Niklas Kronwall GP:79 | G:3 | A:24 | P: 27
At age 38, will Niklas Kronwall feel the need to return to a team that is still far away from contending for a playoff spot, never mind a cup? While I believe he could without a doubt play another year, I don’t think he will. Much like Zetterberg, Kronwall has nothing left to prove.
The void of his possible retirement will without a doubt be noticeable but will give young player such as Cholowski another opportunity. Over his 15 year-long Detroit Red Wings career, Kronner has been nothing but consistent throughout. I do believe with Kronwall out of the picture; this will give the opening for Larkin to wear the coveted “C.” This would indeed represent a new era among the Detroit Red Wings with Larkin as the newly appointed captain, and Yzerman as the GM.
Thomas Vanek GP:64 | G:16 | A:20 | P: 37
Along with Kronwall, Thomas Vanek to has expressed the possibilities of retirement. Throughout the season, Vanek battled numerous nagging injuries that resulted in his absence. When in the lineup, Vanek brought the veteran presence primarily as a left winger paired with Athanasiou. Vanek was effective at times but has, like many players his age (35), fallen victim to the speed of the game. I see Vanek retiring this offseason leaving Detroit with 3 million left to play with.
Luke Witkowski GP:34 | G:0 | A:2 | P:2
Whether he is playing defense or offense, Luke Witkowski always plays with the intensity that has brought him to the dance. Over his 65 career Detroit Red Wings games, the Holland, Michigan native has amassed only 1 goal, while tallying 5 assists. As mentioned before, some decisions would be easy for Yzerman; this is one of them. Although I appreciate the sale of the game that is hard to come by these days, I can’t see him staying with the Red Wings past this offseason.
Martin Frk GP:30 | G:1 | A:5 | P:6
We can’t forget about Martin Frk who is a restricted free agent this summer. What seemed like a promising start to his career with the big club, may already be his end. Often criticized by Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, Frk never seemed to be able to get out of the doghouse. Frk’s one-dimensional play has been the issue all along.
Towards the tail end of the 2017-2018 NHL regular season, teams began to pick up on the Detroit Red Wing’s power-play of trying to force the puck to the left side for a one-time cannon from Frk. Once that started to happen, BOOM, Frk’s offensive capabilities were shut down. As a defensive liability for consistency turning the puck over, it’s safe to say Frk will get another chance elsewhere. Yzerman will not re-sign him.