NHL Free Agency 2011: Kris Draper Wants to Play, but Will It Be for Detroit?

Kyle GibbonsAnalyst IIIJuly 15, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 18:  Kris Draper #33 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on January 18, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Kris Draper has been playing professional hockey since 1987, and at 40 years of age, he fully intends to play again during the 2011-12 NHL season.

Even if it may not be for the Detroit Red Wings.

As of today the Detroit Red Wings haven’t signed the unrestricted, four-time Stanley Cup champion to a new contract.

Draper has been quoted as saying that there is “zero chance” that he will report to training camp without a contract. In an article written by Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News, Draper was quoted as saying:

"I think I've proven myself to the Red Wings organization and (general manager) Kenny (Holland) knows what I'm all about after all these years."

Through it all, Draper calls Detroit “home,” and his primary interest lies with a Red Wings team with which he has played 17 of his 20 seasons in the National Hockey League.

"I've been training and preparing for next season as I always have," said Draper, fresh off a week-long golfing trip with teammates and friends. "But first I need to talk with Kenny and hear what he has to say, what he thinks is best, and we'll go from there."

Draper intends on having a sit down conversation with Holland regarding his position on and with the team in the near future.

Holland has said that there is "No doubt he wants to play ... and play in Detroit. We don't have any cap issues, but we have to sort out what we're doing with our 14 forwards."

As a member of the Red Wings since ’93, Draper has played in 1,000 games and served the team as an alternate captain since ’06-07.

He is more than a fan favorite in Detroit; many members of the Red Wings consider him a brother.

It would be a sad day in Detroit if Ken Holland and the Red Wings were unable to come to terms with “Drapes.”

But it is highly probable that if Draper isn’t offered a contract as a player, Holland will provide Draper a title within the organization, as he did for Steve Yzerman and Chris Chelios.

If Draper isn't content with a position in the front office in Detroit, he will most likely pursue a contract with another team before a majority of the training camps begin in September.