| Date of Birth:
May 24, 1971
Place of Birth: Toronto, ON
Years on National Team:
Weight: 190 lbs
With Detroit centre Kris Draper's recent ascension to Team Canada, one can say his career really has come full circle. Back in 1988, one year before he was drafted, Draper joined the Canadian National Hockey Team as a fresh-faced 17-year-old. At the time this decision was not considered a stepping-stone to the NHL, but was instead a place for no-names and career journeymen to keep on playing.
Draper would end up playing two seasons with the National Team before finally ending up with Winnipeg in 1990, one year after the Jets selected him in the third round of the 1989 draft, 62nd overall. His first three years would see him play just 20 games in the NHL, with the bulk of his time being spent toiling for Moncton in the AHL.
Then in late June of 1993, Draper would get a new lease on life as Winnipeg shipped him to Detroit for future considerations. The deal ended up being an excellent one for the Red Wings as Draper has stayed with the team for 12 seasons, helping them to win three Stanley Cups (1996-97, 1997-98, 2001-02).
Never mistaken as an offensive force, Draper is well aware of the skills that have kept him in the NHL all these years: His hustle, toughness, penalty-killing and willingness to do the rough work in the corners and along the boards has earned him cult status as one of Motown's favourite sons.
That's why it was such a big deal when Colorado bad boy Claude Lemieux smashed Draper face first into the boards back during the playoffs in 1996, knocking him out of the postseason with a broken jaw. It was an incident that would not be forgotten.
Draper's value was most notably rewarded after a fine 2003-04 regular season, when he scored a career-high 24 goals and was plus-22 and was awarded the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best two-way player. That led to his invitation to join Team Canada at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, where he was plus-5 with four points on the gold medal-winning team.
If the going gets tough for Canada in Turin in 2006, look for Kris Draper to be the first to get his nose in on the action.
2006 Hockey Coverage