Detroit Red Wings: Top 3 Niklas Kronwall hits of all-time

Niklas Kronwall #55 of the Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Niklas Kronwall #55 of the Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Honoring Niklas Kronwall, one of the best Detroit Red Wings defensemen and league’s top hitters for more than a decade, who retired a year ago this month.

It better not be a shock when I say this, but the National Hockey League (NHL) is a much more finesse league than it was in 2003 when former defenseman Niklas Kronwall roamed the blue line for the Detroit Red Wings.

The game has evolved, becoming more and more about speed in space. The rules have tightened, too.

So when the Red Wings great retired earlier last year after 15 seasons, I felt obligated to highlight and pay tribute to one of the best hitters in the game for more than a decade.

You got “Kronwalled” became a phrase in Hockeytown, so here are my thoughts on his top three hits during his time wearing the Winged Wheel.

3. Kronwall lays out Nikita Kucherov

There are many reasons to like Kronwall’s hit on the then up-and-coming Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. For one, watch the clip, it’s a fantastic hit. Two, it was on a future star in the NHL and an eye-opener for the youngster. And three, it was during the playoffs inside Joe Louis Arena. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The hit didn’t phase the Lightning, though. They won the game 5-2 (Game 6), Kronwall was suspended a game for the hit and the Lightning won the series in seven games.

No. 2: Kronwall hit on Martin Havlat

Prior to the Red Wings shifting to the Eastern Conference in 2013-14, the team had a fierce rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks. It still feels like there’s bad blood between the two organizations even only playing twice a year, so imagine what it was like when Kronwall hit the Blackhawks’ Martin Havlat in the 2009 Western Conference Finals.

The Blackhawks had the last laugh that night, beating the Red Wings 4-3, but Detroit won the series 4-1.

No. 1: Kronwall levels Ales Hemsky

People can and will have their own opinions, and I personally think No. 2 (hit on Havlat) is a close No. 1. The Red Wings-Blackhawks rivalry was intense, but when you knock a dude’s helmet off with your butt and cause a scrum immediately after, that’s power.

The game ended dramatically, too, with the Oilers winning after 12 shootout attempts.

Next. Detroit Red Wings All-Time Team. dark

And with that, thank you Kronwall for your time in the NHL and with one of the storied franchises of the league. Oh, and kids, wear a helmet.