The Detroit Red Wings had some pieces in place in the 1990s, but it wasn't til a few great acquisitions solidified their defense and bolstered their third and fourth forward lines.
The Red Wings were solid as a team; with the drafting of forwards Steve Yzerman and Sergei Federov, and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, they were well on their way to success.
But the Red Wings needed more than just those three individuals to win a Stanley Cup.
This article is part of my three part series that examines (in chronological order) the best roster moves under the tenure of owner Mike Ilitch that helped Detroit attain the Stanley Cup, while building a dynasty in the process.
Chris Osgood was drafted 54th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1991 NHL draft.
He did not see significant playing time until the 1993-94 season when he posted a 23-8-5 record in 41 games played.
Osgood experienced a bunch of personal playoff failures before being a part of the 1997 Stanley Cup winning Detroit Red Wings.
That season he played backup goalie to Mike Vernon who won the Conn Smythe trophy.
Vernon was then traded to the Sharks, and Osgood became Detroit's starting goaltender the next season.
He led Detroit back to the Stanley Cup as the Red Wings repeated as Stanley Cup champions.
Osgood finished with three Stanley Cups, all with Detroit. He was a huge reason why Detroit was so successful in the playoffs as he finished with a career playoff GAA of 2.09.
Osgood also ranks 10th all-time in NHL wins with 401.
The best single dollar that any team in NHL history has ever spent is Kris Draper.
The Detroit Red Wings acquired Kris Draper for future considerations from the Winnipeg Jets in 1993.
But once called up, before Draper could play, Detroit had to complete their side of the deal as well.
Draper recalls that "Winnipeg just wanted to make it a financial transaction and told the Red Wings to just give them a dollar and I could play. That was the start of it for me."
Draper might be the best value-per-dollar acquisition in the history of the NHL.
His numbers with Detroit include 361 points in 1,137 games played.
He is one of the premiere defensive forwards in the past fifteen years and he can point to his 2004 Selke Trophy as best two-way forward in the game to back up that claim.
Draper was great in the faceoff circle and his career faceoff percentages were anywhere in the 55-60 range depending on the season.
Tomas Holmstrom was never the best skater or shooter in the world.
But this guy can annoy the heck out of goalies.
Red Wings fans have come to expect great things out of later round draft picks, but a 10th round pick?
Holmstrom was taken in the 1994 draft, and really wasn't a factor til the 1997-98 season.
Although he made his rookie debut in 1996-97, he was really just along for the ride, putting up nine points in 47 games.
The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup that season, and Holmstrom helped them repeat the next season with 19 points in 22 games.
Holmstrom has perfected the art of standing in front of goalies and tipping the puck in the net, and any goalie will tell you that there is no hockey player that has a more well known backside than Tomas Holmstrom.
Holmstrom has 233 goals in his 961 games played, and 113 of those are on the power play.
It wouldn't surprise me at all if over 80 percent of his goals were from within five feet or less from the net because that is Holmstrom's "office."
School is in session, with Professor Larionov.
Alright, maybe not really in school. But Detroit's trade to bring "The Professor," Igor Larionov to Detroit was one of their better ones they have ever made.
Larionov paid immediate dividends for Detroit after he was traded to them in October of 1995 as he put up 71 points in 69 games.
The Red Wings fell short that year in the playoffs, but Larionov continued to dominate with 54 and 47 points over the next two seasons as Detroit won back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Larionov was part of "The Russian Five" line that featured Fetisov, Larionov, Kozlov, Federov and Konstantinov.
That line paid many great dividends to Detroit until it was partially broken up when Konstantinov was paralyzed in a car accident after the 1997 Stanley Cup victory.
Larionov was on three Stanley Cup squads with Detroit, and he became a legend for scoring in triple overtime against Carolina in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002.
He was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2008.
Larionov only put up 644 points in his Hall of Fame career, not an overly eye-popping number.
But he did not come into the league until he was 29 years old, and played in the NHL until he was 44.
Larry Murphy was traded to the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline in 1997 for future considerations.
After being booed almost every time he touched the puck in Toronto, Murphy was traded to Detroit.
In exchange, the "future considerations" that Detroit gave to Toronto was paying some of Murphy's salary, which at the time was one of the highest in the League.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Murphy was the only player in the NHL in the 1990s to play on two different teams and have each of those teams win back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions.
Those teams being the 1991 and 1992 Penguins and 1997 and 1998 Red Wings.
To those Toronto fans out there that hate the fact that I bring up this trade, I have only the following to say: "one man's trash is another man's treasure."
Now, I wouldn't go out and call Larry Murphy "trash"; the guy had over 1,200 points in over 1,600 games played.
But Maple Leafs fans can feel free to disagree.
They might run into problems calling Murphy a terrible player when they look at the four Stanley Cup rings he acquired in eight years and realize that it is infinitely more than Toronto has as a franchise since 1967.
Kirk Maltby was acquired from Edmonton at the 1996 trade deadline for defenseman Dan McGillis.
Maltby was not known for being a great scoring threat, but his work on the penalty kill, his ability to fore check, and his work in his own zone on the Grind Line made him an invaluable player to Detroit.
Maltby also could antagonize opposing players, taking them out of the game mentally.
That's it for now, but if you missed part one, it is here.
Continue reading part three of this series here.
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