Florida Panthers benefit as Detroit Red Wings kiss historical run goodbye

Wednesday is the NHL trade deadline and the deals should come fast and furious as the day goes on.

Contenders like the Washington Capitals are making moves and others should follow suit, but that analysis can wait another day.

For now, let’s have a moment of silence to officially mourn the ending of one of sport’s great runs as the Detroit Red Wings have thrown in the towel on the season.

Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland finally knew what needed to be done and pulled off a series of three moves this week that signal a look toward the future.

It also means the end of an era as unloading talent means the Wings — barring a miracle in the season’s final weeks — will have their 25-year playoff streak come to an end.

The Red Wings have traded leading scorer Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers, the third veteran dump Detroit has made in two days.

On Tuesday, the Red Wings traded Brendan Smith to the New York Islanders for two draft picks and then traded agitator Steve Ott to Montreal for a sixth-round pick. Last week, Detroit also sent Tomas Jurco to Chicago for a third-round pick.

In the Vanek deal, Detroit reportedly will pay half of his remaining salary and receive a third-round pick and defenseman Dylan McIlrath in return.

Vanek and McIlrath — a disappointing former No. 10 pick in the draft by the New York Rangers — are both free agents after this season.

In Vanek, Florida will get Detroit’s leading goal scorer, but that’s a sad mark for a proud franchise as he only has 15 tallies and missed a month of action this season.

The Panthers, with 68 points, are right in the thick of contention for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.

The same can’t be said for Detroit, as 60 points has the team closer to the top three in the draft than the playoffs.

It’s a sad end to a historic run for the Red Wings, who won four Stanley Cups during the 25-year run.

Holland is going to do all he can to start another one as soon as possible.

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