When Martin St. Louis was traded to the New York Rangers, another member of what is quickly becoming a bit of a rare breed in the National Hockey League had left. The breed of one franchise players.
That elusive hunt for that Stanley Cup, franchises becoming younger, or just not finding a line to play on anymore, is leading to more and more players playing for a second franchise, in order to find successes in the twilight of their careers.
Daniel Alfredsson was an Ottawa Senator since the 1995-96 season. The role model for playing for one franchise your entire career. Then in the off-season of 2013.. Alfie did the unthinkable. He left the Senators and joined the Red Wings. What was the reason you ask? Why would he leave the club he had played for his entire career? One shot at the Stanley Cup. The same reason long-time Ray Bourque left the Boston Bruins to join the Colorado Avalanche. Sure, Bourque got his Cup, but Alfredsson unfortunately will not have the same achievement, as the Red Wings were eliminated in the playoffs by Bourque’s old team, the Boston Bruins.
Vincent Lecavalier was worshipped in Tampa. He has a children’s hospital named after him, but now he finds his playing time in Philadelphia after his contract was bought out by the Lightning. Tim Thomas left the Boston Bruins to take a year off, was traded to the New York Islanders during that year, didn’t play a game for the franchise, and has since had stints in Florida and currently, Dallas.
Speaking of Dallas, Mike Modano was the definition of a franchise player. He was drafted first overall by the Minnesota North Stars, and when they relocated to Dallas, became it’s star player, and has become the first player in Dallas Stars history to have his number nine jersey retired to the rafters. But even he, wasn’t a one franchise player. Modano played his final season in the red and white of Detroit.
Many players have been one franchise players however. Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom both spent twenty years plus, and several Stanley Cup winning seasons in Detroit. Joe Sakic was a one franchise player, even though technically he played for two, as the Quebec Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche. Sakic is still involved with the franchise, as he is currently the Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations.
Martin Brodeur is still a one franchise player at the New Jersey Devils, but it seems he may be playing elsewhere after this season. Shane Doan started his career at the Winnipeg Jets before they relocated to Phoenix and became the Coyotes. He could soon be apart of another name change, as Phoenix becomes the Arizona Coyotes from next season.
The one franchise player seems to be becoming more of a rarity than seasons past. Franchise players like Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews may have only played for one franchise now, but who knows where they’ll be when they hit the twilight of their careers. Will they, along with many others in the National Hockey League stay a one franchise player? Only time will tell.
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