With Dallas Drake announcing his retirement just yesterday, I've decided to review Drake's long career, and his one Stanley Cup that took so long to win.
He was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft (sixth Round, 116th overall). Before his NHL rookie season in 1992-93, he played four years for Northern Michigan University, and in those four seasons he played 165 games, scored 92 goals, added 128 assists, and had 215 penalty minutes.
Once he did play his first year in the NHL, he played 72 games, scored 18 goals, and finished with 44 points overall. He also had 93 penalty minutes. In 1993-94, he played for the Red Wings again, but was traded during that season to the Winnipeg Jets.
He saw success on checking lines, and as a penalty-killer for his seven seasons with the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes. He established himself as a tough, hardworking player—a grinder, simply. Drake was also known for his leadership, and his overall knowledge of the game.
He signed with the St. Louis Blues in 2000-01, where he would achieve his career-high goals (2002-03) when he notched 20 goals in 80 games. He eventually became the captain of St. Louis in 2005, and remained their captain until 2007.
Unfortunately for Drake, he was bought out by the Blues in the 2006-07 offseason. Luckily, he signed with the team that originally drafted him back in 1989, the Detroit Red Wings. He was signed to a one-year deal worth $550,000.
He played 65 games for the Wings, scoring six goals and adding six assists. However, Drake's long awaited Stanley Cup finally came when Detroit defeated Pittsburgh in six games. Once captain Nicklas Lidstrom had his turn lifting the Cup, he handed it off to Drake first, knowing how long he had waited for it.
Drake announced his retirement on July 15, finishing his career with 1,009 games played, 177 goals, 300 assists, and 885 penalty minutes. He was also a plus-25.
Drake won't be remembered as a high-flying kind of player. But those who do remember him will think of Drake as a hard-nosed kind of guy who finished his career with what every player dreams of—the Stanley Cup.