Did the New York Rangers Acquire a Player Once For $1?

SPORTS LEGEND: The New York Rangers acquired a player in 1990 for $1.00.

There’s not a lot you can get for a dollar, even in 1990. At least in 1990, comic books were about a $1.00 each, so you could buy a comic book!

But really, a dollar did not have a lot of buying power – but it was enough to buy a hockey player!

Ray Sheppard (shown below from later in career when he was with the Florida Panthers) had a great rookie debut for the Buffalo Sabres in the 1987-88 season, scoring 38 goals to go along with 27 assists.


Sheppard came in second in the Rookie of the Year balloting.

However, Sheppard’s time in Buffalo was mostly a negative experience, and by the end of the 1989-90 season, he had actually been sent down to the minors following an injury and a disappointing 4 goals for the Sabres.

The Sabres and Sheppard were at loggerheads, and figuring out a new contract was going to be difficult. Ultimately, the Sabres determined that they would just buy Sheppard out for $75,000.

Before that could happen, though, New York Rangers General Manager Neil Smith offered to basically make the problem go away – he would buy Sheppard’s contract for the sum of $1.00.

In this instance, the dollar is misleading – it exists only because teams have to give SOMEthing up if they acquire a player. In this situation, what Smith was REALLY paying the Sabres was the $75,000 that they were going to give to Sheppard as a buy-out.

However, you can’t acquire a player like that, so the Rangers had to give up SOMEthing, and that something was one dollar.

The Sabres actually threw in a conditional $50,000 if Sheppard did not play 60 of the 82 Ranger games in the 1990-91 season (likewise, Smith would throw in a draft pick if Sheppard scored 30 or more goals).

Sheppard surprised the Sabres by rebounding with the Rangers and having a strong season with 24 goals and 23 assists.

Sheppard signed with the Detroit Red Wings for the 1991-92 season and spent five seasons with the Red Wings where he really blossomed, even scoring over 50 goals one season!!

Sheppard retired after the 2000 season.

I wonder how much a 1990 dollar would have been worth in Canada?


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

4 Responses to “Did the New York Rangers Acquire a Player Once For $1?”

  1. Brian, that was before the decline in value of the Canadian dollar during the mid-90s, so the $1 US would’ve been about $1.11 Canadian, more or less.

    However, there’s a rule in the NHL that all monetary values and contracts are paid in US dollars, so it’s probably moot.

  2. On the other hand, it can also backfire:


    One of the sadder stories of the year, actually.

  3. A similar thing happened with Leyton Orient- the football (soccer) team I support. They were in loads of debt, so were basically worth less than nothing, as the new chairman would have had to pay it all off. In the end, Barry Hearn bought the club for £5! Of course, in reality, he was agreeing to take thousands of pounds of debt off the prior owner’s hands…

  4. Vikings4ever on June 9th, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    There was also a minor league baseball player who got traded for 10 bats.

    A few years later, he ended up ODing.

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