What many have been debating for the past few months — will Niklas Kronwall return for one more season with the Red Wings? Well, we finally got our answer Tuesday morning, with Kronwall deciding to officially retire from the NHL, the team announced with an appreciation video on Twitter.
As one chapter ends, another begins.
Thank you, Nik. pic.twitter.com/G2vNzBMDAx
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) September 3, 2019
Drafted by the Red Wings way back in the 2000 NHL entry draft, Kronwall was a Detroit lifer, playing his entire 953 game NHL career with the Winged Wheel on his sweater. He ranks 10th all-time in games played for the franchise. He played along side many greats, including the likes of Steve Yzerman, Niklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg, on his path to being ingrained in Red Wings lore forever.
The Swedish defensemen was an integral part of the 2008 championship run, winning the Stanley Cup at age 27. Now, at age 38 and calling it a career, fans will remember him most for his leadership, dangerously raised visor, and of course, his major open ice hits near side the boards which fans dubbed “getting Kron-WALLED!”
But even though we won’t be seeing 55 on the ice anymore, this isn’t completely a goodbye. Kronwall will remain with the organization as an “Adviser to the General Manager.” What that means exactly is up for your interpretation, however, Kris Draper formerly served in a similar role to Ken Holland, in which he was mentored and groomed for a larger role one day in an NHL front office.
If only he was named the Assistant to the General Manager, that way I could make my Dwight Schrute joke. You dropped the ball on this one, Steve.
But on a serious note, Kronwall is leaving a lasting impact on the franchise for what he did during his time with Detroit. He was a warrior, who battled through constant knee pain just to be on the ice. He may not have worn the “C” but he sure acted like the team leader. Strong team victory or blow-out loss, he was there for every question the media threw at him. On and off the ice, he represented the franchise with humbleness, respect, and a winner mentality that was infectious.
Thank you for everything, Kronner.