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All-Stars not immune to change

Monday, 01.28.2008 / 10:00 AM / 2008 NHL All-Star Game

By Larry Wigge - Columnist

In today's day and age, it is rare to see a veteran player like Daniel Alfredsson who has spent his entire NHL career with just one franchise.

Once upon a time, NHL All-Stars spent their entire careers on the same team.

 But there are definitely two ends of the spectrum in today’s world of free agency in hockey and rampant trading. And both are in plane sight at NHL All-Star Weekend.

First, you have the longevity and loyalty that has made the game so great ... then you have the deals.

Actually, you might be surprised to learn that 14 of the 65 players that were selected to or have been replaced at this All-Star Game have been in the NHL for at least five seasons and were drafted and remain with the same team today.

By longevity, there include;

* Nicklas Lidstrom -- In his 16th season with Detroit.

* Martin Brodeur -- In his 15th season with New Jersey.

* Daniel Alfredsson -- In his 12th season with Ottawa.

* Tomas Kaberle and Vinny Lecavalier -- In their ninth seasons with Toronto and Tampa Bay respectively.

* Evgeni Nabokov and Brian Campbell -- In their eighth seasons with San Jose and Buffalo respectively.

* Andrei Markov, Shawn Horcoff, Henrik Sedin and Marian Gaborik -- In their seventh seasons with Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver and Minnesota respectively.

* Pavel Datsyuk, Rick DiPietro and Ilya Kovalchuk -- In their sixth seasons with Detroit, New York Islanders and Atlanta respectively.

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Then, we have the trades, with some coming at the most unbelievable times:

* Like on the day before the 1990 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh, when Bernie Nicholls was dealt from Los Angeles to the New York Rangers for Tomas Sandstrom but still represented the Kings and the Campbell Conference in the game.

* The same thing happened three days before the 2002 All-Star Game when host Florida dealt Sandis Ozolinsh to Anaheim in a deal for Matt Cullen. Ozolinsh represented the Panthers and Eastern Conference in the game.

So, we have learned that players have been dealt at the drop of a hat -- yes, even All-Stars.

Late last June, for instance. Then-Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun was with his family in Turkey visiting friends when he found out he’d been traded to the Florida Panthers for a second-round pick in 2007 and first- and second-round picks in 2008.

"At first I thought it was a joke,” Vokoun said. "It was past midnight. My wife wakes me up. When I saw the message was from Martin Erat, I told her to go back to sleep, because Marty’s a great practical joker.

"Then, about an hour later my agent tracked me down and he told me he was at the draft and I had just been traded. He passed the phone over to (Predators GM) David Poile and then he passed the phone over to (Panthers GM) Jacques Martin, who welcomed me to the Panthers."

Some say you only get bad news when the phone rings late at night, but Vokoun seems to have made Florida home pretty quickly considering he’s played well enough to make it to this year’s All-Star Game.


Kimmo Timonen was also dealt from Nashville after last season and is here in Atlanta at the All-Star Game as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. Both were victims of a sell-off by the Predators while the team was in the process of being sold and Poile wanted to reduce the payroll to help with the sale.

Scott Gomez wasn’t traded last summer, but he is here representing the New York Rangers, not the New Jersey Devils, whom he spent his first seven NHL seasons. He signed with the Rangers as a free agent last summer.


More trade info. All-Stars in this year’s All-Star Game traded with one another/and essentially for one another.

Remember when the New York Islanders traded Roberto Luongo to Florida on draft day 2000 with Olli Jokinen for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha? The reason the Isles made the trade is because then-GM Mike Milbury had just drafted Rick DiPietro, who is here today.

Zdeno Chara was traded on Draft Day 2001 from the Islanders to Ottawa with Bill Muckalt and the second pick in that draft for Alexei Yashin.

That pick turned out to be Jason Spezza.

Quote of the Day

He's been one of our top players all year. Tonight he was by far our best player. There wasn't anybody in the same universe as him.

— Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz on goalie Braden Holtby, who made 33 saves to shut out the Edmonton Oilers 1-0
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