Lidstrom, 40, to return to Red Wings

#1
Detroit Red Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom returning to team - ESPN

DETROIT -- Nicklas Lidstrom chose to return to the Detroit Red Wings instead of retiring.

The star defenseman signed a one-year contract, the team announced Tuesday, instead of hanging up his skates at the age of 40.

The deal was worth $6.2 million, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun. Lidstrom earned $7.4 million this season and was due to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"It's a huge benefit anytime you have an upper-echelon player, who can still play at a high level, decide to stay with your organization," coach Mike Babcock told The Associated Press.

Lidstrom was contemplating calling it a career. He has spent all of his 18 NHL seasons with the Red Wings.

The Swede had nine goals and 40 assists for 49 points last season, his second-lowest total in 14, and wasn't a finalist for the Norris Trophy for just the second time in more than a decade.

Just two years ago, though, he was honored as the NHL's best defenseman for a sixth time to put him behind only Bobby Orr's and Doug Harvey's total. Last season, he was still Detroit's top player on the blue line.

Lidstrom has said he is still playing at a high level but doesn't plan to challenge Chris Chelios' longevity in the league. Chelios played last season at the age of 48.
"If I'm going to continue to play, that's not going to be a goal of mine," Lidstrom said with a smile after the season ended.

The San Jose Sharks eliminated the Red Wings in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal.

"As we've watched the playoffs, we believe we can still knock on the door next year," Babcock said. "You can't do that if you're losing players, and we're not. In fact, we've already added a little."

Forward Jiri Hudler signed a two-year contract last month, coming back to Detroit after spending a season in Russia, where Dynamo Moscow granted his release.

The 26-year-old Czech had 99 points his last two seasons in the NHL, helping Detroit win the Stanley Cup in 2008 and reach Game 7 of the finals last year.

"It's huge to have Huds back," Babcock said. "Instead of separating Z [Henrik Zetterberg] and Pav [Pavel Datsyuk] on the power play, we can put them on the same unit and let Huds run the other one."
This is definitely good news for Wings' fans. You don't want to lose a guy like him.
 

BigBob

Registered Member
#2
I didn't expect him to retire. I expect two more seasons out of him. Hudler coming back is also huge for us.
 

Th3Pr3Tz3l

Registered Member
#3
This is very interesting. He's still got a lot of GOOD play in him although he isn't where he once was. I do think $6.2 million is a lot for a 40 year old, it should be reduced even if just for the RISK of his play dropping off alone. He's treading waters not many players have treaded before.
 

Babe_Ruth

Sultan of Swat
Staff member
V.I.P.
#4
This guy can play till he's 45 years old if he wants. He's in tremendous shape and he still plays like he's a 30 year old. This would be a huge loss to the Red Wings if he retired. Not only does he help you on the defensive side of the puck, but he's a good on the power play and he's a great leader. All things that are very important.
 

Michigan

Registered Member
#5
I am glad he is staying because he can share his wisdom with Doug Janik and Brendan Smith, just like Osgood did with Howard. The wings will be a strong team again next year.