Justin Abdelkader

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Justin Abdelkader
Justin Abdelkader's Stanley Cup2008.jpg
Abdelkader with the Stanley Cup in 2008
Born (1987-02-25) February 25, 1987 (age 32)
Muskegon, Michigan, U.S.
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 214 lb (97 kg; 15 st 4 lb)
Position Left wing
Shoots Left
NHL team Detroit Red Wings
National team  United States
NHL Draft 42nd overall, 2005
Detroit Red Wings
Playing career 2008–present

Justin Abdelkader (/ˈæbdəlkdər/; born February 25, 1987) is an American professional ice hockey left winger and alternate captain for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Playing career[edit]


Abdelkader played for the junior ice hockey Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League during his senior year of high school, scoring 27 goals and 52 points and helping the team win the 2004–05 Clark Cup Championship. He then began a three-year stint playing college ice hockey for the Michigan State Spartans men's ice hockey team of what was then the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.[1]

On April 7, 2007, Abdelkader scored the game-winning goal in the 2007 NCAA Championship Game against Boston College, securing the NCAA Division 1 National Championship for Michigan State University and earning him the Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player. He scored the latest game-winning regulation goal ever scored in an NCAA Frozen Four championship game when he scored with just 18.9 seconds left.[2][3]

Abdelkader received his Bachelor of Arts in General Management from Michigan State's Eli Broad College of Business on December 18, 2015.[4]


Detroit Red Wings

Abdelkader was drafted 42nd overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

On April 3, 2008, Abdelkader signed a one-game amateur tryout with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League and was to play that night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. In doing so, he forfeited his college eligibility for the 2008–09 season. The following day, Abdelkader signed a three-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings. He played one more game that season for Detroit. In June when Detroit won the Stanley Cup Abdelkader was part of the team celebration. He was included on the team picture, and awarded a Stanley Cup Ring. Abdelkader did not play enough games to qualify for engravement on the Stanley Cup in 2008.[5]

Abdelkader scored 24 goals for the Grand Rapids Griffins during the 2008–09 season and was one of the team's best offensive players in the playoffs.[6]

On May 8, 2009, Abdelkader was brought up to the Red Wings as the replacement for Tomáš Kopecký, who sat out Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals series against the Anaheim Ducks. Coach Mike Babcock sent Abdelkader to replace Kopecký "because he'll run over people. We expect him to play hard like Darren Helm. He's on the forecheck and he's a physical guy."[7] During the game Abdelkader scored his first career point on an assist to Johan Franzén.

Abdelkader scored his first career NHL goal on May 30, 2009, in Game 1 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. After shooting the puck, he grabbed the rebound out of the air with his glove, dropped the puck, and beat Marc-André Fleury high stick side.[8][9] His second goal came nearly 24 hours later in the second game of the series, off of what commentators described as a "knuckle puck." He carried the puck into the forward zone alone against three Penguins defenders and fired a slapshot past Fleury. He became the first rookie to score a goal in consecutive finals games since Minnesota's Dino Ciccarelli did it in 1981.[10]

During the 2009–10 season Justin played 50 games for the Red Wings scoring three goals, while adding three assists. Abdelkader was then re-signed by the Red Wings on a two-year extension worth $1.575 million.

The 2010–11 season was Abdelkader's first full NHL season as a Red Wing. Abdelkader played in 74 games, scoring seven goals, and adding 12 assists.

During the 2011–12 season, he missed only one game, and finished the season with eight goals and 14 assists in 81 games.

On September 14, 2012, Abdelkader signed a four-year, $7.2 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings.[11]

On October 9, 2015, Abdelkader became the second player in Red Wings history to score a hat trick in a season opening home game, following Adam Brown in 1945.[12] Abdelkader was named the First Star of the Week for the week ending October 12, 2015. He shared the league lead with four goals and tied for second in the NHL with five points.[13] On November 12, 2015, the Red Wings signed Abdelkader to a seven-year, $29.75 million contract extension.[14]

International play[edit]

Medal record
Representing  United States
Men's ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2007 Leksand

Abdelkader was selected to play for the United States national junior team at the 2007 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Sweden.[1]

Abdelkader was selected to play for the United States national team at the 2014 IIHF World Championship, where he was named team captain.[15] Abdelkader was suspended for one-game at the World Championships for a knee-to-knee hit infraction on Konstantin Pushkaryov in a game against Kazakhstan. Following Abdelkader's one-game suspension, he returned for the game against Germany, where he scored two goals, including the game-winning goal, in the final group stage game to lead the United States to the quarterfinals.[16] During the United States' quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic, Abdelkader was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for charging Vladimír Sobotka in the second period. In July 2014, the IIHF announced that he would be suspended for three-games at the 2015 IIHF World Championship for the hit on Sobotka (Adbelkader is only required to serve the suspension if he appears at that tournament).[17] Abdelkader finished the tournament with three goals and one assists in seven games.[18]

Abdelkader represented the United States at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, where he recorded one goal in three games.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Abdelkader is the son of Joseph and Sheryl Abdelkader.[20] The surname Abdelkader is Arabic. His paternal grandfather, Yusuf Abdul Qadir (Anglicised to Joseph Abdelkader), emigrated from Jordan at the age of 19 to Muskegon, Michigan and married a Polish woman named Zuzanna (Susie).[21]

He went to Churchill Elementary School, Mona Shores Middle School and graduated from Mona Shores High School in 2005. He was named to the all-state hockey team and awarded the Mr. Hockey award, given to the top high school ice hockey player in Michigan. During his senior year, he played for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL.

Abdelkader proposed to his longtime girlfriend Julie Leshkevich in November 2016 at the Joe Louis Arena.[22] The couple married on July 21, 2017,[23] and gave birth to their first child in September 2018.[24]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2004–05 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders USHL 60 27 25 52 86 11 0 4 4 8
2005–06 Michigan State Spartans CCHA 44 10 12 22 83
2006–07 Michigan State Spartans CCHA 38 15 18 33 91
2007–08 Michigan State Spartans CCHA 42 19 21 40 107
2007–08 Detroit Red Wings NHL 2 0 0 0 2
2008–09 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 76 24 28 52 102 10 6 2 8 23
2008–09 Detroit Red Wings NHL 2 0 0 0 0 10 2 1 3 0
2009–10 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 33 11 13 24 86
2009–10 Detroit Red Wings NHL 50 3 3 6 35 11 1 1 2 36
2010–11 Detroit Red Wings NHL 74 7 12 19 61 11 0 0 0 22
2011–12 Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 8 14 22 62 5 0 0 0 2
2012–13 Detroit Red Wings NHL 48 10 3 13 34 12 2 1 3 33
2013–14 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 10 18 28 31 5 0 2 2 6
2014–15 Detroit Red Wings NHL 71 23 21 44 72 5 0 2 2 6
2015–16 Detroit Red Wings NHL 82 19 23 42 120 5 1 0 1 35
2016–17 Detroit Red Wings NHL 64 7 14 21 50
2017–18 Detroit Red Wings NHL 75 13 22 35 78
2018–19 Detroit Red Wings NHL 71 6 13 19 38
NHL totals 690 106 143 249 583 64 6 7 13 140


Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2007 United States WJC 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 7 0 2 2 10
2012 United States WC 7th 8 1 3 4 4
2014 United States WC 6th 7 3 1 4 31
2016 United States WCH 7th 3 1 0 1 2
Junior totals 7 0 2 2 10
Senior totals 18 5 4 9 37

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
All-NCAA All-Tournament Team 2007 [25]


  1. ^ a b "Player Bio:Justin Abdelkader". MSU Athletics. January 1, 2006. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  2. ^ Connelly, Jim. "Abdelkader’s Winner Gives Michigan State National Championship," United States College Hockey Online, Saturday, April 7, 2007.
  3. ^ Abdelkader, Justin. "A School Known to All," The Players' Tribune, Tuesday, January 19, 2016.
  4. ^ Roose, Bill. "Abdelkader's a happy college graduate," Detroit Red Wings, Thursday, December 17, 2015.
  5. ^ "Kopecky done for rest of season; Abdelkader signed for three years".
  6. ^ "Rafalski, Draper, Kopecky won't play Sunday".
  7. ^ Ted Kulfan, "Rafalski, Draper, Kopecky won't play Sunday," The Detroit News, May 8, 2009.
  8. ^ http://www.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?id=42908
  9. ^ "Pens fail to fluster Osgood as supporting cast lifts Wings to Game 1 win". ESPN.com.
  10. ^ "Griffins foursome keys Red Wings' run for Cup". mlive.com. June 1, 2009. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  11. ^ "Abdelkader signs four-year deal". NHL. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ "Justin Abdelkader's hat trick lifts Red Wings over Leafs, former coach Mike Babcock". espn.com. ESPN. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  13. ^ "Abdelkader, Lindberg and Smith named stars of week". NHL. October 12, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  14. ^ Kujawa, Kyle (November 12, 2015). "Detroit extends Abdelkader for seven years". NHL. Retrieved November 12, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  15. ^ Abdelkader named captain for USA redwings.com, May 9, 2014
  16. ^ Abdelkader leads U.S. to win vs. Germans redwings.com, May 21, 2014
  17. ^ Leahy, Sean (July 29, 2014). "IIHF hands Justin Abdelkader three-game suspension for hit during 2014 Worlds". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  18. ^ Czechs drum USA out of World tourney redwings.com, May 22, 2014
  19. ^ Harris, Paul (August 18, 2016). "World Cup has Red Wings forwards eager to compete". NHL. Retrieved August 18, 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  20. ^ Barnas, Jo-Ann (June 4, 2009). "Muskegon's Abdelkader has golden touch". WZZM 13. Gannett. Archived from the original on June 25, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  21. ^ Dalton, Sean (July 26, 2011). "Red Wings player Justin Abdelkader flies with Blue Angels". Heritage.com. Heritage Newspapers. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  22. ^ Stevenson, Dave (November 6, 2016). "Justin Abdelkader proposes to girlfriend at Joe Louis Arena". fansided.com. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  23. ^ Jankens, Evan (July 26, 2017). "Justin Abdelkader And Julie Leshkevich Get Married [PHOTOS]". detroit.cbslocal.com. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  24. ^ @justinabss (September 15, 2018). "Yesterday my wife and I welcomed our biggest blessing into this world. These past 24 hours have given life a whole new meaning. Words cannot express the love we have for you Jaxon Joseph Abdelkader. 💙👶🏼" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  25. ^ "NCAA Frozen Four Records" (PDF). NCAA.org. Retrieved June 19, 2013.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Robbie Earl
NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Succeeded by
Nathan Gerbe
Preceded by
Nathan Davis
CCHA Best Defensive Forward
Succeeded by
Tim Miller
Preceded by
Tim Cook
Ilitch Humanitarian Award
Succeeded by
Jeff Lerg
Jerad Kaufmann