It was 2003. The Anaheim Ducks, led by general manager Bryan Murray, coveted a young forward named Mike Comrie, then a member of the Edmonton Oilers. Comrie didn't want to play in Edmonton, and he refused to sign with the club as a restricted free agent that summer.
Negotiations dragged on into the season, and Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe agreed in December to trade Comrie to the Ducks for... yeah, get ready... Corey Perry and a first round pick.
Yes, that's the same Corey Perry who, nine years later, has six full NHL seasons under his belt and nearly 200 goals. A Stanley Cup, too. The first round pick held by the Ducks in that 2004 draft turned out to be the No. 9 overall pick, which Anaheim used to select defenseman Ladislav Smid with that choice. Ironically, Smid is now an Oiler anyway.
This trade would have essentially been Smid and Perry for Mike Comrie, who is now retired from the sport.
The only hold up in the deal was Kevin Lowe's demand that, as compensation for losing an RFA, Comrie pay the organization a $2.5 million exit fee, according to the Los Angeles Times. Comrie refused, and that's the only reason the deal didn't go through.
So wait, let's recap here: Bryan Murray tried to trade Corey Perry AND a what turned out to be the No. 9 overall pick for Mike Comrie, and the only reason it didn't happen was because Kevin Lowe made a demand that he probably didn't even have the right to make. You can't really make this stuff up.