Niklas Kronwall is preparing himself for what may be the end of his NHL career.
The longtime Red Wings defenseman is entering the final year of his original seven-year, $33.25 million contract that he signed when he was 31 years old. Now, at 37 — the oldest skater on Detroit’s blue line — Kronwall remains without an extension heading into the upcoming season. He’s more than content with his 14-year career as he plays the waiting game with the Red Wings.
“If this happens to be the end of the road,” Kronwall said, according to NHL.com. “I would be more than happy with the journey that I’ve had and more than thankful to the Ilitch family and (Red Wings’ general manager) 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.”
Check out Detroit Red Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall reaching into his old bag of tricks and treating Nick Cousins to a Kronwalling! #LGRW pic.twitter.com/X8lU0fLIyA
— Complete Hockey News (@CompleteHkyNews) November 1, 2017
Kronwall tallied 27 points, four goals and 23 assists, for Detroit last season. The Swede’s output was a bit of a rebound after he played in only 121 games from 2015-2017 as he recovered from a knee injury.
“The last two years I wasn’t really sure what’s going to come out of the training,” Kronwall told The Detroit News in April. “I do feel if I just stick with the program (this summer) and do what gave me the chance to play this year, I’ll be just fine.”
If Kronwall doesn’t receive a contract to remain in the NHL, there are other routes for the veteran defenseman to take. However, when the time comes to announce his retirement from professional hockey, the two-time Stanley Cup champion has good reason to be satisfied with his career.
The No. 29 overall pick is second among defensemen selected in the 2000 NHL Draft with 405 points — trailing Lubomir Visnovsky’s 495. He’s also a member of the “Triple Gold Club,” which indicates those who’ve won the Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and a World Championship gold medal.