Could a Karlsson trade be a repeat of early Ottawa Senators history?

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(Hat tip to @slowhnds whose tweets gave us the the idea for this post!)

A small-market hockey team, a star defenceman (and captain), dwindling attendance… all this talk about a potential Erik Karlsson trade reminds us of another Ottawa Senators transaction, going all the way back to 1930.

Frank “King” Clancy was born on February 25, 1902 in Ottawa, and played for the original Senators from 1921-1930.  He helped the team to two Stanley Cups, in 1923 and 1927 and was named captain in 1928.

Like Karlsson, he was a defenceman but also confortable playing an offensive role. He led all defenceman in the young NHL in points. The league recently named him one of the 100 greatest players in league history.

Then, as now, Ottawa was a small market in the big-city NHL. The late 1920s were a difficult time financially for the Senators and in 1930 they traded Clancy to the Toronto Maple Leafs for two players and $35,000. Clancy would win another Stanley Cup with the Leafs and was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958.

The next season (1931-1932) the team suspended operations to try to regain their financial stability. They rented out their players to other teams for the season, generating $25,000 in revenue, and then secured a loan (co-signed by the NHL) for $28,000 to continue.

The next two seasons were brutal on and off the ice. They finished at the bottom of the league in standings and played to tiny crowds compared to league rivals like Toronto, who had just opened Maple Leaf Gardens.  After incurring $60,000 in losses over two seasons, the franchise moved to St. Louis.

Ottawa wouldn’t be home to an NHL franchise again until the modern-day Senators started play in 1991.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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