Thank you Kirk Maltby

This week, NHL teams cut their rosters to the league mandated 23 slots for the regular season.  As is normal for this time of year, there are always a few players who get waived that surprise you. This year, the Red Wings pulled off a move that surprised me quite a bit.

They waived Kirk Maltby.

Maltby has been a Red Wing for 13 years. He was famously part of the “Grind Line” with Kris Draper and Darren McCarty. He was part of all four modern era Stanley Cup victories.

The reasons for waiving him are good: he is getting older, his play is declining, his salary too large. But it is still sad to see him go. His impact and importance is not something you see in stat sheets or on points lists. His impact is far more intangible. He has been a vital cog in the gears of Red Wing success. Without his contributions, the team would not have had the victories they do.

It is possible that Maltby clears waivers. Then he’ll most likely get assigned to the minor league team in Grand Rapids. He’ll be a valuable asset there for the Griffins. And who knows with injuries and such, he might be wearing the winged wheel again soon.

But some other team might pick him up. Or he might decide to hang up the skates for good. Whatever the case may be, I wish him the best of luck. Thanks Maltby for everyone you’ve done. We appreciate it.

Update: Kirk Maltby has decided to retire from hockey. Goodspeed.  We’ll miss you.