The Red Wings are in the tough phase of retooling - rebuilding to some extent and it could be starting to weigh heavy on veteran defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who is in his 15th season in Detroit.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get enough wins,” he revealed to Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News. “That is definitely very disappointing, because it feels like we are better than what our record shows.
“But, in saying that, your record never lies. So, I guess, in the end, we’re not.”
In saying that, it feels like Kronwall might be willing to listen to trade offers coming his way, especially if general manager Ken Holland feels it could greatly help the future of the team. The veteran Wing claims he would feel duty bound to listen if Holland approached him about a trade.
“If he were to come ask for something, then I think part of my job is to listen to that, to hear what he says and what he is thinking.
“I have all the respect for what he has done and how he’s treated me over the years. So, I think I owe him for what he has done for me to listen to what he has to say, if that comes up.”
The 38-year-old has a modified no-trade clause, giving him some control over the situation. He expressed his surprise about a couple of recent reports suggesting the Toronto Maple Leafs could be interested in him.
The Leafs have been looking for help on the blue line for an extra playoff push this season. The interest in Kronwall makes sense since he would be back playing with head coach Mike Babcock, with whom he won a Stanley Cup back in 2008. The veteran blue liner might be ready to join his old coach in Toronto for another successful playoff run.
However, Kronwall has hinted this season could be his last and mentioned his preference to retire as a member of the Red Wings.
If a rival team, let’s say the Maple Leafs, make an interesting pitch to land him, Holland could be forced to ask Kronwall to waive his no-trade clause. He would have to decide what he wants most: another shot at the Stanley Cup before he hangs up the skates or to retire as a Red Wing.