Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Look back at Kris Draper's great career in the NHL

 When the Detroit Red Wings were having great success during the mid to late 90's and in some parts of the 2000's, they had a very balanced team with scorers who had excellenct two-way ability such as Sergei Fedorov, Steve Yzerman and in the later years Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. The defence was balanced as well with guys like Nicklas Lidstrom, Vladimir Konstantinov, and Slava Fetisov, but the area that helped have the most success was the grinders, most notably Kris Draper who officially announced his retirement from the game.
   In his 20 year career, 17 of thoses years were with the Wings as he was drafted by the former Winnipeg Jets franchise in the 3rd round back in 1989. He wound up in Detroit in a trade for one dollar which back in the day was the waiver price. Since that deal, he became a very valuable fixture for the Red Wings. In the 1157 games that he played, 1137 were in a Detroit uniform amassing 161 goals and 364 career points with his best statistical seaon coming in 03-04 with 24 goals and 16 assists in 67 games as he won his one and only Frank J Selke trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward.
   Where he succeded the most was in the playoffs. As he never missed any action in the post-season, he played in 220 playoff games which is second all time to Lidstrom. Part of The Grind Line with Kirk Maltby and either Joe Kocur or Darren Mccarty, that line played a huge role in the 4 cups that they won as they scored timely goals and were instrumental in shutting down the other teams top lines. Apart from his NHL sucess, Internationally, he won gold at the 2003 World Championships, he won the World Cup of Hockey back in 2004, and was part of the disapointing Olympic squad in 2006.
   While his career was successful considering he was trade for a dollar and diminutive by NHL standards at 5'10, when he becomes eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame in 3 years time, expect to see the Hall of Fame comitee take a strong look at him as he was in his prime year apart from Stevie Y and Bryan Trottier, the best defensive forward who played in his generation.

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