Biggest Retirements of 2011

Kris Draper
Photo: Gene J. Puskar/AP

Kris Draper

Four-time Stanley Cup-winner Kris Draper hung up his skates on July 26 after 20 seasons in the NHL. Draper started his career with the Winnipeg Jets, but his national profile skyrocketed after the Detroit Red Wings acquired him on waivers for one dollar in 1993. He never put up huge stats, but the speedy, hard-working center was one of the most consistent and durable players in Wings history. Along with Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty, Draper was a member of the "Grind Line," a unit beloved in Detroit for its blue collar ethic. When Colorado's Claude Lemieux injured Draper with an infamous cheapshot during the 1996 Western Conference Finals, it sparked the NHL's most ferocious rivalry of the late 1990s and catalyzed the Red Wings into the league's most successful team of the ensuing 13 seasons. A face-off specialist and tenacious checker, Draper won the 2004 Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward. In 2009, he became the fifth player to play 1,000 games with the Red Wings.

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