Nicklas Lidstrom should not retire this year

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lidstrom2.jpgNicklas Lidstrom isn’t going to think about retirement – one way or the other – until the playoffs are over, according to a story written by Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.

Lidstrom, 39, is in the last year of his contract. Although general manager Ken Holland and Mike Babcock have made it clear they want and expect him to return next season, Lidstrom said he wouldn’t make any decision about his future until after the season.

“It’s more a matter of looking forward to the playoffs,” he said. “When you’ve been in so many playoff years and rounds, you just look forward to it. The intensity picks up, the fans get into it, it’s a lot of fun.”

Count me among the people who think that the genius Swede has plenty left in the tank. Many people will look at his “pedestrian” 49 points and the Red Wings’ on-and-off struggles and think that Lidstrom lost a step. Maybe that’s true, but I look at that drop a little differently; it’s more like going from “superhuman” to “alien life form good” instead of great to decent.

He still logs big minutes, plays great shutdown defense and scores a nice amount of points. The one point in favor of retirement is if Lidstrom himself is bothered even by the slightest slippage. One of the saddest things in sports is seeing a once-great player devolve into a shell of himself. I don’t think there’s much of a risk of that, but you never know.

Then again, if Lidstrom were to take a generous pay cut (say, a $5 million cap hit instead of his current $7.45 million), the Red Wings would have about $12 million to spend on improving their depth. By coming back for another year, Lidstrom could experience another season on a dominant Detroit team. Plus, there’s … you know, the money.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.