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Draper calls it a career

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings
For the third time since the 2010-11 season ended, the Red Wings have said goodbye to a veteran player.

Kris Draper, who won four Stanley Cups in 17 seasons with the team, announced his retirement during a press conference at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.

Draper joins defenseman Brian Rafalski, who retired in May, and goaltender Chris Osgood, who made his announcement last Tuesday.

The 40-year-old forward leaves the game as one of five players in Red Wings history to play 1,000 games with the club, with his 1,137 games trailing Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, and former teammates Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom.

Draper totaled 158 goals and 203 assists with the Wings, and also won the 2004 Selke Trophy as the League's best defensive forward.

He's also second all-time to Lidstrom in playoff games for the franchise at 220. He has 24 goals and 22 assists in his Detroit playoff career.

He made his biggest mark in the 1997 Stanley Cup finals against Philadelphia, when he centered the "Grind Line," a trio that also included Kirk Maltby and Joey Kocur, which shut down the Flyers' "Legion of Doom" trio of Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg to help the Wings win their first Cup since 1955. That "Grind Line" was a big part of Wings Cup wins in 1998 and 2002, with Darren McCarty replacing Kocur.

Originally drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the third round of the 1989 Entry Draft, he played just 20 games over parts of three seasons before being traded to the Red Wings for future considerations on June 30, 1993. The Wings famously ended up paying the Jets $1 for Draper.

In addition to his four Cups, Draper also played a major role in Canada hockey success internationally. He won World Junior Championship gold medals in 1990 and 1991, World Championship gold in 2003 and silver in 2005, and a World Cup gold medal in 2004. He also played for Canada at the 2006 Olympics.

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