Forward Mike Knuble doesn’t regret signing a one-year deal to play with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2013, but it kept him away from his home and family in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. He turned 41 on July 4 and at this point, his primary goal as an unrestricted free agent is to stay close to home.
“I never want to move away to the east coast,” he told MLive. “I don’t mind some travel, some commute. But realistically, the options are Detroit and Chicago.”
That being said, he knows that the Red Wings and Blackhawks “can barely fit in the guys they have,” so he’s not holding his breath waiting for something to be worked out. In other words, he realizes that his playing career might be over, and it sounds like he’s okay with that.
“I got a taste of what life would be like without hockey – coaching my kids and being around and being at home and I really enjoyed that,” he said, referring to what he did during the lockout.
“So, to me, whether you play or not, things can change on a dime. Would I still like to play? Sure, but it has to be the right thing for me and my family.”
Assuming he isn’t able to work out an NHL deal this summer, he’s got a potential alternative in mind. He’s reached out to the coach of the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins, Jeff Blashill, about the possibility of helping the team.
“For me I just want to get through the summer and let everything get going and then see where we’re at, see where they’re at with their roster and see if it is even an option,” Knuble said.
“I’d love to help out, but we’ll see. I have 17 years of pro knowledge in my head, and I’d love to pass it on to guys trying to find their way. So, you never know.”
The Griffins are the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, so Knuble might end up helping them out even if Detroit isn’t looking to sign him as a player.
If Knuble retires, he’ll be ending a career that lasted 1,068 games with Detroit, the New York Rangers, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington. He has 278 goals and 548 points.