some nhl players can play their entire career for one team. However, that doesn’t apply to the greatest player of all time, Wayne Gretzky.
there’s a saying in hockey when you ask about a player who could be traded and say: if gretzky was traded, anyone can be traded.
In his NHL tenure, Gretzky ended up being traded twice and signed with a new team as an unrestricted free agent once, bringing his total to four teams.
what teams did wayne gretzky play for? In the NHL, Wayne Gretzky played for four teams: Edmonton Oilers (1978-1988), Los Angeles Kings (1988-1996), St. Louis Blues (1996) and the New York Rangers (1996-99). He also played professionally on the WHA for one season with the Indianapolis Running Backs (1978-79).
edmonton oilers (1978-1988)
edmonton was gretzky’s first stop in the nhl.
it is important to note that gretzky was not drafted by the edmonton oilers, but was sold/traded to the oilers when they were part of the wha in 1978 of the indianapolis racers.
the wha would retire in 1978 with a handful of teams being brought into the nhl with the tankers being one of them. The Oilers were able to protect two players on the roster when they entered the NHL; Gretzky was obviously one of them.
edmonton would be where he would have his greatest success as a player in all areas: statistics, 4 stanley cups and personal awards.
gretzky not only ended all personal accolades, but would truly define a brand of offensive hockey that the nhl would embrace for the better part of a decade.
gretzky took the league to a whole new level of skill and offensive prowess by breaking previous records.
edmonton regular season statistics
- 4 stanley cups
- 8 hart trophies
- 7 art ross trophies
- 2 conn smythe trophies
- largest number of goals in a season: 92
- most assists in a season: 163
- most points in a season: 215
- record assist of all times
kings of the angels (1988-1996)
in 1988 the unthinkable happened for hockey fans: wayne gretzky was traded. The rumors started before Gretzky won his fourth Stanley Cup in 1988, however his father, Walter Gretzky, protected him from those rumors until he finished the Stanley Cup final.
Gretzky initially wanted nothing to do with being traded, but after discussions with those closest to him and Kings owner Bruce McNall, he agreed to be traded.
so on august 9, 1988, along with marty mcsorley and mike krushelnyski, gretzky was traded to the kings of angels for martin gelinas, jimmy carson, first round picks in 1989, 1991 and 1993 and $15 million in cash.
gretzky was quite successful on the Los Angeles ice. He would go on to win one more Hart Trophy as Most Valuable Player and three more Art Ross Trophies as the league’s top scorer.
He would even led the Kings to their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final but ended up losing to Montreal in 1993.
wayne gretzky’s impact off the ice due to the angel years
where gretzky would have his biggest impact was off the ice. it opened up hockey to a whole new population of people. gretzky would not only attract millions of eyes to televisions in the us. uu. but the kings became the hot ticket in town and would attract several celebrities from the list.
the exchange of gretzky to l.a. And his status as an ambassador for hockey is also credited as the point that allowed the NHL to eventually expand to several new cities in the southern US. uu.
since the gretzky trade, the nhl has expanded to anaheim and san jose in california, as well as las vegas, arizona, nashville, tampa bay, florida and has fielded teams in dallas and carolina.
this probably wouldn’t have happened if gretzky hadn’t gone to the!
The fruit and impact of the trade is now felt at the level of player development. Children who were born in California, Texas, Arizona, Texas, and other southern states are now being recruited into the NHL. Arizona’s Auston Matthews was the first overall pick in the draft and a superstar.
Theimpact of Gretzky’s time on Los Angeles cannot be underestimated.
los angeles kings regular season statistics
- 1 hart trophy
- 3 art ross trophies
- all-time scoring record
- all-time scoring record
st. louis blues (1996)
The best answer to any trivia question is Craig Johnson, Patrice Tardif, and Roman Vopat. the question to that answer is: “who made the st. change from louis blues to acquire wayne gretzky in 1996?”
You may never have heard of these players; don’t worry, you’re not alone. Shouldn’t there be someone else worth mentioning in a trade for the greatest player of all time? well maybe. however, the thing about this trade is that st. louis made an acquisition at the trade deadline for gretzky.
Los Angeles wasn’t going to make the playoffs and the Kings were looking to rebuild the team in the next few years, something Gretzky didn’t want to be a part of.
The Blues acquired him as part of their own playoff push, and they did make the playoffs, but they weren’t an elite team at the time. they had an older team made up of veterans like brett hull, al macinnis, and dale hawerchuk (with the exception of a very young chris pronger).
gretzky would only play 18 regular season games with the blues and 13 games in the playoffs before losing in the second round to detroit. he led the team in scoring in the playoffs.
st. Louis tried to sign him to a 3-year, 15 million contract, but he turned it down, opting to sign elsewhere.
regular season statistics:
new york rangers (1996-1999)
gretzky’s last stop in his career would take him to manhattan and the new york rangers.
There were a number of different rumors about where Wayne would end up, including the Detroit Red Wings and the Maple Leafs from Toronto, his hometown (Wayne grew up in Brantford, about 60 miles/100 km west of Toronto).
However, in the end, the allure of being reunited with his best friend, Mark Messier, was too much. He signed a 2-year, $10 million deal at the age of 35 with the Rangers.
gretzky’s first season went well for the rangers as they advanced to the eastern conference finals before losing to philadelphia. however, that would mark wayne gretzky’s last playoff appearance.
the rangers became a mediocre team for the next two years and never managed to qualify for the playoffs. Gretzky’s personal stats remained decent, but he was clearly on a mediocre team.
gretzky decided to retire at the end of the 1998-99 season. he thought it would be appropriate to retire in a year ending in 99. I think he was right.
new york rangers regular season statistics
wayne gretzky regular season career statistics