Last updated: February 15. 2013 9:42AM - 221 Views

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Jason Williams was driving to the airport with his Detroit Red Wings teammates for a flight to Chicago to play the Blackhawks the next night.


That's when he got the call from Detroit GM Ken Holland, informing him that he wouldn't be playing against the Blackhawks, but for them.


It was the trade deadline day in 2007 when Williams was moved for the first time in his NHL career. Up until then, Williams had spent all six years of his pro career with the Detroit organization.


To say that Williams' first NHL trade was earth-shattering is an understatement.


"It was a shock," he said. "I went from a first place team to one that wasn't going to make the playoffs. That was tough."


Making matters even tougher was Williams had to face his former Detroit teammates the day after the trade.


"I was now playing against guys I used to go to war with every night, guys who became good friends and won a Stanley Cup with," Williams said. "You find yourself going into the corner with a chance to lay a guy out whom, just a couple days ago, you were having dinner with."


It's situations like that that make the trade deadline day an unsettling one. As this year's deadline of Feb. 27 hits tomorrow, many of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are wondering who, if any, will soon be a former teammate.


But it's really not something to worry about, Williams said, because it's part of the business.


Williams has been traded twice while in the NHL – the second move coming in 2009 when he was traded by Atlanta to Columbus.


"When you're traded, you're going somewhere where someone wants you," he said. "Some players can benefit from going to a new team and a different situation.


"It's not the end of the world."


That point rang true to Alex Grant, who was traded during his final season in juniors.


Grant began his career as a 16-year-old playing with the Saint John Sea Dogs during their first season as an expansion team in the QMJHL. He spent the next three-and-a-half seasons with Saint John, growing accustomed to the hockey life and living away from home.


It wasn't until midway through the 2008-09 season that the rumors began to swirl.


Grant had a hunch a trade was coming.


"It was tougher than I expected, dealing with the rumors," he said. "I was with this team as one of its original players since Day 1, and it was pretty emotional knowing I would probably soon be done with that organization."


Sure enough, Grant was traded to the Shawinigan Cataractes, a team that was in contention to win the President's Cup.


Grant admits that made the trade a bit easier to handle.


"The fact that the organization had enough respect for me to trade me to a team making a run for the cup meant a lot," he said.


Williams' advice to his teammates as this season's trade deadline approaches is don't think you're untouchable and, if a trade happens, don't view it as a negative.


"Wayne Gretzky was even traded a few times, and if he can be moved then anyone can," Williams said. "It doesn't matter who you are. If an organization feels it can make the team better by dealing you or one of your good friends, they're going to do it. It's tough to go through, but as a player you have to get used to it."


It didn't take long for Williams to get used to playing for a team other than Detroit after he was traded.


Three days after the trade, Chicago faced Detroit for what would be Williams' second game against his old team. Detroit won 6-2, but Williams scored both of Chicago's goals.


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