In an excellent piece by Pierre Lebrun on our own Jimmy D (who, by the way, was voted into the HOF this weekend), he mentions what he thinks was the best trade ever for the Red Wings:
But his best one was probably acquiring Brendan Shanahan from Hartford in October 1996.
"We were starting to look like a Stanley Cup team," he said. "Keith Primeau wanted out of Detroit badly so made quite a big trade. We traded Primeau, Paul Coffey and a first-round pick [Nikos Tselios] for Brendan Shanahan [and Brian Glynn]. And that turned out maybe to be as good as a deal as we ever made."
I certainly can't think of any others that worked out as well for the Wings as this beaut. I also never knew that Primeau wanted out of Detroit; all I can remember was a short holdout, but I have no recollection of why. According to legendsofhockey.net:
But Primeau stuck with the program, and gradually established himself as a solid, third-line centreman. He was quite happy with his situation until the Wings brought in Igor Larionov, a move that effectively bumped Primeau farther down the centremen's pecking order. For him, the move was unacceptable. He became a holdout until the club traded him to the Hartford Whalers in 1996.
Fair enough, certainly worked out well enough for us.
Other awesome point of note from Devellano:
"One of the guys that I always tried to make a pitch for late in his career, I tried three or four times, was to acquire Raymond Bourque," Devellano said Monday morning during his Hockey Hall of Fame media availability.
What he didn't want to mention, but which is pretty common knowledge elsewhere, is that Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and Red Wings owner Mike Illitch had quite the feud running for a while, which boiled over in a heated argument at a Board of Governors meeting. Trade Bourque to Detroit? Over Jacobs' dead body.
So what'd they do? They sent Bourque to our arch rival, Colorado. So basically, the Wings were directly responsible for both #77 and #33 heading to the Avs. You can thank us later Colorado.