It was no doubt somewhat difficult to see Mark Recchi moved in what appeared to be the prime of a possible hall-of-fame career. Since coming over from Pittsburgh in part of a trade for Flyers star Rick Tocchet, Recchi twice led the Flyers in scoring, including a 123-point season in '92-'93 that still stands as a Philly single-season record. Still, the juice would be well worth the squeeze on a February 9th, 1995 trade that was supposed to put the Montrael Canadiens over the top, but instead ended up fleshing out a contending Flyers team for the rest of the decade.
Recchi was sent to Montreal on that day in exchange for three players--Gilbert Dionne, Eric Desjardins, and John LeClair. Dionne played sparingly and was soon a league wash-out, but Desjardins blossomed into the Flyers' best defender (winning seven Barry Ashbee awards to solidify that fact) and LeClair gave the team the perfect front-line complement for star center Eric Lindros. The two all-stars would stay on at least a decade each, and help the Flyers reach four conference championships in the process, although all but one ended in heartbreak and the fourth was capped by a sweep by Detroit in the Stanley Cup finals.
Meanwhile, Mark Recchi went on to play solidly for the Canadiens, including an All-Star 80-point season in '96-'97, but never had a year to challenge his best with the Flyers, and never made it out of the second round of the playoffs. Fret not for Recchi though--he'd be back soon enough, reacquired near the end of the '98-'99 season for a significantly cheaper price than the Canadiens had paid for him. In his first full year back with the Flyers, Recchi lead the team in scoring with 91 points, and the entire league in assists with 63, helping lead the Flyers to the best record in the Eastern confrence. (Unfortunately, when we last heard from Recchi, he was in a Bruins uniform scoring the game-tying goal against the Flyers in the waning minutes '10 Winter Classic--ouch, Mark.)
For its eventual consequences, the trade has earned notoriety in both the Monteral and Philadelphia camps. Alan Bass of bleacherreport.com ranked it as the #2 trade in Flyers history, while Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated pegged it as one of the five worst transactions the Canadiens ever made.