Kris Draper joined the Canadian National hockey team for the 1988-89 season when he was just 17. He played with the team on a full-time basis, dressing for 60 games. He followed that up with a 62-game performance the following year. He played just one season of major junior hockey, in 1990-91 with the Ottawa 67's. That season, he also played seven AHL games for the Moncton Hawks. In 1991-92, he scored 29 points in 61 AHL games. A two-time member of Canada's World Junior Team in 1990 and 1991, Draper was instrumental in leading Canada to the gold medal in 1991.
Draper was selected 62nd overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft by the Winnipeg Jets and on October 4, 1990, he made his NHL debut with a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs. After playing two more NHL games that season, he then played ten games with the Jets in 1991-92 and following another seven NHL games the following season, Draper was then traded on June 30, 1993 to the Detroit Red Wings.
Upon his arrival with the Wings, Draper quickly became recognized as one of the fastest skaters in the league and one of its premier penalty killers. While in Detroit, Draper teamed up with Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty to form the "Grind Line", one of the league's premier checking lines and was instrumental in leading the Wings to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 1997 and 1998.
Known for his durability, injuries limited the speedy centreman to 51 games in 1999-00 and over the course of the next three seasons, would miss a mere 7 games while playing a key role in the Wings third Stanley Cup title in six years. Having already established himself as one the premier defensive players in the league, Draper's offensive numbers began to take notice. After establishing a career high in assists (21) and points (35) in 2002-03, Draper established a career in goals (24) in 2003-04 and surpassed his point total with (40), while capturing the Selke Trophy as the games top defensive forward. Over the next two seasons, Draper's offensive output would decrease, however he still managed to stay healthy and appear in nearly every one of the club's games. In the 2007-08 season, Draper competed in his 900th game, scored his 300th career point, and suffered a few minor injuries before he appeared in all 21 playoff games during the Red Wings drive to Cup. The Cup victory was the fourth of Draper's successful career in Detroit.
Aside from his World Junior appearances, Draper is a four-time member of Canada's World Championship Team (2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005), Men's Winter Olympic Team (2006) and winning team at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.