It’s been 15 years of Niklas Kronwall donning the red and white and throwing around his body, but the physical blueliner is calling it quits after a remarkable career with the Detroit Red Wings. The 38-year-old announced his retirement on Tuesday and it comes with as he finishes an offseason in which he was an unrestricted free agent.
His Career as a Red Wing
Kronwall was drafted by the Red Wings in the first round, 29th overall, back in 2000 and would go on to spend his entire career with the franchise. He entered the NHL as a 23-year-old in 2003-04, playing 20 games for the team and recording a goal and five points over that span.
Over his career, Kronwall became known for his bone crushing hits which eventually coined the term – getting ‘Kronwalled.’ He finished his career with over 1,200 hits to go along with his 83 goals and 432 points which spanned over 953 regular season games.
But he was also part of a modern day powerhouse in the NHL. The Red Wings were a perennial playoff team and alongside some of the best players in the game, Kronwall was a mainstay for the franchise over that time.
He played in 10 playoff seasons and tallied 47 points in 109 games for the Red Wings. That included two straight runs to the Stanley Cup Final with a Cup win in 2007-08 in which he tallied 15 assists in 22 games.
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It was his only Stanley Cup win over 15 seasons, but it came just two seasons after Kronwall missed the majority of the 2005-06 season due to a knee injury suffered in the preseason.
But Kronwall’s success didn’t just come at the NHL level. The six-foot, 194-pound defenceman was also a force at the international level for his native Sweden.
Kronwall’s Swedish Success
The defenceman is a member of the triple gold club – having won a gold medal at both the 2006 Winter Olympics and 2006 World Hockey Championships to go along with his Stanley Cup win.
On top of that, Kronwall helped Sweden to a silver medal in the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, sporting the ‘C’ and adding two assists in six games.
While he was never the most offensive defenceman, his contributions on the blue line for both Sweden and the Red Wings should be recognized among the best over the span of his career. The fact that he donned an ‘A’ for the Red Wings for the final eight seasons of his career speaks volumes as to what he provided for the team both on the ice and as a leader off the ice.
He closes his career having tallied three goals and 27 points in 79 games in his final season in the NHL, and will join the Red Wings front office as a new advisor to the recently appointed general manager and former teammate Steve Yzerman.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.