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Detroit Red Wings

The Five: Hall Of Famers Who Were Briefly Red Wings



Borje Salming, former Detroit Red Wings

The list of legendary players who’ve donned the Winged Wheel jersey of the Detroit Red Wings reads like a who’s who of NHL superstardom. Gordie Howe. Ted Lindsay. Terry Sawchuk. Steve Yzerman. Red Kelly. Nicklas Lidstrom.

You could go on all day long and not run shy of names.

Some of those greats only skated briefly in Detroit. Though their mark on the game is long and storied, their time as a Red Wing was short.

Doug Harvey (1966-67)

Bobby Orr owns a record eight Norris Trophies. Both of the defensemen behind him with seven Norris wins skated for the Red Wings. Nicklas Lidstrom skated in 1,564 games as a Red Wing. Doug Harvey played two games for Detroit.

Struggling in the standings during the 1966-67 and with injuries on defense, Red Wings coach-GM Sid Abel opted to recall seven-time Norris winner Harvey, 42, from Detroit’s AHL farm club, the Pittsburgh Hornets.

The idea was to give the aging veteran a four-game trial while Bert Marshall recovered from a collapsed lung. Harvey hadn’t played an NHL game since 1964 and the effect of the absence showed. He’d only played one game since joining Pittsburgh and was out of shape. After just two games, the Wings returned the 11-time NHL All-Star to the Hornets.

Andy Bathgate (1965-67)

Before arriving in Detroit, Bathgate was a Hart Trophy winner and a four-time NHL All-Star. He twice led the league in assists and once in points but lost the Art Ross Trophy tiebreaker to Bobby Hull, who’d scored more goals.

Bathgate’s first Detroit campaign was a positive one. He helped the Wings reach the Stanley Cup final and led playoff scorers with six goals. But when he talied just eight times the following season, Detroit exposed Bathgate in the NHL expansion draft and he was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Borje Salming (1989-90)

The 1989-90 season turned out to be a bad year all around for the Wings to acquire other team’s aging stars. Both Salming, a six-time NHL All-Star defenseman during 16 seasons with the Leafs, and long-time St. Louis Blues center Bernie Federko were one-season Red Wings in 1989-90.

Though Salming posted a solid plus-20 rating for Detroit, his offensive output of 19 points was the lowest of the Swede’s NHL career. He returned home to play in Sweden. Salming would come back to North American in 1991, playing for Sweden in the Canada Cup. He was paired with a young defenseman about to make his NHL debut with the Wings that season – Lidstrom.

John Bucyk (1955-57)

Wings GM Jack Adams was determined to rectify a mistake he’d made shortly following Detroit’s 1954-55 Staney Cup. His regretted his trading of goaltender Terry Sawchuk to the Boston Bruins.

To get Sawchuk back, Adams paid a steep price. He shipped young left-winger John Bucyk to the Bruins. Teamed with Bronco Horvath and Vic Stasiuk, Boston’s Uke Line was among the NHL’s most productive forward units. In 1970-71 at the age of 35, Bucyk produced a 51-goal season. He remains the oldest NHL player to record a 50-goal campaign.

Darryl Sittler (1984-85)

Sittler was the leader of the Maple Leafs for many seasons. He served as Toronto’s team captain, was a two-time 100-point scorer and still holds the NHL single-game record of 10 points.

In his one season as a Red Wing, Sittler scored just 11 goals – his lowest output since a 10-goal campaign as a rookie in Toronto in 1970-71.