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Steven Stamkos almost moved to the Rangers in 2009

The butterfly effect is a fascinating thing. You only need to change one tiny part of history to change most of it. That’s probably why we’re so fascinated with the NHL’s almost-completed deals.

Big Head Hockey pulled an old aborted deal out of the mothballs last night – a pact that reminds us just how fragile the field hockey ecosystem as we know it is.

Back in 2009, when Steven Stamkos was having a decent rookie season, the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning considered trading him. The Rangers’ general manager at the time, Glen Sather, even took to the media to claim that he had “shaken hands” with his counterpart on a deal to bring Stamkos to New York.

Bolts owner Len Barrie had been asked to select two or three players from the following list: Evgeny Grachev, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Dan Girardi. He had done so, although we don’t yet know his choices.

Del Zotto had yet to play in the NHL, Callahan and Dubinsky were promising youngsters in their third season, as was Girardi on the blue line. Grachev, a 3rd-round pick in 2008, played 34 NHL games before becoming a regular in the KHL.

The problem? Len Barrie didn’t have the authority to complete the transaction. GM Brian Lawton refused, and co-owner Oren Koules vetoed the deal.

In English, we say “dodged a bullet”.

The following season, Steven Stamkos exploded onto the scene with 51 goals and 44 assists, his first of three consecutive 90-point seasons, adding the icing on the cake with 60 goals in 2012.

The Rangers would have flown the coop, and the Lightning might never have enjoyed the success they’ve boasted in recent years.

It is, to this day, a good example of why it’s so risky to give up on a first overall pick early in one’s career. Although Stamkos had a good rookie season, it would have been difficult to predict what would happen next in his case.

Let’s take it a step further. Later that year, Len Barrie and Oren Koules disagreed on a deal to send Vincent Lecavalier to Montreal for, among others, Carey Price. This other failed deal allowed Glen Sather to send Scott Gomez to the Habs in exchange for Ryan McDonagh…

In a gust

– A record 10th win in a row for Verstappen.

– Canada beats Spain to qualify for the 2024 Olympics!

– Joey Saputo leaves Montreal for Bologna…

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