Kris Draper enters his fifth season as special assistant to the general manager and his 22nd year overall with the organization. In his position, Draper works closely with Detroit's management team, assisting in player evaluation at both the professional and amateur levels. He also provides input regarding potential trades and free agent signings, as well as insight into prospective selections at the annual NHL entry draft.
Draper announced his retirement as a player on July 26, 2011, after 20 seasons in the National Hockey League. He was originally a third-round pick (62nd overall) of the Winnipeg Jets in the 1989 NHL draft. Draper played 20 games over three seasons in Winnipeg before the Jets dealt him to Detroit on June 30, 1993, in exchange for future considerations.
Draper spent the next 17 seasons in the Motor City. He became a fixture in Detroit's lineup during the 1993-94 season and played center on what became known as the 'Grind Line' with Kirk Maltby, and at different times, Darren McCarty and Joe Kocur. They formed one of the most revered lines in Red Wings history and played an integral role in helping Detroit end a 42-year drought by capturing the 1997 Stanley Cup with a sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers. Draper was also part of championship runs by the Red Wings in 1998, 2002 and 2008. He joins Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Maltby and McCarty as the only players to hoist the Cup in each of Detroit's last four championship seasons.
The Toronto, Ontario, native enjoyed his best statistical season in 2003-04. He registered career-highs with 24 goals, 40 points and five shorthanded goals in just 67 games. Despite the jump in his offensive production, Draper's defensive responsibilities never wavered and he was rewarded with the 2004 Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward.
Recognized throughout his career as one of the top penalty killers and face-off men in the NHL, Draper also played a vital role by checking the top lines of opponents and wearing down opposing defenses with his speed and tenacity. He served as Detroit's assistant captain for five seasons from 2006-07 through 2010-11. On February 2, 2009, he became just the 235th player in NHL history to play in 1,000 career games. Just six weeks later on March 17, 2009, he became the fifth player in team history to play 1,000 games in a Red Wings sweater joining Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Steve Yzerman and Lidstrom. His postseason longevity is equally impressive. Draper never missed the playoffs during his 17 seasons in Detroit and appeared in 220 postseason games for the Red Wings, second in club history behind only Lidstrom (263).
Kris and his wife, Julie, have two daughters, Kennedi and Kamryn, and a son, Kienan. The Drapers reside in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.