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Wings trade Stuart's rights to Sharks

Team receives conditional pick in 2014 draft

Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 4:09 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Wings trade Stuart\'s rights to Sharks

Wings defenseman Brad Stuart played around with his sons, Jake and Logan, at the Pepsi Center in Denver before a practice in early December. (Photo by Bill Roose/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – In the end, it was a family decision for Brad Stuart, who is one step closer to returning to northern California after the Red Wings traded the rights to the veteran defenseman to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

In return for his rights, the Wings received a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2014 NHL amateur draft and forward Andrew Murray, who can become a free agent on July 1.

Stuart, 32, heads back to the Sharks who made him a third overall draft pick in 1998, behind Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier and Nashville’s David Legwand.

Stuart can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Stuart’s desire to return to California where he’s been raising a young family, including a step-daughter who will be entering her senior year of high school in the fall, has been a big issue for him.

In April, as the Wings cleaned out their locker room at Joe Louis Arena, Stuart spoke candidly about the last four years in Detroit, his teammates, the organization, his hockey future, and his desire to be closer to his family, including two young sons, Jake and Logan.

Since the Wings acquired Stuart in a trade from Los Angeles late in the 2007-08 season he has regularly made trips home to San Jose, even if that meant seeing his wife Melissa and the kids for only a day before rejoining the team.

“There were times if we had a Sunday off and didn't play again until Wednesday, they'd let me take Sunday and Monday off so I'd go home Sunday, come back Monday night, miss a practice,” Stuart said. “Now flying in for a day is some times worse than not coming at all because they get all emotional. I made it through the last few years. It'll be a decision we have to make whether we can do it again.”

During his time with the Wings, which includes winning the Stanley Cup in 2008, Stuart has been a steady contributor on the blue line and an exceptional defender on the penalty kill. Partners with Niklas Kronwall for much of his time, there’s no doubt that Stuart will be missed. He produced 16 goals and 62 assists with a plus-11 rating in 306 games with the Wings.

But it’s hard to blame a man for wanting to be with his family.

“Yeah, if it was a purely hockey decision, I would stay,” Stuart said. “But I've got other things to consider and other factors other than just hockey.”

Stuart’s trade, coupled with Nicklas Lidstrom’s decision to retire after a 20-season career, leaves the Wings with two defensemen – Kronwall and Ian White – who have played more than 400 NHL games. However, the Wings also have Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith under contract for next season.

Veteran Kyle Quincey can become a restricted free agent next month.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
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11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80