By: Will Burchfield
It’s widely believed that the Red Wings came close to trading Steve Yzerman to the Ottawa Senators ahead of the 1995-96 season.
So, Scotty Bowman, is there any truth to that?
“Not really,” Bowman told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket.
Bowman was coach and general manager of the the Red Wings at the time, and many fans believed he was the one floating Yzerman’s name on the trade block. Again, not true.
“You know what happened,” Bowman explained, “the Red Wings had appointed a president, Bill Evo (in September 1995), a really nice gentleman. But there was not much work for that position because every other position was filled.”
But Evo would go to the board meetings, Bowman said, and late in the 1995 offseason he came back with the idea of dealing Yzerman to the expansion Senators, who had entered the NHL in 1992.
“It was more or less that Ottawa was just starting in the league and they were grasping at straws looking to see how they could start their franchise,” Bowman said.
Yzerman, a perennial All-Star and an Ottawa native, was an appealing player. So Evo brought the idea to Bowman, who ruled it out from the start.
“I talked to Bill – I hadn’t known him very long – and I said, ‘Bill, it’s a no-brainer.’ It wouldn’t have mattered if he was ever even available (because) Mr. Ilitch treated Steve like his son. They were that close,” Bowman explained.
In hindsight, Bowman isn’t surprised the Yzerman-to-Ottawa rumors gained circulation.
“Those things have legs when (they) get out of privacy…but I just said to Bill, ‘There’s no chance this will ever happen.’ Whether it was a reality or not, I don’t think so. I think it was just a figment of somebody’s (imagination) in Ottawa,” Bowman said. “I can’t blame them, they were looking to start their franchise. But it wasn’t going to happen.”