Owning the distinction of being part of the NHL’s Original Six and having almost 1,000 players don the winged wheel in the history of the organization, The Detroit Red Wings have one of the most storied franchise’s in the NHL. It’s easy to list some of the Red Wings greats, but do you remember these players?
Number 5- Marek Zidlicky
Marek Zidlicky enjoyed a successful career with the Predators, Wild, and Devils before a trade on March 15, 2015 brought him to Detroit from New Jersey. The Red Wings knew time was running out in their Stanley Cup window and wanted to add a defenseman at the trade deadline. Originally eyeing up Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, the deal fell through and the Wings settled for Zidlicky. He filled the right-handed powerplay role they were looking for. He played 21 regular season games, scoring three goals and 11 points and helped the Red Wings secure a playoff spot. Unfortunately, the Red Wings were eliminated in the first round by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Wings opted to not re-sign Zidlicky, who instead signed for one more season with the New York Islanders.
Number 4- David Legwand
Best known for his 15-year stint with the Nashville Predators, David Legwand was traded for the first time in his career on March 5, 2014, getting dealt to the Red Wings for Patrick Eaves and Calle Jarnkrok. Legwand suited up for the remaining 21 games the Red Wings had, earning the distinction of playing 83 regular season games. He played in all five of the Wings’ playoff games, going pointless, as Detroit got eliminated in the first round by the Boston Bruins. He was not re-signed in the summer, instead opting to sign with the Ottawa Senators for two years.
Number 3- Wendel Clark
Clark is remembered as a a long-time enforcer for the Toronto Maple Leafs throughout the 1990’s. When his second stint in Toronto came to an end in the summer of 1998, he signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 1998-99 season. At the trade deadline, he was traded to the Red Wings. Clark played in 12 games scoring six points, as well as five points in ten playoff games. In the summer of 1999, Clark signed with the Blackhawks, ending his short tenure in Detroit after only four months.
Number 2-Rick MacLeish
Rick MacLeish’s career was highlighted by two Stanley Cup wins with the Flyers in the mid-70’s. 13 years after his debut, he returned to the Flyers organization for the 1983-84 season. Even though he missed most of the season with injuries, he still managed to score 22 points in 29 games. On January 8, 1984 MacLeish was dealt to the Detroit Red Wings for future considerations. He played in 25 games registering 10 points, but only managed to suit up for one of the Red Wings’ four playoff games in 1984. After the season ended, MacLeish retired with 846 NHL games under his belt.
Number 1- Ulf Samuelsson
If you were a hockey fan during the 1980’s and 1990’s, Ulf Samuelsson was someone you probably loved to hate as he regularly racking up almost 200 penalty minutes a season. Late in his career he found himself with the New York Rangers from 1995 to 1999, when he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for a second and third round draft pick. Samuelsson played in only four regular season games, going pointless, and nine of the Red Wings playoff games in 1999 where he racked up three assists. At the 1999 expansion draft, the Wings traded Samuelsson to the Thrashers for future considerations. He would not play for Atlanta, instead opting to sign a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers where he played 49 more games before retiring.
Best known for his “late bloomer” status with the Minnesota Wild, Wes Walz bounced around the league quite a bit early in his career. Drafted by the Bruins 57th overall in 1989, he spent the first seven years of his career as a fringe-NHLer, suiting up for the Bruins, Flyers, and Flames organizations before signing with the Red Wings for the 1995-96 season. He scored 55 points in 38 games for the Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL during the season and was recalled by Detroit, though he only dressed for two games, failing to score a point. Walz was not re-signed by the Red Wings after the season and he would head to Europe to spend three years in Switzerland before he returned to North America with the Minnesota Wild.
Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo signed with the Red Wings before the start of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. When the season finally started, Colaiacovo was hurt just two games in with a shoulder injury that kept him out for 33 of the team’s 48 games. He dressed for six regular season games and nine playoff games, registering a single point in each. In the summer of 2013, the Red Wings used one of their two compliance buyouts on the final season of Colaiacovo’s contract, thus ending his Red Wings stint after just six games.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
Photo credit: mihockey.com