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Ex-Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s worst trades – No. 4

We’re now counting down the most regrettable trades that former Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland made during his tenure in the Motor City that lasted over two decades. In case you missed it, here was the first in our countdown:

No. 5 – Cory Cross

Number four on our list was seen as a good move at the time, but unfortunately turned into a complete disaster and helped prevent what could have been a third straight Stanley Cup Championship.

No. 4 – Acquiring G Bill Ranford from the Lightning in exchange for a conditional draft pick

The Red Wings needed depth in the crease after dealing backup Kevin Hodson, and the aging Ranford fit the bill. A former Stanley Cup winning netminder with the Edmonton Oilers, Ranford sat behind Chris Osgood at the start of the 1999 Stanley Cup Playoffs and soon found himself in the starter’s role after the former went down with an injury.

Things started remarkably well – Ranford helped Detroit win both games in their second round series against the Colorado Avalanche. But what followed was nothing short of terrible. He was yanked from both Games 3 and 4 in Detroit after horrendous performances, enabling Detroit’s rival to tie up the series.

Osgood, though still clearly not fully recovered, returned to the crease for the next two contests, also both won by Colorado to dispatch Detroit.

Had Ranford been able to hold down the fort in Osgood’s absence, he wouldn’t have needed to come back before he was fully ready, and there could have potentially been another banner hanging from the Joe Louis Arena rafters.

After the 1999 Playoffs, Ranford didn’t return.

Written by Michael Whitaker

Always at the front lines of Detroit Sports.

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