be a significant player in the Canucks core in years to come. However, Vancouver had a new general manager running the front office with Brian Burke. In his eyes, McCabe was a valuable trade asset.
McCabe was eventually traded to the Chicago Blackhawks after recording eight goals and 33 points across 95 games with the Canucks. He later had a meaningful career with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2000.
Bertuzzi’s time in Vancouver told a different story, one with plenty of highs and plenty of lows. After not meeting the expectations of the Islanders, Bertuzzi came to the Canucks with the hopes of starting over.
“I’m not here to be Trevor Linden by any means,” Bertuzzi told The Provinces’ Jim Jamieson. “But I believe I can play a larger role. I look at this as a fresh start.”
It didn’t take long for Bertuzzi to find his footing with the Canucks with a 50-point campaign in 1999-00, and that was just the beginning. In the following campaigns, Bertuzzi established himself as a consistent 50-point scorer, recording 55 points in 2000-01, 85 points in 2001-02, and 97 points in 2002-03.
Bertuzzi traded to Canucks.
His efforts were recognized by the league in 2002-03 when he was named to the NHL All-Star Team, but unfortunately, the season to come would not show the same promise as those before.
In 2004 the Canucks were down 8-2 in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche when Bertuzzi took things too far. Steve Moore, a 25-year-old forward with the Avalanche, had been the target for Bertuzzi after hitting Canucks captain Markus Naslund, causing him to miss three games in the previous contest between the two.
After failed attempts to instigate a fight with Moore, Bertuzzi grabbed the Avalanche forward’s jersey and struck him in the head from behind. Moore was knocked unconscious with Bertuzzi falling on top of him, driving him face-first into the ice. Two other players jumped onto the pile before realizing Moore was unconscious. Moore would never step foot on NHL ice after the incident, and people were stunned by what had occurred.
Bertuzzi’s time with the Canucks came to a slow close following the infamous incident, and he was traded to the Florida Panthers alongside Bryan Allen and Alex Auld in exchange for Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek, and a sixth-round selection in 2006. Bertuzzi recorded 188 goals and 449 points across 518 games with Vancouver.
The third-round selection the Canucks acquired landed them with forward Jarkko Ruutu. Although Ruutu took some time to find his footing, he joined the Canucks full-time in 2003-04, scoring six goals and 14 points. He continued to improve throughout the years but eventually signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006. He recorded 23 goals and 51 points across 267 games with the Canucks.
Of course, for the Canucks, the other end of the deal was moving captain Linden to the Islanders. Linden came to the Canucks following the 1988 NHL Draft, where the organization selected him as the second overall selection. Right out of the gates, Linden established himself as a valuable part of the organization, scoring 30 goals and 59 points in his inaugural season in 1988-98. He played with the team for the following nine and a half seasons, seven of them as captain, recording 247 goals and 569 points. He rejoined the team in 2001 to finish his career where he left off. In total, Linden scored 318 goals and 733 points as a Vancouver Canuck.
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