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Niklas Kronwall officially announces his retirement

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Now-former Red Wing will join the front office as Advisor to the GM

Detroit Red Wings v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Six Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

One of the biggest unanswered questions for the Red Wings heading into the 2019-20 NHL season finally has its closure:

Kronwall played 953 regular season games in the NHL and an additional 109 playoff games, all with the Detroit Red Wings. He’s a one-time Stanley Cup champion and a member of the Triple-Gold Club.

The video above says more than I possibly could. When you get a chance to carve four minutes out of your day, give it a watch. Hell, carve eight minutes out and watch it twice.

As a fan, it will be interesting to think back on Kronwall’s legacy as a Red Wing once we’re several years removed from the tear-down and rebuild the organization had to go through right as his tenure of “Detroit’s top defenseman” began. Looking solely through that lens, Kronwall not ending up being the next Nick Lidstrom casts more shadow on a consistently great defenseman than he deserves. The stability he created on the 2nd pair in his mid-career and his mentorship of younger defensemen in the later stages can’t be understated.

Kronwall will leave the NHL with very few admirers among rival fanbases, especially in Tampa, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. He likely won’t see his number in the rafters, but Kronwall will definitely be joining the circle of players whose legends live on in the stories passed down through the generations of fans.

Farewell, Nik, and thanks for all the Kronwallings.

[Update: comment from Steve Yzerman:]