In an era where there was no salary cap, the Detroit Red Wings were able to land some of the biggest free agent names on an annual basis.
This was the case in 2002 when Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Dominik Hasek were all brought in and created a new energy back in Hockeytown. They led the Red Wings to their 10th Stanley Cup.
After a lockout and the implementation of a salary cap, the staff of Ken Holland, Assistant GM Jim Nill and Senior VP Jim Devellano worked tirelessly to keep the brand of Red Wings hockey well into the new era.
They did so by signing veteran defenseman Brian Rafalski and Marian Hossa. Both players were instrumental pieces in one Stanley Cup and Hossa took them to Game 7 in the 2009 Cup Finals.
Now, as one Hockeytown legend hangs up the skates for good, a culture shock is needed.
Here are 10 players (in no particular order) that would restore the energy and continue to represent the brand of Red Wings hockey.
Jarome "Iggy" Iginla has had many accolades over his long career in Cowtown.
He scored his 500th career goal just this past season. He has 1,073 career points in 1,188 career games, which ranks for 15th-best among active players in the point-per-game statistic according to hockey-reference.com. What Iginla has failed to do is get his name etched on Lord Stanley's Cup.
This is where the Red Wings can become viable suitors for this future Hall of Famer. The Red Wings have a plethora of quality scoring talent in their farm system that would attract Flames' GM Jay Feaster.
Not to mention that Iginla would bring with him a clear message and leadership quality to the locker room during the season. That is something wrong that any team can never have enough of.
It's one thing to trade for a future Norris Trophy caliber defenseman. It's another to complete that deal with the team many consider their biggest rival of recent memory.
The Red Wings would send shock waves to both parties if they were able to land Kris Letang.
Letang, a native of Montreal, was on pace for a career year in points in 2011-2012. In only 51 games, he had 42 points (via nhl.com). He possesses a very strong shot and timely passing. But Letang's best quality is his tenacity.
Kris was injured during a game against the Canadiens on Nov. 26. He left the game with 3:16 left to play only to return in OT and give his Pens a W. Watch the video attached here to see what I mean.
It's never a bad thing to have a player who lays it all there for his team any given night.
David Backes does it all.
That's probably the best way to describe this American-born Captain.
When the Blues made a late season surge to win the Central Division and even a deep playoff run, they rallied behind their captain.
He has been in many pressure situations in his young career. And the Red Wings, who are in need of a goal scorer, could try and swindle a Blues' front office scrambling to find stability.
Yes, the Red Wings have an incredibly consistent goalie in Jimmy Howard right now.
I get that he has had three consecutive 35-plus win seasons and was nominated for the Calder Trophy. He also has a chance to make the 2014 U.S. Olympic Roster with all that goaltending depth available to them.
Yet, Cory Schneider has never been given the opportunity to become a full-time starter. He was given a small sample size last year when goalie Roberto Luongo struggled, but then lost his job when Lu was back to normal.
It would take a lot, however, for the Red Wings to acquire this goalie. With an already capable backstop in Howard the team isn't in a big need. But if Schneider ever became available, expect the Red Wings to have finally solved their goaltending issues.
That convinced their GM Ray Shero to make a trade for the budding superstar.
Neal is an offensive machine. He was seventh in the League in points with 81 last season. He also led the NHL in power-play goals with 18. And he also fired 329 shots towards opposing goalies last season, which ranks second best in the League. (via nhl.com).
At only age 25, Neal has shown he can become a primary goal scorer. While the Red Wings have a multitude of those right now, they could always use one or two more to stock up their offensive power.
A young star with a great game and also a reasonable contract hit ($5 million) would be enough for the Red Wings to go all-in for James Neal.
Describing P.K. Subban in one word is a challenge for even the most devout of hockey fans.
Every night, Subban brings with him a tool belt with intangibles that many others his age fail to do.
He can go for the big hit and then contribute to the breakout. He is the consummate power play leader. He also has shown some leadership on the ice. Those are intangibles that make a leader out of Subban, who is the eldest of three Subban brothers that play hockey.
Bringing in a high energy player who exhibits all the intangibles is something the Red Wings desperately need in the back end. Subban is also 23 years old and has yet to truly hit his prime.
He reminds a lot of a Chris Pronger. And as much as Detroit fans hate Pronger, they would love this guy on their hockey team.
Montreal sees him as a big piece going forward. But with young forwards like Tomas Tatar, Calle Jarnkrok, Xavier Ouellet and many more, the Habs could stockpile the offense.
With Subban still trying to ink a new deal with his team, Detroit should try and compile a blockbuster to give them the replacement for Nick Lidstrom.