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The Daily: Draper Was Best Dollar Red Wings Ever Spent; Bertuzzi Set to go to Open Market

Detroit got bang for the buck

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The Red Wings spent $1 to acquire center Kris Draper on June 30, 1993.

It figures to be a busy day today as Detroit Red Wings Steve Yzerman sets out in purusit of gold in the UFA market. Yet no matter how successful a performance he turns in, Yzerman won’t unearth a more dynamic bargain than Kris Draper.

It was 30 years ago on June 30, 1993 that Detroit owner Mike Ilitch was reaching into his wallet to grab a dollar bill. He gave that dollar – rumor has it that it was even a Canadian dollar – to the Winnipeg Jets in acquiring Draper’s contract.

Talk about bang for your buck. All Draper did for the Red Wings was win four Stanley Cups while centering the legendary Grind Line, play 1157 NHL games and win the Selke Trophy. He continues to make contributions today as the club’s director of amateur scouting.

And yes, he has fond memories of the day he was purchased at the dollar store by Detroit from the Jets, the club that selected Draper in the NHL amateur draft.

“I still have my Winnipeg Jets hat from when I got drafted,” Draper said.

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Red Wings Offseason

The hockey community is a tight-knit group and nowhere was that more in evidence than when speaking to the three players Detroit was selecting in the second round of the draft. Goaltender Trey Augustine and defenseman Brady Cleveland were merely teammates with the USNTDP U18 squad, they’re alos tight off the ice. “He’s one of my best friends on the team,” Augustine said. As pre-teens, defenseman Andrew Gibson and Augustine were on the same Junior Red Wings team at the famous Brick Tournament. Gibson’s greatest memory of that event? “How good Trey was in that (tournament),” he said.

Hockey Now Network

Vegas: How much salary cap space do the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights have left to spend on free agents?

Los Angeles: Sizing up was the order of the day for the Los Angeles Kings at the NHL entry draft.

San Jose: NHL scouts grade out the 2023 draft class of the San Jose Sharks.

Calgary: Assessing the performance of the Calgary Flames at the NHL draft table.

Colorado: How much time might Mikael Gulyayev need in the KHL before making the move to the Colorado Avalanche?

Nashville: The buyout of Matt Duchene is another step in the rebuild for the Nashville Predators.

Chicago: Is it fair for Chicago Blackhawks fans to be angry about the addition of veteran forward Corey Perry?

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Pittsburgh: The Pittsburgh Penguins are declining to present a qualifying offer to RFA forward Ryan Poehling.

Washington: GM Brian MacLellan is expecting that center Nicklas Backstrom will be in training camp with the Washington Capitals as he progresses in his recovery from hip surgery.

Islanders: Reviewing the performance of the New York Islanders at the 2023 NHL entry draft.

Philadelphia: Meet the 2023 draft class of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Boston: Tyler Bertuzzi will be entering the open market and the Boston Bruins may also be losing David Krejci, who is contemplating a return to play in the Czech League.

Buffalo: The Buffalo Sabres aren’t qualifying forward Tyson Jost, who will become an UFA.

Florida: Former Red Wings forward Givani Smith, and RFA, didn’t get a qualifying offer from the Florida Panthers and will be entering the UFA market.

Montreal: The Montreal Canadiens are tendering qualifying offers to six RFAs.