Detroit Red Wings: Nicklas Lidstrom Returning to Team for One Year at $6 Million

Matt HutterAnalyst IJune 20, 2011

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 01:  Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings in action against the San Jose Sharks in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on May 1, 2011 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Various sources, including the Detroit Free Press are reporting this morning that Nicklas Lidstrom will return to the Red Wings for a 20th season.

Lidstrom will reportedly earn the same salary as he did last season, $6.2 million, according to the Detroit Free Press.

This announcement comes after the Red Wings have seen many key components of their team leave after their playoff run ended.

In May, assistant coaches Brad McCrimmon and Paul MacLean both left for head coaching jobs and defenseman Brian Rafalski unexpectedly retired from the NHL due to personal and health reasons.

With so many important spots left to fill, the Red Wings will have a much better sense of what they can do and what they should do moving forward now that Lidstrom has made his decision.

The Red Wings biggest need may very well play along with the returning captain as the team will need to identify and court a high-quality top-four defender in order to replace the retired Rafalski.

Several players are set to become available via free-agency on July 1st including Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa, Montreal's James Wisneiwski, Phoenix's Ed Jovonaski and Vancouver's Christian Ehrhoff.

The Red Wings are also waiting to hear from incumbent fifth defender Jonathan Ericsson. Ericsson is mulling over an offer in the neighborhood of $2 million per season.

Should Ericsson elect to test free agency, and with Lidstrom back on board, the Red Wings will still have only four blue-liners under contract next season (Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart and Jakub Kindl).

The biggest piece of the Red Wings puzzle this summer has now fallen into place, but the team is still far from a complete picture.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth analysis of the Lidstrom signing in the next 24 hours.

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