While the Detroit Red Wings prepare for a season that potentially could be played without their captain and star forward Henrik Zetterberg, another fan favorite is preparing for a season that may be his last. Niklas Kronwall is heading into the final season of his current seven-year contract, and according to Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com would be perfectly happy to call it quits after 2018-19 if he has to. Kronwall hasn’t had any extension discussions with the Red Wings, and is just happy to have been given an opportunity in Detroit.
If this happens to be the end of the road, I would be more than happy with the journey that I’ve had and more than thankful to the Ilitch family and (GM) Kenny Holland for giving me the opportunity that I have for being able to be with the same team for my entire career. We’ll see what happens.
I’ve been fortunate enough to play in Detroit all these years and I have a tough time seeing myself in a different jersey
Kronwall, 37, has relinquished some of the defensive responsibility in recent years but remains a beloved figure in a storied franchise. Selected in the first round of the 2000 draft, the Swedish defenseman didn’t make his way over to North America for several seasons. When he finally broke through and secured a full-time role with the team though, there was no turning back. Kronwall quickly became one of the team’s most reliable defensemen, helping them to a Stanley Cup victory in 2008 with an impressive 15 points in 22 playoff contests. Consistent at both ends of the rink, Kronwall also developed a reputation as one of the most devastating open ice hitters in the league, catching forwards with their heads down as they tried to break out of their zone.
While he’s not quite as mobile as he once was, Kronwall only trailed Mike Green in scoring among Red Wings defenders with 27 points and actually posted positive possession statistics. The Red Wings are trying to pass the torch to a new, younger generation in the hopes that they will lead them back to the playoffs in the coming years, but it seems as though Kronwall will not be a part of that. At his advanced age and with a lengthy injury history that comes as no surprise, but his comments will allow fans to really appreciate this season as likely his last donning the winged wheel.