5. Scott Stevens to the New Jersey Devils (1991)
Seems impossible to imagine but Devils legend Scott Stevens was initially not thrilled to join New Jersey. Stevens had been an impressive blueliner for both the Capitals and the St Louis Blues. He was keen to finish his career in Missouri but then an unexpected trade happened. in 1991 the Blues acquired Brendan Shanahan and owed the Devils five first-round picks. In an odd twist of fate other compensation could also be negotiated. Stevens had signed a big 4-year deal only 1 year previously but New Jersey wanted him.
St Louis offered established talents Curtis Joseph and Rod Brind’Amour but the Devils demanded Stevens. In the end, an arbitrator ruled that Stevens was to be given as compensation to New Jersey. Furious at the ruling, Stevens initially refused to report for training camp. Quickly the mood turned sour which prompted star Kirk Muller to walk in protest. Many of the Devils players were unhappy that Stevens was forced into the move and demanded GM Lou Lamoriello trade him.
In the end, Stevens reported and the rest became history. He lifted the cup three times with the Devils and retired in 2004 a franchise legend. It’s hard to imagine where hockey in Newark would be if Stevens not reported?