Report: Holmstrom to Retire Before Season
In a few days, there will no longer be any player left from the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup Championship teams. With Nicklas Lidstrom already retired, his longtime friend and fellow Swede Tomas Holmstrom is expected to retire before the lockout shortened season begins.
A report suggested that Holmstrom had already informed the Red Wings of his decision during the lockout, but the Wings wanted to wait until the lockout was over to make the announcement.
Holmstrom is one of the best players of all time in front of the net. He took severe punishment from defenders and goalies, which got him the nickname "Demolition Man."
Holmstrom was drafted in the 10th round of the 1994 NHL Draft, 257th overall. After two seasons with Lulea HF posting average statistics, Holmstrom made the jump to the AHL with the Adirondack Red Wings, playing six games and scoring four points. He was called up to Detroit and never played another AHL game again.
Homer finishes his stellar 15 season NHL career with 243 goals, 287 assists, 530 points in 1026 games, along with 769 penalty minutes and bunch of bumps and bruises.
He was a magician at deflections and making the goalies' life a living hell. A lot of his goals were scored on the powerplay, and there were a bunch of times the Wings got hosed because of his reputation, including this no-goal against Colorado:
Didn't even touch him.
And this is what he was best at:
Tomas Holmstrom made the NHL due to his willingness to do the dirty work. Some players shy away from the tough areas on the ice; not Holmstrom. He wore more padding on the back of him because of all the slashes and cross checks he absorbed throughout his career.
In his first season with the Red Wings, he wore number 15, but in 1998 he asked to change his number to 96, the reason being that was the year he made the NHL. Legendary coach Scotty Bowman responded by telling Holmstrom to change his number to 97, because that was when he would be leaving.
Holmstrom must have took it to heart, because he never left.
He would have had a tough time cracking the Wings roster this year with so many different young prospects ready to play, and with his skills and stats already declining and his unwillingness to move teams, it is time for him to move on.
The Red Wings will miss his net front presence and dedication to win. There might never be another player that was as good at his job as Tomas Holmstrom.