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  • Writer's pictureDerek Ochej

Muller for Richer, a rare, mutually beneficial trade

Updated: Apr 20

As this journey through hockey history winds its way into the 'high series' of 1991-92 Upper Deck, we are beginning to encounter players that have already been featured on cards in the series, Kirk Muller being our first example. As part of the high series, players that were traded before the 1991-92 season began or early in the season get a chance to be pictured with their new team.

To avoid repeating content, when these players come up I will instead review the trade that they were involved in, looking at the fate of the players with their new franchises, and declaring a winner. In the case of Kirk Muller's trade detailed below, both teams (Montreal and New Jersey) come out winners as each franchise won a Stanley Cup within five years of the trade, with Muller and Stephane Richer both playing a key role in those Cup wins.

514 Chris Winnes

A right winger, Winnes was drafted 161st overall by Boston in 1987 straight from high school hockey in New York. He played four years at the University of New Hampshire before turning pro in 1990-91 with Maine in the AHL.

Winnes made his NHL debut in 1991-92 with the Bruins, playing in 24 games and scoring one goal and four points. The following two seasons he played in nine games between Boston and Philadelphia, recording three assists in what would be his final NHL games.

1994-95 was Winnes best pro season statistically, scoring 26 goals and 66 points with Hershey in the AHL. The three following seasons he played for four different teams in the IHL, mixed in with a brief stint in Italy. In June 1998 Winnes signed with the New York Rangers, but would play the next four seasons between the AHL, IHL and UHL. His final pro season came with New Haven in 2001-02.

In three NHL seasons Winnes played in 33 games, scoring one goal and seven points. According to the Bruins’ alumni website, Winnes is currently a firefighter in Rhode Island; he also was an assistant coach with the University of Rhode Island in 2018-19.

YouTube clip: getting crushed by Scott Stevens as he attempts to cross into the Devils’ zone, a fate that befell many NHLers in the 1990s and 2000s.

515 Kelly Kisio

A centre, Kisio was never drafted. He played two seasons with Calgary in the WHL, scoring 65 goals and 138 points during the 1979-80 season. Kisio turned pro the following season, playing with Adirondack in the AHL and Kalamazoo in the UHL. The 1981-82 season he played with Dallas in the UHL scoring 101 points, then journeyed to Switzerland for the 1982-83 season. After scoring 73 points in 35 games Kisio finally signed an NHL contract with Detroit, scoring seven points in 15 NHL games during the 82-83 season.

In Kisio’s true rookie season of 1983-84 he scored 23 goals and 60 points. Over two more seasons with the Wings he eclipsed the 20 goal and 60 point barrier both seasons before a trade in the summer of 1986 to the New York Rangers as part of a package for goalie Glen Hanlon. With the Rangers Kisio set career highs in points in 1987-88 (78) and goals in 1988-89 (26). An assistant captain during much of his time on Broadway, the 1989-90 season saw Kisio record his seventh straight season with 20+ goals and 60+ points. During the 1990 playoffs he finished third on the team in scoring with 10 points in 10 games.

Kisio’s time with the Rangers ended when he was selected by Minnesota in the 1991 expansion draft. A few days later he was traded to an actual expansion team in San Jose, in exchange for Shane Churla. A veteran presence on a bad Sharks team, Kisio was an assistant captain for both of his seasons in San Jose and led the team in scoring in 1992-93 with 26 goals and 78 points. He played in the 1993 all-star game and earned some Byng Trophy votes too.

Kisio signed with Calgary for the 1993-94 season, scoring 41 points in 63 games over two seasons before retiring after the 1994-95 season. In 13 NHL seasons he played in 761 games, scoring 229 goals and 658 points. From 1995 to 1998 Kisio was a scout with the Flames before leaving to become general manager of the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL. From 2004-2008 he added the title of head coach, and stayed with the Hitmen as general manager or in hockey operations until 2018 when he was hired as a pro scout with the Vegas Golden Knights.

YouTube clip: fighting Sergei Fedorov during an October 1992 game betwen San Jose and Detroit. Surprisingly, this one of five career fights for Fedorov.

516 Joe Day

A centre, Day was drafted 186th overall by Hartford in 1987 after his freshman year at St. Lawrence University. He played three more seasons with the Saints, captaining the team during his senior season. Day turned pro in 1990-91 with Springfield in the AHL, scoring 53 points in 75 games and winning the Calder Cup.

Day made his NHL debut in 1991-92, playing in 24 games and scoring three assists with the Whalers. He appeared in another 24 games in 1992-93, scoring one goal and eight points. After signing with the New York Islanders for the 1993-94 season, Day played in yet another 24 games, recording zero points in his final NHL season.

He played the next four seasons in the IHL, primarily with the Las Vegas Thunder save a brief stint with Baltimore in the AHL. As captain of the Thunder in the 1997-98 season he scored 30 goals and recorded 183 penalty minutes. The following season he was suspended by the team for not reporting to training camp. Day did not play pro hockey again until the 2000-01 season, playing in six games with Pensacola in the ECHL. His pro career ended after 12 games with Muskegon during the 2003-04 season.

In three NHL seasons Day played in 72 games, scoring one goal and 11 points. He was named to the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 and currently works as a leadership consultant in Michigan, specializing in Myers-Briggs testing.

YouTube clip: getting jumped by Mark Messier after a brief jousting match during a 1993 game between the Isles and Rangers.

517 Ed Courtenay

A right winger, Courtenay played four seasons in the QMJHL, scoring 59 goals and 114 points in the 1988-89 season. In the fall of 1989 he signed as a free agent with Minnesota, playing his first two pro seasons in Kalamazoo, scoring at almost a point-per-game pace.

Courtenay’s NHL break came via the 1991 expansion draft when he was selected by the San Jose Sharks. He played five games in the NHL during the Sharks’ inaugural season. The 1992-93 season saw Courtenay play in 39 games, scoring seven goals and 20 points in what would turn out to be his final NHL season.

He spent one more season in the Sharks organization, followed by two seasons in the IHL. After spending time in the IHL, WCHL and ECHL in 1995-96, Courtenay found success with South Carolina in the ECHL, scoring 54 goals and 110 points to lead the league in scoring. Despite that success he moved on to play in Britain beginning in 1997-98, playing five seasons and earning three first-team all-star and one second-team all-star selections. Courtenay returned to South Carolina for two seasons beginning in 2003-04, and then returned again to Britain, this time as a player-coach. During his second tenure in the UK, which ended after 2009-10 season, Courtenay made three additional postseason all-star teams.

In 2 NHL seasons Courtenay played in 44 games, scoring seven goals and 20 points. He was inducted into the South Carolina Stingrays Hall of Fame in 2006 and from 2015 to 2019 coached division III college hockey with The Citadel College in South Carolina.

YouTube clip: going ballistic during a 2006 game with the Belfast Giants. He empties most of the bench onto ice, ending his tirade by throwing his gloves and helmet at the referee as he leaves the ice. 

518 Andrei Lomakin

A right winger, Lomakin was drafted 138th overall by Philadelphia in 1991. Having played almost a decade of pro hockey in the Soviet Union prior to his drafting (including a gold medal earned at the 1988 Olympics), Lomakin joined the Flyers immediately for the 1991-92 season. At age 27 he scored 14 goals and 30 points in 57 games, followed with 20 points in 51 games during his sophomore season.

In June 1993 he was selected by the Florida Panthers in the expansion draft. Lomakin’s first season as a Panther was his best NHL season, scoring 19 goals and 47 points. The lockout shortened 1994-95 season was to be his final in the NHL, scoring one goal and seven points in 31 games. Lomakin played two seasons in Switzerland and Germany before retiring from pro hockey after the 1996-97 season.

In 4 NHL seasons, he played in 215 games, scoring 42 goals and 104 points. After settling in Michigan for his post-hockey life, Lomakin sadly passed away in 2006 at the age of 42 due to an illness suspected to be cancer.

YouTube clip: scoring a pair of goals against the Habs during a 1994 game with the Panthers. Please ignore the questionable audio quality at the end of the clip. 

519 Kirk Muller (previously featured here)

Early in the 1991-92 season Muller was traded to Montreal with goalie Rollie Melanson for forwards Tom Chorske and Stephane Richer.

Muller: in his first full season as a Hab in 1992-93 Muller tied his career-high for goals and points. He finished second on the team in playoff scoring as the Habs won the 1993 Stanley Cup. (Muller even scored the Cup winning goal). A season and a half later he was traded to the New York Islanders as part of a package deal that landed Montreal Vladimir Malakhov and Pierre Turgeon.

Turgeon, a future Hall of Famer, played only one full season with Montreal, scoring 95 points before a five-player trade sent him to St. Louis with the main return being Shayne Corson. GM Rejean Houle felt a need to shake up the franchise and acquire ‘more grit’ after an Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals loss in the 1996 playoffs.

Melanson: played only nine games with the Habs, which proved to be his final NHL games. With Patrick Roy as one of the best goalies in the NHL at the time, a backup goalie wasn’t critical.

Chorske: played four seasons with the Devils, winning a Stanley Cup in 1995. Following the Cup victory, he was claimed off waivers by Ottawa. Chorske would haunt his former team in the 1995-96 season, scoring two goals in the final game of the season to knock the Devils out of the playoffs.

Richer: played five seasons with Devils, leading the team in playoff scoring in the 1995 playoffs and Stanley Cup victory. In August 1996 he was traded back to Montreal for defenceman Lyle Odelein.

Overall this trade worked out for both franchises. Muller was a key cog on the 1993 Canadiens team that surprised everyone by winning the Cup. He was traded away for a future Hall of Famer, who was then discarded by a foolish GM that essentially destroyed the franchise for many years by alienating key players. Richer and Chorske both played valuable roles in getting the Devils their first Cup.

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