It's always interesting to look at a trade and see down the line how everything worked out. Especially in today's era, where it seems like more and more trades involve conditional picks. Something that might have seemed like a throw-in at the time, down the line might become a top player.
Sometimes though, the pick travels around the league like general managers are playing hot potato, and today we are going to look at one of those deals.
First Trade: 11/25/2014 Canucks and Islanders
The Islanders surprised a lot of people by trading Andrey Pedan to the Canucks for Alexandre Mallet and a third-round pick in 2016. Pedan, who just made his NHL debut last week, had a lot of promise and size, but the Islanders had a crowded blue line in the NHL and AHL after trading for Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. Mallet had one good season in juniors, but hasn't made a dent in the AHL since turning pro.
But this isn't about Pedan or Mallet. Instead it's about the Canucks' third-round choice in 2016. The Islanders didn't hold onto it for too long.
Second Trade: 04/02/2015 Sabres and Islanders
With Chad Johnson having a two-year contract and a disappointing season as a backup, the Islanders dealt him to the Sabres for Michal Neuvirth. The Sabres were essentially aiming to do as poorly as possible in 2014-15, and downgrading in net was another step toward that goal. The Islanders also included a conditional third-round pick in 2016, giving the Sabres a choice between the Canucks' and Islanders' third-round picks.
As it stands currently, the Canucks pick would be the lower of both picks and most likely to be included in this trade.
But the Sabres only held onto the pick for a month and a half.
Third Trade: 05/28/2015 Sabres and Penguins
After firing Ted Nolan, the Sabres signed former Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. Since Bylsma was still under contract with the Penguins, this required a deal between the teams. So the Sabres sent the Penguins the conditional third-round pick.
This is historic for two reasons, it's only the 13th trade in the four major North America sports to involve a head coach. It is only the 2nd such trade in the NHL (something that now could be more common in the NHL, given new compensation rules for hiring coaches still under contract, though many teams are upset that it applies to fired coaches).
The first time was when the Rangers traded their 1988 first-round selection to the Quebec Nordiques for Michel Begeron. Begeron lasted one and seven-eights of a season with the Rangers. Fortunately for the Rangers, the Nordiques took Daniel Dore with the 4th overall selection they got. Dore was one of the bigger busts of the 1988 draft and couldn't make one of the worst teams in league history.
Fourth Trade: 07/28/2015 Penguins and Canucks
Finally the Penguins traded the conditional third-round pick with Brandon Sutter to the Canucks for Nick Bonino, Adam Clendening, and a second-round pick in 2016. As long as the Canucks finish worse than the Islanders, they will recover the third-round pick they originally traded for Pedan. Not only that, but the second round pick they dealt in this deal was the one they got for trading Kevin Bieska to the Ducks.
This conditional third-round pick has been around. According to Google Maps this would be a 92-hour road trip involving 6,279 miles, two border crossings and passing through 12 different states. It has also been involved in history, given the deal for Bylsma and of course no NHL history can be complete without a Sutter being involved.
It has ridden the ups and downs of the NHL. Islanders fans being disappointed in seeing a promising youngster leave. Sabre fans watching one of the few bright spots of a miserable season shipped out to make the team worse. The same fans getting more hope for the future with the addition of Dan Bylsma to the organization.
In the end, this third-round pick could just be a footnote in history. The player taken may never play a game in the NHL, and that's how things go. But up to this point it's been an incredible ride around the league, kicked off by a somewhat minor trade by the Islanders and Garth Snow.
(S/T to @Sportingfellow for pointing me toward this pick. To follow the history of this and many other picks, check prosportstransactions.)