The retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom has led to numerous questions about the ability of the Detroit Red Wings‘ blueliners heading into next season. Fortunately for the Hockeytown faithful, Niklas Kronwall is the answer to many of those questions. Kronwall is one of the few first round picks on the Detroit roster, and has absolutely played like it during his tenure with the Wings.
Kronwall was born on January 12, 1981 in Stockholm, Sweden. He grew up in a smaller town just outside of Stockholm, and grew up playing all kinds of sports. He entered into the realm of hockey at age six, in what turned out to be a phenomenal choice. His first love was soccer, but has since turned his admiration to the sport where he makes his money.
The Red Wings’ are the only NHL franchise the Swede has known, and surely has no plans to play anywhere else. Kronwall played in all 82 of Detroit’s regular season games last season, which should give many Wings’ fans hope moving forward. Nicklas Lidstrom cannot be replaced, but you can do a lot worse than Niklas Kronwall. Similar to Lidstrom, Kronwall is quiet and unassuming, but his leadership is omnipresent.
Kronwall has never been a huge point producer, even back in his Swedish playing days, but his impact is usually felt elsewhere. And the optimal word there, is felt. It is nearly impossible to watch a Red Wings’ game, especially one at Joe Louis Arena, without seeing a few Wings’ fans dolled up in their “Kronwalled at the Joe” t-shirts. Those shirts, and catchy slogan, have taken on a mind of their own thanks to Kronwall’s ability to lay the wood on his opponents. Kronwall doesn’t lay a ton of hits (41st most hits for any defenseman), but they are usually Sportscenter highlights, and always effective.