The Detroit Red Wings were only a few short months removed from another devastating playoff exit, this time in Round 1 against the upstart Los Angeles Kings. GM Ken Holland knew he needed to make a change.
And on June 30, 2001, one of the biggest trades in team history was completed.
Holland traded forward Slava Kozlov, who was a major part of Detroit’s previous two Stanley Cup championships in 1997 and 1998 to the Buffalo Sabres for goaltender Dominik Hasek, one of the greatest in NHL history at his position.
Hasek was the first piece in what would eventually become arguably the greatest NHL roster ever assembled. Just days later, Holland would ink forward Luc Robitaille and later Brett Hull to free-agent contracts.
Of course, this meant that goaltender Chris Osgood was suddenly expendable. He would eventually be waived and claimed by the New York Islanders, whom he nearly led to a first-round upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs in Round 1 of the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Hasek would help lead Detroit to the 2002 Stanley Cup, the first in his legendary career. After a brief retirement, he would return for 2003-04 in what proved to be a tumultuous situation with fellow goalie Curtis Joseph. Hasek would eventually move on to Ottawa before coming back to Detroit for the final two seasons of his NHL career, retiring from the NHL for good after his second Cup win in 2008.