July 26, 2011
Bang For Their Buck
The Jets had a handshake agreement with Draper. If he was unable to make the Jets in 1993 (after 3 years in the minor leagues he had only played 20 games in Winnipeg) they would move him to another team. The Jets kept their word, selling Draper to Detroit for a measly $1.
Seventeen seasons later, Draper finally retired, still a member of the Red Wings. All told Draper finished his career with 161 goals and 203 assists in 1,157 regular-season games. He found a home on Detroit's third and fourth lines (often playing along side "Grind Line" mates Kirk Maltby and Joe Kocur/Darren McCarty), crashing, banging and shutting down the other team's top lines. He was also a huge part of Detroit's elite penalty killing.
Talk about a buck well spent. Draper was an integral part of the Red Wings powerhouse teams that won four Stanley Cups. In an amazing 222 playoff games, Draper scored 24 goals and 46 points. He also played in the Olympics, the World Cup and four World Championships.
Speed and leadership were his two fortes. He may not have been named Yzerman, Fedorov or Lidstrom, but he was a pretty special piece of the Detroit Red Wings' undying success. He was a superstar role player.