Tag: Chris Osgood

Kris Draper

Kris Draper announces retirement from NHL after 20 seasons


When Kris Draper’s NHL career started with the Winnipeg Jets (the original ones) back in 1990 as a speedy forward with no real niche at all to crack the Jets lineup, he likely found it hard to imagine that after his struggles to earn playing time he’d be calling it quits 21 years later. After starting off inauspiciously in Winnipeg and ending as a four-time Stanley Cup champion in Detroit, that’s just what Draper is doing as he announced his retirement from the NHL.

For Kris Draper, that kind of story is the perfect way to sum up what’s been the ideal career for checking line player. He didn’t score many goals, just 161 over his career, but he helped prevent them and he won faceoffs with the best in the NHL while playing with the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings obtained Draper from the Jets in one of the oddest deals in NHL history in June of 1993. Draper was traded to Detroit from Winnipeg because the Jets didn’t have a place for him in their lineup and all the Wings had to do was give the Jets a $1.

Draper took that opportunity with the Wings and turned it into a brilliant career as one of the best checking centers in the league. Playing alongside the likes of Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty in the latter half of the 1990s they formed “The Grind Line” as Detroit’s top shutdown line. With an equal mix of grit, speed, and tenacity “The Grind Line” helped lead the Wings to Stanley Cup victories in 1997, 1998, and 2002. With the 90s teams being dominated by equal amounts of North American and Russian superstar talent, “The Grind Line” provided a change-up from what the likes of Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Fedorov, and Igor Larionov were all capable of doing.

Of course, Draper nearly saw his career put on hold in 1996 after receiving one of the dirtiest hits from behind from Colorado’s Claude Lemieux in the 1996 Western Conference finals that saw Draper’s face horrifically injured. Draper suffered a broken jaw, broken cheekbone, and had numerous stitches to his face following the hit and the moment instigated the Detroit-Colorado rivalry that burned white hot through the late 90s and early 2000s.

Draper’s presence in Detroit was a constant over 17 seasons with the Wings and his ability to be productive consistently over his career is what helped his longevity. Draper enjoyed his best statistical seasons from 2001-2007 hitting his stride at its best in his 30s as he scored double-digit goals for five straight seasons. For a guy on the third and fourth line, potting that many goals is a hell of an accomplishment; Even more so considering it wasn’t his job to pitch in that much offensively.

While Draper’s departure in Detroit is a sad one for Wings fans, they have the heir apparent to Draper already in their lineup in Darren Helm. Draper was always known for his tremendous speed and ability to sustain pressure on the forecheck. Helm is one of the league’s fastest skaters and his arrival in Detroit effectively chased Draper out of a job in recent seasons.

For Detroit, it’s the third retirement they’ve seen this summer as Brian Rafalski and Chris Osgood each hung it up earlier this offseason. The effect of having three guys in their late 30s retiring helps bring the average age of the team down a bit, but losing that expertise and guiding veteran hands might prove to be difficult in the locker room. Draper’s leadership in particular leaves a bit of a void for the Wings, but with the number of other great veteran players they have their it shouldn’t affect things greatly.

While Draper isn’t someone who’s going to generate talk of joining the Hall of Fame, he’s leaving the game as a hero in Detroit and to Red Wings fans all over and as a guy hated in Colorado and Pittsburgh. You’ve done something right during your time in the league if you can leave the game beloved by the home fans and hated by rivals, and that’s just how Draper wants it.

Report: Red Wings’ Web site caption reveals that Kris Draper will announce retirement on Tuesday

Colin Wilson, Kris Draper

If the last few days taught us anything, it’s that it’s tough to keep secrets in the Internet age. For those of you who wondered why the Winnipeg Jets shared their new logo on what seemed like a random Friday in July, the reasoning becomes obvious when you consider the fact that it was already leaked.

This time around, it was a team’s own Web site that accidentally shared the news, as George Malik showed off his sharp vision by pointing out that a Kris Draper photo caption spilled the beans that he will announce his retirement on Tuesday.

To be fair to the Red Wings, it’s not as if Draper’s announcement can really compare to the retirements of Chris Osgood and Brian Rafalski or Nicklas Lidstrom’s to opt against retirement. Injuries and healthy scratches limited Draper to just 47 games played during the 2010-11 regular season and although he’s made some appearances in the playoffs, he’s averaged less than 10 minutes per postseason contest the last three years.

Many associate Detroit’s incredible run of success with draft day steals, but Draper represents one of the team’s better reclamation projects (see also: Daniel Cleary). The first version of the Winnipeg Jets traded him to the Red Wings in June 1993 and Draper stuck with the Red Wings ever since, becoming a part of four Stanley Cup-winning teams. Draper will probably be best remembered for his days on “The Grind Line,” which also featured Joe Kocur and Kirk Maltby.

Obviously, this is far from official, so we’ll pass along an update if/once he decides to retire.

Update: It’s official, but the press conference will take place tomorrow as indicated.

Detroit Red Wings officially announce Ty Conklin’s one-year contract

Ty Conklin
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As we speculated last night, the Detroit Red Wings will indeed roll with a familiar face as Jimmy Howard’s backup during the 2011-12 season. The team confirmed that they signed Ty Conklin to a one-year contract, although they didn’t disclose how much money he will make. Ansar Khan reports that it will be less than $1 million, so it sounds like Conklin will receive a little bit less than what’s been the going rate for experienced backups during this off-season.

Red Wings fans should be familiar with Conklin, who helped save the team’s 2008-09 season. Conklin was supposed to serve as Chris Osgood’s backup, but he played nearly half the campaign by going 25-11-2 with a .909 save percentage, 2.51 GAA and six shutouts in 40 games played.

The Red Wings needed to let Conklin go to make room for Jimmy Howard in 2009. This allowed Conklin to sign a two-year deal with the St. Louis Blues. He was fantastic in 2009-10 (10-10-2 with an outstanding .921 save percentage and 2.48 GAA in 26 games played) but had a dreadful 10-11 (8-8-4 with an abysmal .881 save percentage and 3.22 GAA in 25 GP). Obviously, the Red Wings are hoping they get the “good” Conklin instead of the 10-11 version this season.

Either way, if Howard is healthy, fans probably won’t see a ton of Conklin. Howard played in 63 games for two straight seasons, so it’s possible that Conklin will appear in the least amount of games since he played in just 16 during the 06-07 season.

The good news for Detroit is that they have flexibility because they also Joey MacDonald locked up to a two-way deal. They might need some strong play from whomever gets the nod in net (ideally Howard, of course) because their defense could go through a bit of a transitional period with Nicklas Lidstrom moving toward retirement, Brian Rafalski already there and some new pieces in place.

Report: Red Wings stick with nostalgic backup plan, look primed to sign Ty Conklin

Chris Osgood, Ty Conklin

As it turns out, the Red Wings’ backup goalie will, indeed, be an aging former St. Louis Blues netminder with prior experience as a goalie for Detroit. It just won’t be Chris Osgood, who announced his retirement Tuesday afternoon.

Instead, Ansar Khan reports that the team is likely to sign Ty Conklin to be Jimmy Howard’s backup. Khan writes that the team will announce the one-year deal “worth less than $1 million” in the near future (possibly Wednesday).

Red Wings fans should be familiar with Conklin from his solid work with the team during the 2008-09 season. While he was technically Osgood’s backup during the season, he helped the team stay afloat while the veteran struggled a bit, going 25-11-2 with a .909 save percentage, 2.51 GAA and six shutouts in 40 games played.

Khan points out that the Red Wings allowed Conklin to depart via free agency during the summer of 2009 because they needed Howard to make the jump to the NHL level. Conklin spent his last two seasons with the Blues. He was strong in his backup role in 2009-10 (10-10-2 with an outstanding .921 save percentage and 2.48 GAA in 26 games played) and awful in 10-11 (8-8-4 with an abysmal .881 save percentage and 3.22 GAA in 25 GP).

Naturally, the Red Wings probably hope that Conklin approaches his 09-10 form (or better yet, his slightly better 07-08 run with the Pittsburgh Penguins), but it’s unlikely that he’ll get all that many starts behind Howard. The Red Wings’ franchise goalie played in 63 games for two straight seasons, so it’s possible that Conklin will see his least amount of work since he played in 16 games during the 06-07 season.

Either way, the Red Wings have some flexibility with Joey MacDonald locked up to a two-way deal and plenty of familiarity with their trio of goalies. They might need some solid work from whomever is in net too considering Nicklas Lidstrom’s age, Brian Rafalski’s retirement and the under-the-radar issues the team dealt with on defense last season.

Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood retires after 17 seasons; Is he a Hall of Famer?

Chris Osgood

Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood is retiring from the NHL after a career that saw him win 401 games over 17 seasons and saw him win three Stanley Cups. Osgood’s career is a fascinating one and one that will bring about one of the most hotly contested Hall of Fame cases of the modern era.

Osgood spent the bulk of his career with the Red Wings where he saw his highest highs and his lowest lows. Perhaps his most memorable accomplishment came in 2008 where he bailed out a struggling Dominik Hasek in the Stanley Cup playoffs opening round against Nashville to put the Wings on his back and carry them to the Stanley Cup.  Osgood also helped lead the 1998 Red Wings to the Stanley Cup, but surrounding those championships were failures in Detroit that kept the Red Wings searching for another goalie.

From 1994 to 1996, the Red Wings suffered all kinds of tough playoff losses with Osgood at the helm as the starter. In 1994, Osgood’s rookie season, they were bounced out of the playoffs by the eighth seed San Jose Sharks in the first round. The following year, Detroit rolled through the playoffs and into the Stanley Cup finals where they were swept away by the uber-defensive New Jersey Devils. In 1996, it was an ignominious defeat in the Western Conference finals in six games to the Colorado Avalanche.

When the Wings went on to win the Cup in 1997 it would be Mike Vernon and not Osgood that led the way to that title. Vernon was so good in goal through the playoffs he won the Conn Smythe Trophy that year. After the 1998 Cup win, things got rough in the playoffs again for the Red Wings from 1999-2001 losing to the Avs two straight years and then in the first round to Los Angeles in 2001.

After that season, Osgood went to the Islanders where he went on to win 32 games and lead the Isles to the playoffs in 2002 and losing to the Maple Leafs in seven games in the first round. The following season saw the Isles deal him to St. Louis mid-season and led the Blues into the postseason losing to Vancouver in seven games in the opening round. The following year in 2003-2004, Osgood won 31 games in leading the Blues to the playoffs as well losing to the Sharks in the first round.

After the lockout, Osgood found his way back to Detroit where he alternated between being the starter and the backup with the Wings. While being the backup to a future Hall of Famer in an aging Dominik Hasek is one thing, playing second fiddle to Manny Legace is another. Aging and giving way to Jimmy Howard was an eventuality, but Osgood’s career is one that didn’t see him dominate as a starting goalie but ultimately sees him look in the statistic rankings as a great goalie.

source: APHe’s tenth all-time in the NHL in wins with 401, fourth all-time in playoff shutouts with 15, and eighth all-time with 74 postseason wins. They’re gaudy rankings, but is he a Hall of Famer?

Red Wings and Osgood fans will point to his long career, 401 wins, three Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2008), as well as winning 30+ games in a season with three different teams as to why he should go in. Those opposed to him see him as a guy who compiled wins behind great Detroit teams over his career and had to play second fiddle to some great and not-so great goalies in order to win it all.

Osgood never won an individual trophy for his play and was twice part of a Jennings Trophy-winning tandem (In 1995-1996 with Vernon and 2007-2008 with Hasek). His career numbers are solid yet not spectacular finishing his career with a 2.49 career goals against average and a .905 save percentage over his 17 seasons. Osgood played in two All-Star Games (1996,2008) and was once named to the NHL All-Star second team in 1996.

Playing in the same era with the likes of Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour, Martin Brodeur, and Dominik Hasek makes it tough to earn individual awards but Osgood found ways to get noticed, either for good or bad reasons. Is he a Hall of Famer? Let us know in our poll and in the comments.