As we await the return of hockey, we’ve been counting down some of the moves made from former Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland. We’ve just completed our list of his five most regrettable signings, and now it’s time to reminisce over the moves that did work out.
We’ll kick off our list of his five best signings (of course, with an honorable mentions list included) by throwing it back to that summer of 2001. Bringing aboard one of the greatest left-wings in NHL history was one of the steps taken to assure that Lord Stanley would once again soon reside in the Motor City – Luc Robitaille.
Robitaille had incidentally helped the Los Angeles Kings to a stunning first-round victory over the Red Wings just a few months prior. But instead of deciding to tear things down and start over, Holland and co. decided to go for it again. Just the day before, they acquired All-Star goaltender Dominik Hasek from the Sabres. Robitaille was the next step.
The Stanley Cup was the only thing missing from his legendary career, and as he put it, the Red Wings afforded him the best opportunity to raise the famed trophy.
“My wife and I discussed it. She asked me, ‘Luc, where do you think you’d have the best chance at a Stanley Cup?’ I said, ‘Detroit.’ So that was pretty much our focus,” he later explained.
Robitaille would score 30 goals in his first season in Detroit, helping the team to the 2002 Stanley Cup title. His next season wasn’t as productive, as he went through a prolonged scoring drought en route to his worst offensive output of his career. He returned to the Kings in the summer of 2003.
– – Quote via Greg Eno of Bleacher Report Link – –