Kron­wall set to sign off as Red Wing

The Detroit News - - SPORTS - BY TED KULFAN The Detroit News

Chicago — Gen­eral man­ager Ken Hol­land is mak­ing phone calls re­gard­ing his avail­able play­ers for the up­com­ing trade dead­line.

But one player he isn’t ac­tively shop­ping, not sur­pris­ingly, is veteran de­fense­man Nik­las Kron­wall.

Kron­wall has played his en­tire ca­reer in a Red Wings jersey, has never wanted to play any­where else, and doesn’t want to go any­where now in the twi­light of his ca­reer.

And Hol­land is fine with that. “I’m not call­ing teams about him,” Hol­land said. “He’s been here a long time, he’s won a Stan­ley Cup. He’s an im­por­tant as a leader on this team.”

Kron­wall, 38, is in the fi­nal year of his con­tract and will be an un­re­stricted free agent on July 1.

That is, if Kron­wall con­tin­ues play­ing.

Kron­wall has all but con­firmed this is his fi­nal sea­son. There re­mains a small chance he could re­turn for an­other year — hav­ing been as in­jury-free as he’s been — but it’s re­mote.

“We have young play­ers in that room, and Nik is the type of leader, or role model, they can see how a pro does it,” Hol­land said. “You need vet­er­ans like that to show the way.”

Hol­land has met with Kron­wall to dis­cuss the near fu­ture head­ing into the Feb. 25 trade dead­line.

“We had a good talk,” Hol­land said. “It’s my job to work the phones, and I will con­tinue to work the phones. You have to see what’s out there. But I’m not call­ing teams about him.”

The other prospec­tive un­re­stricted free agents on the Wings in­clude goal­tender Jimmy Howard, for­wards Gus­tav Nyquist, Thomas Vanek and Martin Frk, and de­fense­man Nick Jensen.

Larkin im­pact

For­ward Dy­lan Larkin matched his ca­reer-high with 23 goals dur­ing Sat­ur­day’s loss in Buf­falo.

Larkin’s con­sis­tency at both ends of the rink and grow­ing lead­er­ship have been pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ments in a dif­fi­cult Wings’ sea­son.

“On a con­sis­tent bassis he’s been a real good player,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He gets a lot of ice time with it, too, so there’s a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity, and he un­der­stands that and bears the bur­den.

“I don’t think there’s any ques­tion that Dy­lan has taken huge steps toward be­ing that good, all-around cen­ter that you have to be to be a suc­cess­ful hockey team. He’s a huge build­ing block for this team.”

Build­ing blocks

Blashill talked re­cently about the progress of de­fense­man Den­nis Cholowski and the way the rookie has de­vel­oped this sea­son.

Cholowski, 20, made the Wings’ open­ing night ros­ter af­ter an im­pres­sive ex­hi­bi­tion sea­son.

He earned con­sid­er­able min­utes of a rash of in­juries to nu­mer­ous de­fense­men, then has main­tained that ice time with in­juries con­tin­u­ing to haunt the Wings’ de­fense.

In a per­fect world, the Wings would have pre­ferred to bring along Cholowski a lit­tle slower.

“We haven’t had enough times this year where we’ve been able to kind of use him the way we would have liked to have used him all year,” Blashill said.

“Mean­ing, at the be­gin­ning of the year, we were so short on de­fense, he was thrown into the fire in­stead of us­ing him on that 5-6 pair­ing, and on the power play, and start­ing him on the of­fen­sive blue line and eas­ing his way into the NHL.

“He’s been thrown into the fire too many times, and all of a sud­den, you lose a bit of con­fi­dence in that.”

Ice chips

Luke Witkowski and Martin Frk were healthy scratches.

…Farm­ing­ton Hills na­tive Alex DeBrin­cat, who some scouts felt was too small to make it in the NHL, con­tin­ues to thrive with the Black­hawks.

DeBrin­cat came into Sun­day’s game with 50 points (28 goals) in 55 games, and had three as­sists in Sun­day’s game.

Nam Y. Huh/As­so­ci­ated Press

Red Wings de­fense­man Danny DeKeyser, top, is checked by Black­hawks right wing John Hay­den dur­ing the third pe­riod Sun­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.