With an official announcement expected in the next week, the career of the Detroit Red Wings’ Tomas Holmstrom is over. Goaltenders around the league are no doubt rejoicing and possibly even sending gifts, as they might once again be able to see in the crease.
Holmstrom becomes the latest player to spend his entire career in Detroit, and leaves the game with four Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008) and an Olympic gold medal (2006). His ability to make things difficult in front of the net for opposing goaltenders made him a valuable asset, especially on the power play. He is often referred to as one of the best at his craft and paved the way for many more NHL wingers to make a hard living camped out in front of the net.
The Wings selected him with the 257th pick in the 1994 draft, yet another late-round steal for the team. Injuries in recent seasons have led to a decline in production, but in his prime Holmstrom was a 30-goal scorer once and scored at least 20 goals in five of his 15 seasons.
Last season saw him play in his 1000th NHL game, a feat only achieved by six Red Wings players. His pending retirement along with the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom following last season leaves the team with no players remaining from the 1996-97 and 1997-98 Stanley Cup championship teams.
There are no players that can truly replace Holmstrom’s net presence, but expect gritty veterans like Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi to be looked to this season to try and replace some of his power play scoring.