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What Might Have Been: Gretzky to Detroit?


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#1 kipwinger

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:03 AM

Jesus, can you imagine?

 

"I tried to reach [Detroit Red Wings owner] Mike Ilitch, because I knew Wayne would have loved to go to Detroit," Pocklington said. "But it was basically done so quickly, and that was it. There was never a bidding war. There probably should have been, looking back."

 

Interesting read to say the least.

 

http://www.nhl.com/i...s.htm?id=679887


GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#2 kipwinger

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:15 AM

This gets better.  The Kings lost their first rounders in 89, 91, and 93. 

 

Detroit's first rounders in 89, 91, 93?  Mike Sillinger, Martin Lapointe, Anders Eriksson.

 

Notable Detroit draft picks in 89, 91, and 93 who came AFTER the first round?  Lidstrom, Fedorov, Konstantinov, and Osgood. 

 

We could have made the trade and still drafted the core of our dynasty teams.  Holy Hell. 


GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#3 Echolalia

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:19 AM

I vaguely remember reading/hearing that Gretzky was looking to come to Detroit, but his wife absolutely hated the idea of coming here, so she pretty much eliminated that possibility.  I might just be making this up, though, but if anyone else knows more about this, I'd love to hear the whole story.



#4 T.Low

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 11:09 AM

Who would have been the equivalent of the players LA had to part with?




"It opened up a whole new door for him [Gretzky] and his wife. It did great things for everybody," Pocklington said. "It did great things for the Gretzkys, it did great things for the NHL."



Great for the Gretsky's ? Would Wayne agree that growing up in LA was good for his daughter?

#5 rick zombo

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 11:26 AM

Who would have been the equivalent of the players LA had to part with?




"It opened up a whole new door for him [Gretzky] and his wife. It did great things for everybody," Pocklington said. "It did great things for the Gretzkys, it did great things for the NHL."



Great for the Gretsky's ? Would Wayne agree that growing up in LA was good for his daughter?

 

Joe Murphy would have been the Gelinas part of the deal maybe. Both guys were high 1st rounder in different draft years.

 

I don't see who we would have had in 87-88 that would have been Carson's equivalent (he had 55 goals in LA that year) except for Yzerman (who scored 50). Yzerman for Gretzky? When you look at it that way, it's less exciting isn't it?


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#6 T.Low

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 11:32 AM

I figure if they were able to hold on to Lucky Luc, Detroit should have been able to keep Yzerman. But that still doesn't answer the question...

#7 rick zombo

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 11:58 AM

I figure if they were able to hold on to Lucky Luc, Detroit should have been able to keep Yzerman. But that still doesn't answer the question...

 

That's because other than Yzerman, Detroit had no one who could score like Carson. Prople forget that prior to the trade and then during his first year in Edmonton, Carson had 55 and 49 goals respectively. His career may have ultimately tailed off, but Carson was a big deal when that trade was made.

 

After Yzerman, Gerard Galland was next with 35 goals.

 

If I had to guess, Detroit might have been able to trade Gallant/Klima + Joe Murphy + more cash than LA

 

Which is funny because Murphy and Klima eventually ended up going to Edmonton for Carson.


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#8 kipwinger

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 12:10 PM

 

 Yzerman for Gretzky? When you look at it that way, it's less exciting isn't it?

 

Don't get me wrong, I love Yzerman as much as the next guy.  But I don't even think twice about that trade.  You take the same teams as we had in 97, 98, and 2002 and swap Yzerman for Gretzky and we're WAY better. 


GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#9 Echolalia

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 12:17 PM

 
Don't get me wrong, I love Yzerman as much as the next guy.  But I don't even think twice about that trade.  You take the same teams as we had in 97, 98, and 2002 and swap Yzerman for Gretzky and we're WAY better. 

Gretzky retired before 2002, but the first two years, yes.

Actually thinking on it a bit more I don't know if we would be much better in 97 or 98. Bowman had Yzerman playing a solid two-way game, which is one of the big reasons those cups ended up in Detroit those years. Even playing defensively, Yzerman scored only 12 points less than him in 97, and 21 points less in 98 (although Yzerman also played seven fewer games). If we have Gretzky for those years instead of Yzerman, maybe Bowman can get him to play more of a two-way game, maybe not. If he does, I think his numbers would have ended up being much closer to Yzerman's, but I don't know if Gretzky would even succeed at the two-way style. I don't recall him being a strong back-checker, or all that solid in his own zone. I know that +/- is a shaky stat, but this guy was a minus player in seven of his last nine seasons. Despite consistently being among the lead leaders in points, those last nine seasons Gretzky was a combined -86.
As for whether I would make the trade looking back now, it's tough to say. I don't think we would have won a cup in the early 90s even with Gretzky putting up 160 points simply because the Wings weren't built to win a cup until a few years later. After 96 or so, I think I would take a defensively responsible Yzerman and 10-20 less points than Gretzky. Especially because Yzerman lead us to a third cup in 2002, a couple years after Gretzky retired.

Edited by Echolalia, 11 August 2014 - 12:41 PM.


#10 kipwinger

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 12:30 PM

Gretzky retired before 2002, but the first two years, yes.

 

I stand by my original statement.  Gretzky retired in 1999 at the age of 38 with 62 points.  In 2002 Yzerman was 37 and put up 48 pts. 

 

So the question is, do I believe a 41 year old Gretzky (the age he would have been in 2002) could put up more than 48 points on that team? 

 

Yes, yes I do. 

 

Despite his retirement, I'd still rather have had Gretzky in 2002 than Yzerman. 


GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#11 LeftWinger

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 12:56 PM

it most definitely would have cost us Yzerman, but I would've been ok with that. Fedorov was the key to our Cups. Add to that Greztky? Also remember that in 1989, the Wings wanted to draft Bure but weren't allowed to due to a paperwork messup. By time Bure was eligible to be drafted the next round Vancouver stole him just ahead of us. I love Yzerman, but imagine Gretzky, Fedorov & Bure on that team. Maybe the makeup of the dynasty would have gone a little different (ie you know Gretz would have gotten McSorley here along with Tikkanen and Kurri eventually) which probably would have meant no trade of Coffey for Shanny...the possibilities for changes are endless. Still would've been a super dynamic team.

 

just remember, Gretzky got his way and even Feds could've been dealt for someone Gretzky wanted.


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#12 kipwinger

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 01:40 PM

Gretzky retired before 2002, but the first two years, yes.

Actually thinking on it a bit more I don't know if we would be much better in 97 or 98. Bowman had Yzerman playing a solid two-way game, which is one of the big reasons those cups ended up in Detroit those years. Even playing defensively, Yzerman scored only 12 points less than him in 97, and 21 points less in 98 (although Yzerman also played seven fewer games). If we have Gretzky for those years instead of Yzerman, maybe Bowman can get him to play more of a two-way game, maybe not. If he does, I think his numbers would have ended up being much closer to Yzerman's, but I don't know if Gretzky would even succeed at the two-way style. I don't recall him being a strong back-checker, or all that solid in his own zone. I know that +/- is a shaky stat, but this guy was a minus player in seven of his last nine seasons. Despite consistently being among the lead leaders in points, those last nine seasons Gretzky was a combined -86.
As for whether I would make the trade looking back now, it's tough to say. I don't think we would have won a cup in the early 90s even with Gretzky putting up 160 points simply because the Wings weren't built to win a cup until a few years later. After 96 or so, I think I would take a defensively responsible Yzerman and 10-20 less points than Gretzky. Especially because Yzerman lead us to a third cup in 2002, a couple years after Gretzky retired.

 

I've always felt Gretzky was underrated defensively, but that's neither here nor there. 

 

Not that Gretzky had terrible linemates in NY in 97 or 98, but he'd have had better linemates here.  Plus he'd have had a WAY better defense to get the puck up to him.  And our powerplay was super good too. 

 

This is all purely speculation, but I think on those Detroit teams he puts up considerably more points than he did with NYR. 

 

Edit:  I had previously said that our PP was better than NYR.  I can't find stats for 1997, but in 1998 the Rangers had a better PP than us, so I stand corrected.  I still stand behind my point though.  We had more finishers all around and that would have increased his totals significantly given his passing. 


Edited by kipwinger, 11 August 2014 - 01:44 PM.

GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#13 joshy207

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 02:50 PM

This was the summer after the "Goose Loonies" incident in Edmonton, which--according to a story about it I read a few months ago--crushed Demers.  He felt betrayed by a handful of his players and had wanted to bench the guys who were out drinking past curfew, but didn't want to handicap the rest of the team.  

Looking back at that roster and putting together a similar or slightly-better package, here's what I can come up with: (Please note, I have no idea who was a free agent that summer!)

 

To Detroit:

-C Wayne Gretzky

-D/W Marty McSorley

-C Mike Krushelnyski

 

Same package as offered to Los Angeles.

 

To Edmonton:

-C Adam Oates

-F Petr Klima

-1st round picks in '89, '91, '93

-$20M cash

 

Comparable deal to LA's, but Detroit gives Edmonton some more experienced players in Oates and Klima.

Oates really began to blossom in 1987-88, scoring 14-40--54 in 63 games.  Of course, Oates didn't score goals like Carson did, but "Oates and Kurri" would probably have been just as good--if not better--than "Hull and Oates".  Or at least it would have been a spicy breakfast!

Klima, while very talented, was a discipline problem (and supposedly the reason the Wings passed on Jagr in 1990) and was one of the ringleaders of the curfew-breaking crew.

I upped the cash to $20 to compensate Edmonton for taking on 2 older, more expensive players than Carson and Gelinas, who were 18 and 20 (and cheap) at the time of the trade.

 

Impact:

Los Angeles continues to toil in the lower half of the Smythe Division with Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Edmonton does not experience the fall-off in '88-'89 that they did after trading with LA.  With a top 8 forward group of Kurri, Oates, Messier, Tikkanen, Simpson, Klima, Anderson, and MacTavish, they can roll out 2 high-scoring lines and a very solid 3rd line.  Rather than losing to Gretzky's Kings in the first round, they contend with Calgary for the Smythe championship, possibly Detroit for the Campbell championship, and possibly win another Stanley Cup.  Over the next several seasons, this trade would have made Edmonton stronger than the LA trade did.

Detroit ends up with 2 of the top 3 centers in the league for '88-'89, along with Gallant, MacLean, Krushelnyski, Barr, and Burr.  In real life, Yzerman had his career-best year playing mostly with Gallant and MacLean this season.  Having Gretzky on his team--and maybe his line--could have made that even better.  McSorley would have been a great third "Bruise Brother", especially considering Probert missed most of this season and didn't produce much when he did play.  It sure would have been an intimidating lineup to play against!  The Wings did finish first in the Norris that year, but with 80 points in 80 games, wouldn't have finished higher than 4th in any other division and were upset in the first round by a brutal Chicago team, who wouldn't have even come close to making the playoffs in any other division.  With Gretzky, Krushelnyski, and McSorley, the Wings fare better in the regular season and at least get by Chicago and St Louis before bowing out to Edmonton or Calgary in the Campbell final.  Over the next several seasons, the Wings are stronger with this trade than without, for several reasons.  1, Gretzky (duh).  2, it saves them from making a couple bad trades in the upcoming seasons--the Oates/MacLean for Federko/McKegney DEBACLE, and the Klima/Murphy/Graves/Sharples for Carson/McClelland deal.  Gretzky may have wanted to go to LA after a few years here, but the Wings would still have been able to get a nice package for him.  Graves might have been a long-time Wing, not Ranger.

 

Bottom line, if they were able to pull off this trade, I think the Wings would have ended up winning a Cup sooner than '97... maybe they would have gotten one or two in the '90-'93 window.


Edited by joshy207, 11 August 2014 - 02:53 PM.


#14 krsmith17

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 04:27 PM

I'm actually really surprised about the people that would have been willing to trade Yzerman for Gretzky. I wouldn't have even considered trading them straight up, let alone the other pieces that would have had to be involved to get that deal done. Yzerman was my favorite player back then and the sole reason I am a Red Wings fan today. To be quite honest, if Yzerman would have been traded back then, I would probably be an Oilers fan today... Scary... :shocking:

 

I'm definitely glad that Holland and Jimmy D are much more loyal to this team and players than most fans would be...

 

How many people would trade Zetterberg and pieces to Pittsburgh for Crosby? I know there are definitely quite a few that would but I definitely would not. Hank is our captain and I wouldn't want to lose him, even if it meant getting the best player in the world for him. Even knowing that Zetterberg may only have another 5 solid years left and Crosby has another 15, I still wouldn't do it. Crazy? Probably, but that's my opinion...



#15 GoalieManPat

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 04:46 PM

 

I stand by my original statement.  Gretzky retired in 1999 at the age of 38 with 62 points.  In 2002 Yzerman was 37 and put up 48 pts. 

 

So the question is, do I believe a 41 year old Gretzky (the age he would have been in 2002) could put up more than 48 points on that team? 

 

Yes, yes I do. 

 

Despite his retirement, I'd still rather have had Gretzky in 2002 than Yzerman. 

 

Maybe but a 41 year old Gretzky would in no way be as effective as Yzerman was defensively. Gretzky may have matched him in points but the Wings would have given up quite a few more. 

 

it most definitely would have cost us Yzerman, but I would've been ok with that. Fedorov was the key to our Cups

 

Wow that comment is baffling. 97 sure Feds was better. 98 Yzerman wins Conn Smythe. 02 Yzerman. Your forgetting one major thing and that was Stevie Y's leadership. Feds was not even close to the leader that Stevie was. Dont forget the Wings were down 0-2 going into Vancouver in the first round before Yzerman rallied the troops. You dont have Yzerman on the team and theres a good chance that hall of fame Wings team is out in the 1st round.



#16 Echolalia

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 05:37 PM

I'm actually really surprised about the people that would have been willing to trade Yzerman for Gretzky. I wouldn't have even considered trading them straight up, let alone the other pieces that would have had to be involved to get that deal done. Yzerman was my favorite player back then and the sole reason I am a Red Wings fan today. To be quite honest, if Yzerman would have been traded back then, I would probably be an Oilers fan today... Scary... :shocking:
 
I'm definitely glad that Holland and Jimmy D are much more loyal to this team and players than most fans would be...
 
How many people would trade Zetterberg and pieces to Pittsburgh for Crosby? I know there are definitely quite a few that would but I definitely would not. Hank is our captain and I wouldn't want to lose him, even if it meant getting the best player in the world for him. Even knowing that Zetterberg may only have another 5 solid years left and Crosby has another 15, I still wouldn't do it. Crazy? Probably, but that's my opinion...

Definitely crazy

#17 BottleOfSmoke

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 06:30 PM

100 times out of a 100 I would decline to trade Stevie. Even for The Great One. Stevie was our heart and soul, and brought so much more to this team than just points or defensive capabilities. He was my hero growing up, and while I can't say I wouldn't have still been a Wings fan, boy those years would have felt different for me.

If I had to guess, Detroit might have been able to trade Gallant/Klima + Joe Murphy + more cash than LA.


Would make this trade 100/100.

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#18 kipwinger

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 07:50 PM

Saying you wouldn't trade Yzerman for Gretzky is a lot like saying you wouldn't trade Ray Bourque for Bobby Orr (yes, I know, you wouldn't need to.  But you get my point).  Sure he's a good player, but you're getting the best player in the history of the game (at his position) while he's still in his prime.  Of course you make that trade. 


Edited by kipwinger, 11 August 2014 - 08:03 PM.

GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#19 BottleOfSmoke

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 07:53 PM

Saying you wouldn't trade Yzerman for Gretzky is a lot like saying you wouldn't trade Ray Bourque for Bobby Orr.  Sure he's a good player, but you're getting the best player in the history of the game (at his position) while he's still in his prime.  Of course you make that trade. 


Nope.

But that's why I'm not a GM :lol:

Well that and a plethora of other reasons, I suppose...

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#20 kipwinger

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 08:01 PM

Nope.

But that's why I'm not a GM :lol:

Well that and a plethora of other reasons, I suppose...

 

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the nostalgia of Yzerman.  But you've also got to remember that when the Gretzky trade went down Steve Yzerman wasn't "The Captain" Stevie Y.  He was a fifth year one dimensional player who many thought couldn't get the team over the hump.  The things you remember him for so fondly wouldn't even happen for another few years.  All that leadership and two way selflessness?  Wasn't even a thought at the time of that trade. 


Edited by kipwinger, 11 August 2014 - 08:01 PM.

GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 






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