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The Ghost of Red Wings Past: Trade Edition

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Has anyone tried turning Ken Holland off and on again?
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Trade rumors are whirling, swirling, and twirling about the internet and it’s still a mystery what the Red Wings will do. As we look to the future it’s important to remember the past, so allow me to take you on a journey to revisit a few of the Red Wings trade moves over the last few years.

A Series of Unfortunate Veterans

If you’ve been around the past few seasons, you know how fond the Red Wings have been of picking up a rental veteran player and hoping he will help us limp into the playoffs. Let’s look back at some of those one-hit wonders.

The prequel to Andreas Athanasiou nobody wanted to see

The year before AA took over #72, there was Erik Cole. He came to us from the Stars on March 1, 2015 along with a 2015 conditional 3rd round pick. In return, we had a BOGO deal on players named Mattias and gave the Stars Backman and Janmark along with a 2015 2nd round pick.

How did it go?

Badly. The plan was Cole would be that magical veteran presence that we always seem to “need” in the spring, however Cole only played 11 games as he suffered a spinal contusion that ended his season. For the Stars, things were going very well for Janmark until he was diagnosed with a joint disorder in his knee in October. He may return in the spring but there is no news yet.

Janmark was a gain for the Stars but was he a loss for the Red Wings? No. He would have gotten caught up in the logjam of forwards and probably ended up locked in the trunk of a car and dumped in front of Van Andel Arena.

Trade winner: Dallas Stars

Why stop at one veteran when you can have two?

We got 38 year-old Marek Zidlicky from the Devils on March 2, 2015 in exchange for a 2016 conditional 3rd round pick. He played a total of 27 games for us and had 11 points.

How did it go?

In general this was a pretty good deal, we didn’t sacrifice much in exchange for a solid right-handed defenseman and I don’t think anybody honestly expected us to make a deep enough run into the playoffs that we would sacrifice more. He was here to maintain The Streak not get us the Cup, even if nobody outside of Twitter will admit it.

Trade winner: Red Wings

The glorious ascension of Patrick Eaves

Take a deep breath. Exhale. Take another breath. Exhale. Ready? Ok, let’s dive in. On March 4, 2015 the Red Wings acquired David Legwand from the Predators in exchange for Calle Jarnkrok, Patrick Eaves, and a 3rd round pick. This was a trade of desperation, we needed a center. Helm, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Weiss were all out of commission and The Streak was in danger.

How did it go?

Jarnkrok’s having himself a good season with the Preds racking up 22 points in 59 games, only 8 shy of his 81 game point total last year.

Patrick Eaves found himself quickly sent to Dallas where the only thing that’s grown faster than his fanbase is his beard. The first two seasons Eaves was with Detroit went pretty well but had he stayed in Detroit he would have quickly been the odd man out because he wasn’t going to crack the Top 6 and nobody takes a roster spot from local hockey darling Luke Glendening. Eaves has a history of injuries including the concussion that sidelined him for most of the 2011-2012 season, but with Dallas he’s had a chance to really flourish even if he isn’t playing as many games as some of the other guys.

Well, with Legwand we made the playoffs so...hooray?

Trade Winner: Patrick Eaves

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out

We don’t always acquire veterans, every once in awhile we dump one. Two notable examples are Brad Stuart and Mike Babcock’s #1 Fan, Mike Commodore. We got essentially nothing in return, but Stuart wanted to go to California and Commodore is Commodore.

Three-Dimensional Chess

Allow me to illuminate a rare moment in Red Wings recent trade history where we used a future planning strategy. On June 24, 2011 the Red Wings traded a 2011 1st round pick to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for two 2011 2nd round picks.

How did it go?

The Senators used their pick on Matt Puempel and you would be right to exclaim, “who?” He was placed on waivers by the Sens this year and picked up by the Rangers, and it only took 13 scoreless games for the Sens to make that decision. We used our picks on Tomas Jurco and Xavier Ouellet, and while Jurco may spend the rest of his days in purgatory we still have Ouellet who has been doing a nice job for us so far.

Trade Winner: Red Wings

Chaos Theory 101

Many things (maybe even ALL the things) in the history of the universe had to happen exactly the way they did for you to be born, including hockey trades. For example, if Jack Adams hadn’t hated Ted Lindsay, the Anthony Mantha we know and love would not exist.

On December 3, 1962 the Red Wings acquired Andre Pronovost aka Grandpa Mantha aka Grand-thony Manth-pa from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Forbes Kennedy. Although Andre Pronovost did not have much success with the Red Wings, we still won the trade.

So where did Forbes Kennedy come from? On July 23, 1957 Terrible Ted Lindsay and Glenn Hall were sent to the Blackhawks in exchange for Kennedy, Hank Bassen, and Bill Preston. This trade was done out of spite not strategy because Jack Adams was not a fan of Ted Lindsay whose involvement in organizing the NHL Players’ Association was the last straw. But we know that Ted wouldn’t be gone forever as, against the wishes of pretty much everyone, he returned to Detroit for the 1964-1965 season to end his playing career with the team he loved so fiercely.

Would the trade would have happened without Forbes Kennedy? Would it have had any effect on Andre Pronovost? What if the trade had occurred a day later?

Feel free to leave your butterfly effect theories in the comments.

So who knows, maybe trading Brendan Smith is part of the universe’s plan to bring us the Red Wings franchise player of 2050.