April 7, 2019 | 11:54pm ET
KRONWALL, VANEK WILL WEIGH FUTURES
Niklas Kronwall, defenceman
Veterans Niklas Kronwall and Thomas Vanek are set to become unrestricted free agents July 1 and both have been contemplating retirement. But neither has made a definitive decision about their playing careers just yet.
According to The Detroit News, both Kronwall and Vanek will take the next several weeks to determine their futures and both said their families will play a factor in their decisions.
“I don’t really have a time table,” Kronwall told the paper. “We (Kronwall and Red Wings GM Ken Holland) talked in January, or whenever it was, and (agreed) to sit down after the season. Everything is going to figure itself out over the next few weeks or months, or whenever that’ll be.
“I’ll spend some time with the family now and be a full-time dad and that’s something I’m looking forward to now.”
Kronwall, 38, went into this season knowing it could be his last. But as the News reports, his performance this season suggests he still has enough in the tank for at least one more season.
“He’s made a huge argument that he can, for sure, play one more season, and good for him,” head coach Jeff Blashill told the News. “He’s put himself in a spot where he can make that decision, and he’s not being forced into a decision. The decision will ultimately be his.”
Vanek, 35, “can still make an impact,” Blashill stated, and mentioned that “he knows what it takes to win.”
Kronwall, who battled knee issues in the past, played a team-high 79 games this season and admitted it was “extremely satisfying to come back and play” injury free this season. He is also 47 games away from 1,000 games played in his career.
“I definitely look at that as a huge milestone, and it’s something if it were to happen, a huge milestone I’d be proud of,” he said. “But just getting the opportunity to represent this organization would mean a lot to me.”