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Nicklas Lidstrom to Return for Another Season

Jun 1, 2010 – 10:35 AM
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Adam Gretz

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Technically speaking, Nicklas Lidstrom was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, free to sign with the highest bidder. Realistically, however, there were only two potential outcomes for the six-time Norris Trophy winning defenseman: retire and patiently wait for his call to the Hall of Fame, or return to the only NHL city he's ever known, Detroit, for another season with the Red Wings.

It's going to be the latter, as the 40-year-old Lidstrom has signed a one-year contract with Detroit. This is, of course, nothing but good news for the Red Wings and their Stanley Cup chances for next season.

Even at 40, Lidstrom is still capable of playing at an extremely high level. He's coming off a season that saw him average over 25 minutes of icetime per game (11th among all defensemen) and record 49 points. The point total was the fourth-lowest of his career, but was still good enough to place him in the top 10 for defensemen.

With Lidstrom reportedly back in the mix for another season, the Red Wings' offseason is already starting to take shape. A month ago, the club learned that forward Jiri Hudler would be returning to the team after spending the 2009-10 season in Russia playing in the KHL. Hudler will count just over $2 million against the cap next season, while Khan suggests that Lidstrom's new deal could pay him somewhere between $5 and $6 million, pushing the Wings to the cap ceiling once again. His previous deal paid him an average annual salary of just over $7 million.

The remaining unrestricted free agents for Detroit include hulking forwards Tomas Holmstrom and Todd Bertuzzi, as well as Jason Williams, Brett Lebda and Andreas Lilja. Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader are eligible for restricted free agency. When figuring in the deals for Lidstrom and Hudler, the Wings are going to have less than $10 million in available cap space (assuming the cap goes up to $58 million) to fill out the remainder of their roster.
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