The 2000’s were easily one of the best times for the Red Wings. Two Stanley Cups and not a year that they didn’t miss the playoffs. Wings fans, we saw some great players in those years, but there’s only room for 10 on this list, so here goes nothing.
10. Darren McCarty
Darren McCarty isn’t your typical run of the mill player. He was an enforce, but he was a pretty damn good one. Appearing in 659 games with the Red Wings over his career, D-Mac was the goon of the team. He was even one of the Grind Line guys, with Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby. I love McCarty, which may or may not have contributed to his inclusion on the list, you be the judge.
9. Kris Draper
Draper, like McCarty, was part of the Grind Line. Draper appeared in 1,137 games over his career in a Red Wings jersey, and was acquired in a trade. The Wings gave up a lot to get him in 1993, trading the Winnipeg Jets a whopping $1 for his services. $1 for one of the best players in team history, and helping win 4 cups. I think it’s fair to say Detroit edged out Winnipeg in terms of who won that trade.
8. Johan Franzen
Franzen was one of the better goalscorers Detroit has seen. Particularly in the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs, scoring 13 goals in 16 games. Franzen struggled to say healthy for much of his career though, and only ever played 80+ games once in his career. No matter, he was a significant contributor on offense when healthy.
7. Dominik Hasek
This spot was between Chris Osgood and Hasek, I put Hasek in the 7 spot because he played fewer games for the Wings. Hasek is easily on this list though, and could very well be higher had he played for the Wings more. In a Red Wings uniform, Hasek never allowed more than 2.2 goals per game.
6. Chris Osgood
As previously stated, this spot is kind of only going to Osgood because he played more games for the Wings, and had more of an impact during the decade. Osgood only allowed more than 3 goals per game in two seasons while with the Red Wings, and holds many goalie records for the team. He helped lead the Wings to two Stanley Cups while in goal.
5. Thomas Holmstrom
Thomas Holmstrom was the man that did the dirty work. He would screen the goalie nearly every time the Wings carried the puck into the offensive zone while he was on the ice. Being one of just a few Red Wings to ever reach the 1,000 game milestone with the team, he gets on this list as it is, but the fact that he was arguably the best at what he did, makes him that much better.
4. Pavel Datsyuk
I’m letting my personal bias effect me here. The Magic Man not making the top 3 is a crime, and frankly, I’m okay with that. He is one of the greatest Wings of all time, but with these three ahead of him, it’s kind of hard to argue that he should be above any of them. Pavel did great things with the Wings, and helped lead them to two Stanley Cup wins.
3. Henrik Zetterberg
I told you I let my personal bias get to me. Hank is my favorite Red Wing ever. He is one of the best 2-way forwards to play for the team, and arguably one of the best in the league during the decade. He’s a great shooter and can pass the puck pretty damn well. Unfortunately, he’s only helped lead the Wings to one Stanley Cup.
2. Steve Yzerman
Stevie Y’s legacy gets him on this list. He captained the team to a Stanley Cup win in 2001, but was in the latter stages of his career in the 2000’s. No matter, Yzerman would have definitely seen more game time, played better, and may have even won a cup or two more had he not gotten knee surgery.
1. Nicklas Lidstrom
What is there to say about the best defenseman in this generation. Lidstrom was solid offensively, and phenomenal defensively throughout his entire career, which was in its peak in the 2000’s. Lidstrom helped the Wings to two cups in the decade, and four in his career. He helped bring the Wings to the top, and remain there for a long time.
I know I meant for this list to be for the 2000’s, but I referenced some things outside the decade. It’s hard not to when talking about all of these players, as all of them played in at least part of 2 decades with the Wings, with the only exception being Dominik Hasek. No matter, I still believe that these are the best players of the decade for the Wings.