A couple weeks ago, one of my favorite baseball writers and Grantland contributor Ben Lindbergh wrote an excellent piece on MLB Transaction Trees. His goal was to find the roster spot with the longest lineage on all 30 franchises in major league baseball. Ben's post gave me the inspiration to do the same for the National Hockey League's 30 franchises. As delineated in Ben's MLB post, there are two ways a player can be considered a direct roster descendant of previous player from the same time: He can be a product of the same linked sequence of trades, or he can come from a combination of trades and draft picks.
My research was done relying on the depth charts at RosterResource and the transaction records at ProSportsTransactions. Along the way I'll throw in some fun facts, as some of these trade lineages are absolutely absurd. This took a long time and hope you all have fun with it too and enjoy!
Let's start at the top with the 2003 NHL Draft, held June 21st at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville:
30. Anaheim Ducks 6/21/2003
(Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry)
In the 2003 draft, considered by scouts and analysts to be one of the most talented in the history of the NHL, Anaheim selected two franchise players still with the club today.
As one of the most recent lineages, it's fairly uninteresting. Ducks don't care about that though after winning the 2007 Cup and having these two draft picks continue to dominate in the NHL.
We'll continue with the 2002 NHL Draft, held June 22-23 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto which accounts for a ton of team's lineages:
T23. Carolina Hurricanes - 6/22/2002
Despite their best efforts to trade him this offseason, the Hurricanes still have goaltender Cam Ward who they drafted late in the 1st round in 2002. Cam Ward became the first starting goaltender to win the Stanley Cup as a rookie since Patrick Roy in 1986.
Chicago Blackhawks - 6/22/2002
(Duncan Keith and Matt Ellison -> Patrick Sharp)
The Blackhawks can actually trace two of their top players to the 2002 Draft. Two-time Norris trophy winner Duncan Keith was drafted 54th overall and in December of 2005, Patrick Sharp was acquired for Matt Ellison (selected 128th in the 2002 draft and a 3rd round pick in the 2006 NHL Draft.
(Rick Nash -> Artem Anisimov, Brandom Dubinsky)
On the morning of the 2002 draft, Columbus traded the 3rd overall pick (and the option to flip draft sports the following season) to the Florida Panthers for the 1st overall pick, which they used to select Rick Nash. Nash has since been traded to the Rangers for 4 pieces as outlined below.
Edmonton Oilers - 6/22/2002
(Jesse Niinimaki -> Jeff Petry)
One of the more unique lineages lies with the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers traded the 14th overall pick in the 2002 draft to the Canadiens (Chris Higgins) in exchange for the 15th overall pick and the 245th overall pick. The Oilers selected Jesse Niinimaki who failed to sign with the team. As compensation, the NHL awarded the Oilers with the 45th overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft, with whom they selected Jeff Petry.
New York Islanders - 6/22/2002
The last remnants of Mike Milbury, the Danish Prince/Deity Frans Nielsen.
Toronto Maple Leafs - 6/22/2002
Elisha Cuthbert's husband...I mean current captain of the Leafs and former 9th overall pick in the 2003 Draft Dion Phaneuf is the longest lineage on the current Leafs roster.
Winnipeg Jets - 6/22/2002
(Kari Lehtonen -> Ivan Vishnevskiy -> Andrew Ladd)
Formerly the Atlanta Thrashers (since the lineage begins when the ATL still had an NHL franchise), the Jets' longest lineage traces back to current Stars starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen and leads us to their current captain, Andrew Ladd.
22. Minnesota Wild - 6/23/2001
Current captain Mikko Koivu holds the longest lineage on the self-proclaimed "State of Hockey's" franchise
21. New York Rangers - 6/25/2000
Sometimes life isn't fair.
20. Pittsburgh Penguins - 11/14/2000
(Jeff Norton -> Johan Hedburg -> Alex Goligoski -> James Neal -> Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling)
Woo now we're getting to some fun stuff!
19. Tampa Bay Lightning - 7/31/2000
(Martin St. Louis -> Ryan Callahan)
In one of the bigger blockbuster trades of 2014, Yzerman and the Lightning sent the Hart and Stanley Cup winner to the Rangers in exchange for their captain Ryan Callahan, a 2014 conditional 1st rounder, a 2015 1st rounder and a 2015 7th rounder (also conditional).
T15. Boston Bruins - 6/27/1998
(Andrew Raycroft -> Tuukka Rask)
One that still makes Maple Leaf fans tear up. Raycroft, a Calder winner with the Bruins was traded to the Leafs in exchange for Rask, a 21st overall pick in the 2005 Draft. When the Leafs determined that Justin Pogge was their 'goaltender of the future,' Rask became expendable and was traded in exchange for Raycroft. It was later revealed that the Bruins intended to release Raycroft and the Leafs could have gotten him for free instead of trading a future Vezina winner for him.
T15. Detroit Red Wings - 6/27/1998
Sometimes life REALLY isn't fair. Or the Red Wings front office is just really smart, yeah let's go with that one.
T15. Montreal Canadiens - 6/27/1998
T15. Nashville Predators - 6/27/1998
(Tomas Vokoun -> Nick Spaling -> James Neal)
The Predators actually have two lineages that could qualify, but the one below is a bit more unique. Tomas Vokoun was drafted by the Canadiens in the ninth round of the 1994 NHL Draft (226th overall) and only played one game in the NHL for Montreal. He was chosen by the Predators in the 1998 NHL Expansion draft and eventually traded to the Panthers for a 2007 2nd rounder which the Predators used to draft Nick Spaling, a piece used to acquire James Neal along with Patric Hornqvist. In the trade with the Panthers, the Predators also acquired the Panthers 2008 1st round pick (eventually becoming Colin Wilson).
The other lineage involves rookie Calle Jarnkrok. Jarnkrok was acquired along with Patrick Eaves and a 2014 2nd rounder (#46 Julius Bergman) for David Legwand. Legwand was a 2nd overall pick in the 1998 by the Predators (who traded the 3rd overall and 29th overall picks - Brad Stuart and Jonathan Cheechoo - to the Sharks in exchange for the 2nd overall and 85th overall - Geoff Koch).
14. Philadelphia Flyers - 8/20/1997
(Chris Gratton -> Daymond Langkow -> Jeff Carter -> Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier)
This is why you don't see RFAs signed by other teams anymore. After signing RFA Chris Gratton to a five-year, $16.5 million deal, the Flyers traded Mikael Renberg and Karl Dykhuis to the Lightning in order to retrieve the four first-round draft picks lost as compensation. Just a season later, the Flyers traded him back to Tampa Bay with Mike Sillinger for Mikael Renberg (again) and Daymond Langkow. Langkow was traded to the Coyotes and in exchange for the Flyers choice of a 2002 1st rounder and 2003 2nd rounder or a 2002 2nd rounder and a 2003 1st rounder. The Flyers chose the latter and drafted Jeff Carter 11th overall in 2003. Carter was then traded to Columbus in the summer of 2011 and acquired Voracek, a 2011 1st rounder used to draft Sean Couturier and 2011 3rd rounder (drafted Nick Cousins).
13. Dallas Stars - 6/21/1997
(Brenden Morrow -> Joe Morrow -> Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverly)
Brenden Morrow took over the Captaincy in Dallas after franchise legend Mike Modano. Morrow was eventually traded to the Penguins for Joe Morrow (no relation) who was a piece used to acquire budding superstar Tyler Seguin.
12. Ottawa Senators - 6/22/1996
11. Arizona Coyotes - 7/8/1995
Before the relocation to Arizona, the Jets drafted future captain Shane Doan with the 7th overall pick in the 1995 draft.
10. New Jersey Devils - 6/28/1994
9. Florida Panthers - 6/24/1993
(Tom Fitzgerald and Jesse Belanger -> Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha -> Roberto Luongo -> Todd Bertuzzi -> Shawn Matthias -> Roberto Luongo)
This only begins to emulate how much of a mess Roberto Luongo's career has been.
8. San Jose Sharks - 10/04/1992
(Igor Larionov -> Ray Sheppard -> Matt Bradley -> Wayne Primeau + Brad Stuart + Marco Sturm -> Joe Thornton)
How is the Joe Thornton trade not talked about more often? What an absolute steal for the Sharks.
7. Colorado Avalanche - 6/22/1991
Before relocating, The Quebec Nordiques drafted Eric Lindros despite Lindros letting the entire world know he wouldn't sign or play with them. In what became one of the largest trades in NHL history, the Nordiques acquired pieces that would transform them to a legitimate Cup contender.
After moving to Denver, the lineage of this trade has led to Ryan Wilson.
6. Washington Capitals - 6/16/1990
(Peter Bondra -> Brooks Laich)
The Capitals traded franchise legend Peter Bondra to the Senators for Brooks Laich who remains with the team today.
5. Vancouver Canucks - 6/11/1988
(Trevor Linden -> Todd Bertuzzi + Bryan Allen + Alex Auld -> Roberto Luongo -> Shawn Matthias and Jacob Markstrom)
Like the Panthers lineage, this tree features Milbury mistakes and Luongo getting shuffled around.
4. Calgary - 6/13/1987
(Theo Fleury + Dingman -> Robyn Regehr + Ales Kotalik -> Paul Byron)
Theo Fleury, who was the Flames' all-time scoring leader for ten years until passed by Jarome Iginla in 2009, was traded to the Avalanche along with Chris Dingman. The Flames chose to select Robyn Regehr with the Avalanche's pick. Regehr was eventually traded to the Sabres along with Ales Kotalik for Paul Byron.
(Note: Calgary got Prust and the 98th overall pick in the 2004 draft from the Blue Jackets for a 2nd rounder, #46 overall used to draft Adam Pineault.
3. St. Louis Blues - 6/9/1982
(I honestly got lost but it ends up with Craig Conroy -> Cory Stillman -> David Backes)
Seriously, this is my masterpiece and I'm impressed that I fit it all on one page.
2. Buffalo Sabres - 6/3/1975
(Don Edwards + Richie Dunn -> Paul Cyr -> Alex Mogilny -> Mike Wilson -> Ryan Miller -> Chris Stewart + Michal Neuvirth - from Halak)
Note: In this lineage I failed to include a part of the Miller trade. Miller was traded along with Steve Ott to the Blues. Ott was acquired from the Stars for Derek Roy in July 2012. Roy was drafted by the Sabres 32nd overall in 2001, a pick they acquired along with Chris Gratton in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
1. Los Angeles Kings - 6/01/1975
This one is pretty convoluted. Essentially it begins with HOFer and Kings Legend Marcel Dionne, includes other HOFers along the way (Paul Coffey), includes another Milbury trade and ends up with the robbery trade for Jeff Carter.
Part 1: Showing how Paul Coffey, Steve Seguin and Jim Hiller were acquired.
Part 2: Showing impact since Paul Coffey, Steve Seguin and Jim Hiller were traded to the Red Wings
Hope you all enjoyed! This was fun to do and took a lot of work and time. Comments are welcome, especially if I'm missing anything.