As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Detroit Red Wings franchise has a storied history. It’s one that they love to honour. It’s one that the team loves to recognize by sharing it with the fans and the city.
On this day – October 24 – the Wings were part of two trades that added two eventual Stanley Cup winners to their team 40 years apart. The first took place in 1955, while the second trade involved the San Jose Sharks and happened in 1995.
1955: Red Wings re-acquire Dmytro ‘Metro’ Prystai
From 1950-1955, Prystai played centre for the Detroit Red Wings. After played parts of the 1954-55 and 1955-56 season with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Red Wings reacquired the Yorkton, Saskatchewan native in a trade with the Hawks that saw left winger Ed Sandford go the other way.
Prystai played parts of three more seasons with the Red Wings – from 1955 to 1958 before joining the Edmonton Flyers of the WHL and retiring as a Yorkton Terrier of the SSHL in 1970. Prystai won three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings and recorded 214 points over 431 games played with the red and white. He also managed 26 points during the playoffs over 43 games as a member of the Red Wings.
Prystai was a three time NHL all-star while only playing 12 seasons in the league. In junior he led the Moose Jaw Canucks to three straight provincial championships which included a trip to the Memorial Cup finals between 1944 and 1947.
For a full bio, check out the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Legends of Hockey.
1995: Red Wings acquire Larionov
It was forty years after the Prystai trade that the Red Wings would make another move that would bring over a player who was widely viewed as one of Russia’s top players at the time – Igor Larionov. Larionov was acquired by the Wings in a move that saw Ray Sheppard – who was coming off a 30-goal season – sent to the San Jose Sharks.
Larionov went on to play five seasons for the Red Wings from 1995 to 2000. He then started the 2000-2001 season with the Florida Panthers before being sent back to Detroit to play another three years until the end of the 2002-2003 season. He retired after playing 49 games for the New Jersey Devils in the 2003-2004 season at the age of 42.
While a member of the Wings, he won three Stanley Cups – in 1997, 1998, 2002 – and recorded 397 points over 539 games. He was also instrumental in Detroit’s playoff runs over his eight seasons with the team putting up 59 points in 105 games.
He was part of Detroit’s Russian movement with teammates such as former National Team player, Slava Fetisov, Sergei Fedorov, Vladimir Konstantinov, and Slava Kozlov. But what he should be most remembered for – not just as a Wing – is his role in paving a route for Russian players in the NHL. He certainly wasn’t the first, but was part of a movement that saw Russians make names for themselves in the North American league. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008.
For a full bio, check out the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Legends of Hockey
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Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.