The Detroit Red Wings have had a long history of success, including making the playoffs for 25 consecutive seasons (1991-2016). A lot of their success can be attributed to drafting, but there is another aspect that has made this team great over the decades. Trades have helped complement the draft success to earn the team four Stanley Cups in that time frame so we will take a look at five that have made a big impact during their incredible playoff stretch.
#5 Brendan Shanahan For Trio Of Players
The Red Wings were in serious contention for the Stanley Cup in the 1996-1997 season, but it seemed as if they were still missing a piece. Brendan Shanahan solved that problem when the Red Wings traded for him from the Hartford Whalers for Paul Coffey, Keith Primeau, and a first-round draft pick in 1997. The Red Wings also received defenseman Brian Glynn in the deal, but the main target was Shanahan. The Red Wings went on to win the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998, and 2002 while Shanahan was on the team.
#4 Brad Stuart For Draft Picks
The trade for Brad Stuart in 2008 was one of Ken Holland’s better deals in the past 10 seasons mainly because of what he was able to pay for a top defender. The Red Wings traded for Stuart from Los Angeles at the trade deadline in 2008 for a 2008 second-round draft pick and a 2009 fourth-round draft pick. Stuart was originally taken third overall in 1998 by the San Jose Sharks and was considered one of the best defensemen on the block in 2008. What the trade did was give the Red Wings a second defensive pairing that would be a first-string unit on any other team when they paired Stuart with Niklas Kronwall. Stuart helped the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup in 2008 and almost a second consecutive one in 2009.
#3 Chris Chelios For Draft Picks And A Defenseman
The Red Wings had already won back to back Stanley Cups but they were looking for more. The Wings decided to add to their already talented roster when they traded Anders Eriksson and two first-round draft picks to the Chicago Blackhawks for Chris Chelios. Chelios was most well known for saying that he would never play for the Detroit Red Wings, but when he came to Detroit, he was largely successful and became one of the iconic Red Wings of this generation. Chelios played for the Red Wings from 1999-2009 and was a part of two Stanley Cup-winning teams. Chelios had a history of a high level of fitness, being able to play well into his 40s.
#2 Larry Murphy For Future Considerations
One of the bigger steals the Red Wings were able to make on the trade market was when they traded future considerations to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Larry Murphy at the 1997 trade deadline. Larry Murphy was another key piece in assembling the Stanley Cup-winning clubs of 1997 and 1998. The Maple Leafs wanted Murphy out of Toronto after two seasons and the Red Wings gave up essentially nothing to acquire him. The move proved to be one of the biggest steals once the Red Wings went on to win back to back cups. For his career, Murphy had his name on the Stanley Cup a total of four times.
#1 Kris Draper For $1
In what was perhaps the biggest steal in NHL trade history, the Red Wings were able to acquire Kris Draper from the Winnipeg Jets for $1. Yes, that is four quarters, 100 pennies, or 10 dimes. All the Red Wings got in return was a player who finished his NHL career with 161 goals, 203 assists, and 1,157 regular-season games played (all but 20 were with the Red Wings). The Red Wings also go a player who was a main part of their four Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008. Draper made a home on the third and fourth lines in Detroit but was a huge part of the Red Wings penalty kill and was one of the best faceoff men the NHL has seen. While his playing time suffered in the latter part of his career, Draper was able to provide the leadership needed for the youth to come and keep the powerhouse that is the Red Wings, up and running.