After 15 NHL seasons all with Detroit, Kronwall has decided to call it a career. Kronwall was drafted #29 overall by Detroit in 2000 however he would not play in North America until 2003 where he split time in Grand Rapids and Detroit. In only his second season as an NHL regular, Kronwall was a key piece to the Red Wings blue line during their run to the 2008 Stanley Cup. Kronwall was never prolific offensively netting only 83 goals in his 953 NHL games. Where Kronwall really excelled was the physical game, his name became a verb synonymous with a bone crushing, plate shifting body check. No doubt that Nik Kronwall will go down as one of the best, if not the best open ice hitter of all time, It is for that reason that many are wondering if a Hall of Fame induction lies in Kronwall’s future.
The case is certainly there for Kronwall to be made a Hall of Famer when his time comes, the Bobby Orr-esque numbers may not be there offensively however there is no denying that Nik Kronwall changed the game, when he was on the ice there was an extra emphasis to keep your head up. Martin Havlat, Anders Lee, even Nikita Kucherov all fell victim to Kronwalls pulverizing hits. One factor that could detract from his Hall of Fame odds is his injury troubles.Especially later in his career, back issues were always a concern for Kronwall, he missed the opening three games to each of his final two seasons but would go on to play the remaining 79 on both occasions. Kronwall was only able to participate in all regular season games twice in his career. (one being the lockout shortened 2012-13 season) Unfortunately Kronwall joins Pavel Datsyuk as a member of the “just under 1K club” coincidentally they both capped off their NHL careers with the exact same number of games played in 953.
Regardless of if Kronwall gets into the Hall of Fame or not, or even if his #55 is raised to the rafters at Little Caesars Arena next to his former D partner and fellow swede Nick Lidstrom, he will always hold a special place in the hearts of Red Wings fans from Macomb to Malmo.
Cover Photo from nhl.com
By Ben Lloyd (@lloyd_ben7)