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By the Numbers: Niklas Kronwall

Stalwart defenseman likely entering his final season with the Red Wings

by Arthur J. Regner @ArthurJRegner / DetroitRedWings.com

By the Numbers will highlight the Red Wings' on-ice accomplishments in the 2017-18 season. Each week during the offseason, By the Numbers will profile a different player on the team, focusing on his statistical highs. This week we focus on defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall is the true definition of a hockey player.

He's not only talented, he's also fearless, determined, accountable and a natural leader.

Over the course of his Detroit career, which spans over 14 years, the 6-foot, 194-pound defenseman has poured his heart and soul into being with the Red Wings.

Known as a deadly open-ice hitter, Kronwall's bone-jarring checks have been coined as being "Kronwalled" by the Detroit faithful. It's an expression which will live on in Red Wings lore.

Yet, as memorable as Kronwall's devastating hits are to his unlucky targets, his relentless physical style has taken its toll on his 37-year-old body through the years.

Once an offensive spark on the back end, a chronically bad left knee has impacted his game to such a degree that he resorted to stem cell injections, hoping it would be the remedy to prolong his career.

Whether it was the stem cell injection or his sheer willingness to tolerate the pain of his throbbing knee, Kronwall surprised most everyone last season with his durability.

He missed all of training camp and Detroit's first three games of the regular season last year, but he didn't miss another game during the 2017-18 campaign.

As he enters his 15th season in Detroit, the Red Wings' alternate captain is in the final year of his seven-year, $33.25 million contract - with a cap hit of $4.75 million - which he signed on Halloween in 2011.

According to NHL.com, Kronwall recently admitted this season could be his last. He made the acknowledgement during the NHL's European Player Media Tour in his hometown of Stockholm in mid-August.

A reflective Kronwall reportedly told the assembled press corps he cannot see himself playing in another uniform and speculated if this were to be his last season, he wanted to thank the Red Wings for the opportunity the organization has given him.

The Wings made the playoffs in his first 12 seasons, but the last two years of missing the playoffs have really worn on Kronwall.

After games, you could see the frustration in his eyes and hear the disappointment in his voice as he tried to explain another close Red Wings loss.

But he's a competitor and if this is his last season, he'll approach each game with steely focus and a fiery spirit, because the tank may be close to empty, but there are still a few more "Kronwallings" to be delivered.

79 - Games he played last season, which is somewhat remarkable, considering he missed all of training camp and the first three regular season games. Captain Henrik Zetterberg, center Dylan Larkin and right wing Gustav Nyquist played in all 82 regular season games for Detroit. Kronwall has played in all 82 games once in his career, in the 2011-12 season.

4 - His four goals were the most he's scored since the 2014-15 season when he notched nine.

23 - His 23 assists ranked second on the Wings defensive corps and fifth overall on the team. Mike Green led Wings defensemen with 25 assists and Larkin's 47 helpers were tops on the team.

27 - Kronwall's point total, which was second most by a Red Wings defenseman. Green led Detroit's defensemen in scoring with 33 points.

-14 - Four Red Wings were minus-14 last season, which was second highest on the team. Kronwall, Green, Luke Glendening and Martin Frk were all minus-14. Andreas Athanasiou's minus-15 was the highest on the team.

15 - He led all Detroit defensemen in power-play points with 15 (two goals, 13 assists). His 15 power-play points ranked second on the team. Zetterberg led the Red Wings in power-play points with 18 (one goal, 17 assists).

18:31 - Kronwall's average ice time per game, which was seventh overall on the Red Wings. Green was Detroit's ice time leader with 22:04 per game.

82 - Kronwall delivered 82 hits, which ranked sixth on the Wings. Justin Abdelkader registered the most hits on the team with 174.

107 - His number of blocked shots was third highest on the team. Trevor Daley and Danny DeKeyser were tied for the most blocked shots on the Red Wings with 125 apiece.

400 - On March 27, against Pittsburgh at Little Caesars Arena, Kronwall notched his 400th career point. He scored Detroit's first goal in the Wings' 5-2 win over the Penguins. Darren Helm and Larkin assisted on the goal. Kronwall was named first star.

800 - Against Washington on October 20, Kronwall played in his 800th NHL game. In Detroit's 4-3 overtime loss at Little Caesars Arena, Kronwall assisted on Detroit's third goal of the game, scored by Tomas Tatar. He had an assist, was even and logged 18:06 of ice time in the contest. In 874 career games, Kronwall has 80 goals, 325 assists, 405 points, is even, with 524 penalty minutes and 21:52 average ice time.

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