By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 22: July 1, 2001 – The Sabres trade Dominik Hasek to Detroit for Vyacheslav Kozlov, a first-round draft pick in 2002, and future considerations.
The Buffalo Sabres and Dominik Hasek had been good to each other for nine years. Hasek came over from Chicago in a trade in 1992, and he had becomes the best goaltender in the world during that time. The Czech native was the league’s two-time Hart Trophy winner as the most valuable player, and he led Buffalo to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999.
But by 2001, Hasek decided he wanted to play for a contender rather than stay put, and Detroit was his top choice as his destination. Otherwise, he’d stop playing in the NHL. The Sabres opted to get something for him rather than watch him go back to the Czech Republic in retirement, and completed a deal with the Red Wings. Forward Slava Kozlov and a first-round pick came to Buffalo in the transaction.
After the trade, Hasek had five more seasons in the NHL left in him. During that time he won two Stanley Cups with the Red Wings. More importantly, Hasek’s departure meant the end of an era in Buffalo’s hockey history, as future teams would have a completely different personality. Koslov only spent one season in Buffalo, scoring nine goals with 13 assists. From there it was on to Atlanta, where he had seven good seasons.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)