DETROIT (AP) - Nicklas Lidstrom proved to himself he is still one of the NHL’s best defenseman last season and that is good news for Detroit fans.
The 41-year-old Lidstrom will return for a 20th season with the Red Wings.
“Coming off this season, helped me to make this decision,” Lidstrom said after agreeing to a one-year deal worth $6.2 million, same as last year.
Lidstrom is a Norris Trophy finalist for the 11th time in 13 seasons. If he wins the award for being the league’s top defenseman _ it would be his seventh _ on Wednesday, he will match Doug Harvey’s total and trail Bobby Orr’s record by only one.
Lidstrom is also a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
The soft-spoken Swede leads with his actions.
He had 62 points last season _ surpassing his production from each of the previous two years _ to rank second among NHL blue-liners and to become the first 40-year-old defenseman with 60-plus points in an NHL season.
“If I would’ve taken a step back, it could’ve been a different situation and it could’ve been a different decision” Lidstrom said.
Lidstrom’s 6-foot-2, 190-pound body is chiseled thanks to a year-round workout that includes exercise before practice and after games along with a sensible diet that includes only occasional slices of pizza and fast food.
He became the first European-born captain to win a Stanley Cup in 2008, six years after being the first from Europe to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP.
The four-time Stanley Cup champion decided last summer to put retirement on hold, pausing only because his oldest son started school in Sweden last autumn.
Next season, he will lead a defensive corps that includes Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart and a roster that should give the team a shot to earn a spot in a 21st straight postseason _ a streak that started the year before Lidstrom was a rookie.
The Red Wings will attempt to acquire a standout defenseman this offseason with at least some of the $6 million freed up when Brian Rafalski retired last month with a year left on his contract.
“We’ve got Raffy’s cap space, but these guys are special players,” Holland said. “I’d rather have Brian Rafalski back.”View Entire Story
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