44-Year-Old Defenseman – Free Agent
Nicklas Lidstrom Contract Information:
Signed a one-year $6.2 million deal with the Red Wings in June of 2011.
Lidstrom officially announced in a press conference Thursday morning that he is retiring from the NHL, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Nicklas Lidstrom.
Lidstrom is making us believe that Ponce de Leon may have actually been Swedish. After losing Brian Rafalski to retirement, the Wings' blue line received a significant boost when Lidstrom decided to return for his 20th season, as he continues to play at an extremely high level. Lidstrom finished second among NHL defensemen in 2010-11 with 62 points, while playing a full 82-game schedule for the second straight year. Even with some regression at age 41, we can't bet against the possibility of another Norris-caliber campaign.
An ageless wonder on the Wings' blue line, Lidstrom fell just short of his 15th career 50-point campaign last season, but he rolled over the 1,000-point mark on his career odometer. He started off very quietly, chipping in just 17 points (1 G, 16 A) in the team's first 40 games before heating up with 35 points (8 G, 27 A) over the final 42 contests. If the second half of the season is any indication, there's still plenty left in the tank for the Swede to remain an elite blueliner even at age 40. For fantasy owners, he's still one of the five-best defensemen in the game, thanks in large part to a consistently good plus/minus rating and big minutes on a potent power-play unit. At this point, it's beginning to look like Lidstrom will be one of those players who can walk away from the game before it passes him by.
Another year, another run at the Norris trophy. At 39, it's always possible that he'll decide that the current season will be his final one (his contract runs out after the 2009-10 season) and he's been mum about his future plans this summer. Even if his value in keeper leagues is beginning to fade, Lidstrom is still a top-10 blueliner thanks to his on-ice intelligence, ability to distribute the puck, and tendency to finish among the league leaders in plus/minus (plus-31 last season, plus-111 over the last three). Look for another 60-point effort as he continues to log heavy minutes each night.
Despite turning 38 back in April, Lidstrom cranked out another season of elite blue-line production. He’s become more of a distributor from the back than a shooter in recent seasons, while his goals totals have tumbled in each of the last two campaigns. Still, he’s going to rank among the league’s best in plus-minus (plus-40 in 2007-08) with a host of talented two-way players skating around him and continue to generate plenty of helpers. At some point down the road, it won’t be safe to expect the annual 60-plus points from Lidstrom, but we’d hardly be surprised if he hangs up his skates before the production goes away.
He's off a Norris Trophy season and there's still plenty left in the tank at age 37. Maybe he won't be the best fantasy blueliner this year, but you better have him in your Top 5. There's still no downside to this pick, even at this point in his career.
The new NHL proved to be a perfect fit for this classy vet, as Lidstrom put up a career-best 80 points, bagging his fourth Norris Trophy in the process. Lidstromï¿½s game is finesse over force, but he puts his smarts to good use in the defensive end and you wonï¿½t find a better power-play quarterback in the league. Given the depth Detroit has on the blue line, Mike Babcock might want to consider a cap on Lidstromï¿½s minutes this season ï¿½ for the Red Wings to make a springtime run, Lidstrom needs to be at his peak. If thereï¿½s a reason to take another blueliner ahead of Lidstrom on draft day, itï¿½s escaping us.
He's one of the smartest blueliners around, and the new rules will be cool rules for him, as he's always been more of a finesse player rather than a physical force. Throw in an accurate shot and his uncanny offensive instincts on the power play and you could be looking at 60 points or more in the new game. The year off came at a good time, as Lidstrom looked like a player who needed a break at the end of 2004.