With draft day coming up, and the trade rumors buzzing, I was just thinking about how rare it seems that the Red Wings involve themselves in any significant trading. I mean certainly over the years we've acquired our share of big (although usually aging) names...but whens the last time we traded away a real 'roster' player to make any significant adjustments to our team.
The last player of even moderate significance was Jason Williams, and that was 5 years ago...IF you can consider him a real 'roster' player. (I'm defining that as someone who's been on the team more than a year and played in at least 75% of games during his tenure..and yeah, i know it's arbitrary, but otherwise you'd have to count a player like Ville Leino who never really cracked our roster full time). We received Kyle Calder for him, who ended up only playing 19 games for the Red and White.
Before that it was Aaron Ward in 2001, but we only got a pick for him. No real addition there.
That same year though, I did find the last true roster player traded for another real roster player. Slava Kozlov for Dominik Hasek. 11 years ago right around this time.
It's crazy to me that it's been that long since we've made any moves this way. It really shows you a lot about why we as fans have such strong connections to our Red Wings. So many players come to this organization and stay for long stints...When they leave, it's generally amicably when a contract is up or through retirement. It's a reputation I'm sure a lot of players realize when they sign with Detroit, the contract means they're likely not going anywhere and it's safe to put down some roots. When you see players like Richards and Carter get >10 year deals and then get traded within 2 years, it cheapens the idea of a contract, and must make players feel extreme pressure to add NTCs to every contract they sign, but not in Detroit.
I still remember the expansion draft in 1998, when Doug Brown was selected by Nashville. I was so bummed...I was so attached to every player from those 2 cup teams, I didn't want to see any of them go. I resigned to buy myself a 'Brown' Predators Jersey in solidarity, but before I even managed to, Detroit traded back for him just 3 weeks later. The loyalty the Wings organization shows is pretty insane.
I'm sure it won't last forever, and at some point Detroit will have to let go of a roster player we all love, or at least are attached to. I hear so many clamors to trade Franzen, it seems unlikely he'll last til his contract runs out at the turn of the century...That said, I'm sure a lot of us will be sad if he or anybody from our roster has to go.
Here's the link I used to take my trip down memory lane and Detroit's trade history. Check it out.