The Red Wings posted a video this morning announcing that Niklas Kronwall will retire and join the Red Wings’ front office as an advisor to the GM:
Here’s the YouTube version:
The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a report regarding Kronwall’s retirement:
Kronwall’s departure should add to the competition among prospects vying for a job.
Danny DeKeyser, Mike Green, Filip Hronek and Nemeth are projected to fill the top four spots on defense, leaving three spots open for a mix of veterans, prospects or other young players.
Yzerman was adamant during the summer that every player will have to earn his job, regardless of level. Veterans Trevor Daley and Jonathan Ericsson, who both missed significant time last season because of a multitude of injuries, are supposed to be ready for camp, but their injury history leaves their status for the season up in the air.
On the younger side, that puts Dennis Cholowski, Madison Bowey, Oliwer Kaski and Moritz Seider in the spotlight for jobs. Cholowski leads the pack after appearing in 52 games last season, before being sent to Grand Rapids to work on the defensive side of his game. Bowey, acquired in the Nick Jensen trade, was seen as a reclamation project.
Update: The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan also filed a report…
In Tuesday’s video, Kronwall said he cherished the games and emotion at Joe Louis Arena, particularly the fans, which “created an amazing atmosphere I will forever cherish.”
Kronwall, one of the hardest-hitting defensemen in the NHL in his prime, noted his favorite moment was “when we all got to hoist the Stanley Cup” after the Wings won it all in 2008.
Kronwall thanked the Ilitch family, and former general manager Ken Holland for “believing in me” and enabling Kronwall to play for just one team, the Red Wings, throughout his NHL career.
“There have been ups and some downs during my time here,” Kronwnall said. “Wearing the winged wheel on my chest was and always will be a huge honor.”
MLive’s Ansar Khan penned a report highlighting Kronwall’s video comments…
My best memory as a Detroit Red Wing was obviously when we all got to hoist the Stanley Cup in 2008,” Kronwall said. “We’re going to get back there. I just won’t be a player when it happens next time.”
After struggling with his knee, missing many games during a two-year stretch (2015-16 and 2016-17), Kronwall said in April that it was extremely satisfying not having to deal with it this season. He surprisingly led the team in games played (79).
Kronwall proceeded to thank many people currently or formerly with the organization.
“Every great organization has great leadership,” he said. “We’re spoiled with that in Detroit. Thank you so much to the Ilitch family and (former GM) Kenny Holland for believing in me and giving me a chance to stay with the same organization throughout my whole career. That’s something I will always put a big price tag on, and I can’t in words express how grateful I am for giving me that opportunity for keeping myself and my family around. Not only are you great leaders, more than that, you are great people.”
And WDIV’s David Bartkowiak Jr. highlighted some of Kronwall’s career milestones:
Kronwall is a native of Stockholm, Sweden. His pro hockey career began with Djurgårdens IF of the Swedish Elite League. Although he was drafted by Detroit in 2000, he did not join the Red Wings until the 2003-04 season.
Early in his career he was referred to as “Nick Jr.” while playing alongside the legendary Swedish defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. With the two Swedes anchoring the defense the Red Wings were perennial Cup contenders between 2006-2012. Kronwall made a name for himself as a smart, puck-moving defenseman who could dish out heavy hits. His patented hip check at the blue line earned the moniker “Kronwalled”
He won an Olympic Gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 games in Turin. He also won the World Championships gold that year. When he raised the Stanley Cup in 2008 he became a member of the Triple Gold Club, one of only 29 players in the world to win an Olympic Games gold medal, a World Championship gold medal, and the Stanley Cup.