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Abel to Yzerman

All-Time Wings Roster

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

So that left numerous Hall of Fame players who played with the Wings, but had much of their greater success elsewhere around the NHL, off this team.

Also, instead of being rigid with positions, the best 12 forwards and six defensemen, no matter wing or center, or left- or right defenseman, were picked among the all-time Wings’ best.

And, truly, there were some fine, fine Red Wings players left out, just showing the depth of talent that has played in the organization.


Kris Draper – Don’t underestimate the career this gritty forward had. Draper won a Selke Trophy (best defensive forward), won four Stanley Cups, played in 1,157 games (fifth in Wings history) and played one of the storied lines (Grind Line) in organization history.


Niklas Kronwall – Kronwall had a lengthy and memorable career, playing 15 seasons and 953 games while earning 432 points (third among defensemen). Kronwall was an unquestioned leader, and was a key part of the 2008 Stanley Cup team.

more players

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Man I always get sucked into these.

FORWARDS: Not terrible, Kulfan. I would subtract (for sure) Draper and (probably) Ogrodnick and insert Herbie Lewis and Larry Aurie.

Lindsay - Yzerman - Howe
Zetterberg - Fedorov - Datsyuk
Shanahan - Delvecchio - Aurie
Lewis - Abel - Ullman

Ogrodnick might be the hypothetical 13th forward, although there’s a couple others I might consider instead (most notably Dionne).

DEFENSE: Once again, the pre-WWII teams get no love from Kulfan. Ebbie Goodfellow, a hall of famer who played his entire career for Detroit AND won a Hart Trophy playing defense, is an egregious (but not unexpected) omission.

I would also somewhat controversially say that Coffey deserves a spot—even though he was only here three and a half years, he won a Norris and was generally considered a top-10 NHL defender throughout that timeframe. I’d bump Kronwall (who just didn’t peak high enough) and Chelios (who was an elite defender for maybe only two healthy seasons of his Red Wings career, compared to 3.5 for Coffey).

Lidstrom - Kelly
Goodfellow - Stewart
Coffey - Pronovost

My seventh would probably be either Bill Quackenbush or Reed Larson.

GOALIES: Sawchuk is obvious. The fact that Osgood deserves consideration for the backup role is less an endorsement of Osgood and more an acknowledgment that the Red Wings have had historically poor goaltending talent for a franchise with such a long history.

A part of me wants to pick Glenn Hall, because even in just two full seasons as Detroit’s starter he was undisputedly elite, something Osgood never ever was. I think I’m going to go with Harry Lumley though.  Hall of Famer, seven years in Detroit, fourth in career games played by a Detroit goalie. Depends on how you weight peak vs. longevity.


Osgood the spare. Can’t give it to Hall even though I want to. 148 games in a Detroit uni isn’t enough.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/14/20 at 12:20 PM ET


Sven, your list is better.

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/14/20 at 03:43 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Good picks Sven. I would add Roger Crozier. He was a joy to watch. cheese

Posted by bigfrog on 05/14/20 at 10:30 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/14/20 at 12:20 PM ET

Dude, what is your problem?  Y’all still living in my head, WTH???  Holy hell, could you possibly pick a better roster than that?

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 05/17/20 at 04:03 PM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com