Our list of former Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland‘s top free-agent signings continues with number four on our list. For those of you who may have missed it, here’s number five:
Number four could be considered one of the easiest examples of the cliche phrase, “The rich get richer”. We throw it back to the summer of 2008 when the Red Wings were fresh off yet another Stanley Cup winning season, and the top free-agent forward had his eyes set on the Motor City – Marian Hossa.
One of the most prolific scoring forwards in hockey, Hossa had been traded from the Atlanta Thrashers to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2008 Trade Deadline, and he play an integral role in Pittsburgh’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals – coincidently, against Detroit.
Hossa scored twice in the six games against Detroit, but the memory of his diving in vain towards a loose puck at the side of the net in the waning moment of the deciding Game 6 and subsequent heartbreak afterwards proved to be enough for him to decide that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
Holland signed Hossa to a one-year, $7.45 million deal after he spurned larger and longer offers from the Penguins and other teams. The regular season was nothing short of a success for Hossa and the Red Wings, who won 50 games for the fourth straight year. He was their leading goal scorer with 40 tallies:
And though the Red Wings would once again qualify for the Stanley Cup Finals, Hossa’s play during the postseason was the subject of scrutiny. Six goals through the first three rounds (and all coming in a pair of tallies in Game 4 of each series) wasn’t exactly the kind of offenses the team was banking on. And in a cruel twist of irony, the Red Wings once again met up with the Penguins, who ended up skating the Cup at Joe Louis Arena thanks to a 2-1 win in Game 7.
Afterwards, Hossa defended his decision to come to Detroit:
“I don’t regret it,” Hossa said. “It could be different circumstances if I signed in Pittsburgh. They probably couldn’t sign some other players and they would be a different team. We can sit here for hours discussing this, but it could be a different team and different things, so I don’t regret this decision.”
Hossa then signed a 12 year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, with whom he would raise the Stanley Cup three times before calling it a career in 2017 due to a skin allergy caused by his equipment.
– – Quote via Kevin Gorman of Trib Live Link – –