Cam Neely hasn’t played a game for the Boston Bruins in 24 years, yet the trade that sent him to Boston in 1985 is still paying off for the Bruins. Now the President of the organization, Neely’s trade tree that began 35 years ago still impacts the Bruins of today and tomorrow.
How the Cam Neely Trade Still Benefits the Boston Bruins
When Cam Neely was traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the Bruins in 1985, only a few people knew the impact he would have on the organization. His legacy goes beyond what he did on the ice while in Boston. The 2019-20 Bruins have players on their team thanks to the 1985 trade.
In 1985, the Bruins traded Barry Pederson to the Canucks in exchange for Cam Neely and a first-round pick in the 1987 NHL draft. At the time, Neely was 20-years-old and had scored 51 goals in 251 games with the Canucks.
The first-round pick that the Bruins acquired from Vancouver (along with Neely) was used on defenceman, Glen Wesley. A 6-foot-1 left-handed shot that would go on to play for seven seasons in Boston.
In 1994, the Bruins traded Wesley to the Hartford Whalers in exchange for first-round picks in 1995, 1996 and 1997. The Bruins would go on to select Kyle McLaren, Johnathan Aitken and Sergei Samsonov with the picks acquired from Hartford.
McLaren would play seven seasons in Boston before being traded in 2003. McLaren’s trade would eventually result in Boston acquiring two key cogs in their 2011 championship run, Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell. Horton and Campbell left in free agency, thus ending that branch of the tree for the Bruins.
Aitken would only play three games for the Bruins and 44 games in his career.
The Neely trade tree continued to grow in 2006. The Bruins traded Samsonov to the Edmonton Oilers for Marty Reasoner, Yan Stastny and a second-round draft pick. The Bruins would use that draft pick on Milan Lucic.
The Neely trade tree was quiet until 2015 when Boston traded Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings for Martin Jones, Colin Miller and a 2015 first-round draft pick. The Bruins would use that draft pick on defenceman Jakub Zboril.
The Bruins selected Trent Frederic in the 2016 NHL draft with the draft-pick sent from the Sharks.
The Bruins have made nine trades and selected eight players through the draft that are a direct result of the Neely trade in 1985. Currently, the Bruins have one player and two in the system directly stemming from the acquisition of Cam Neely 35 years ago.
Kuraly is a key piece on a strong Boston team. He plays a bottom-six role for the Bruins and has proven to be a prominent force in the postseason. He has eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in 36 playoff games with the Bruins.
In his four years with the Bruins, Kuraly has 20 goals and 39 assists for 59 points in 223 games.
The Bruins selected Frederic 29th overall in the 2016 NHL draft. His style of play is perfect for the fans in Boston. He’s not afraid to get physical and drop the gloves but also possesses some offensive ability. Frederic is ranked the sixth-best prospect in the Bruins system according to the Boston Globe.
Zboril is one of the top defensive prospects in the Bruins organization currently. He appeared in two NHL games on an emergency basis during the 2018-19 season but did not register a point.
With Cam Neely sitting high above the ice at TD Garden, he gets to see first hand the impact he has on the team. Through a series of supplemental trades and draft picks, the Bruins roster will be linked to the 1985 trade for years to come.
Kuraly will continue to play an important role with the Bruins. He becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2020-21 season. For now, he’s the only Bruin at the NHL level with direct ties to the 1985 trade.
Zboril and Frederic have a chance at cracking the Boston Bruins roster in the future. With a group of core players nearing the end of their contracts like David Krejci, Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara, Frederic and Zboril hope to become the new core.
The Neely trade tree continues to grow for the Bruins 35 years later and doesn’t look to be stopping soon. One of the most unique aspects is that Cam Neely gets to decide where his trade tree grows next.
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