The Detroit Red Wings announced today that Nicklas Lidstrom has agreed to a one-year contract for the 2011-12 season. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the one-year deal will be worth $6.2 million, the same amount he received last season.
Next season will mark the impeccable 41-year-old defenseman’s 20th season in the NHL. There was a little bit of concern that Brian Rafalski’s surprising retirement might sway Lidstrom to do the same, but those worries can be put to bed. (In fact, the Red Wings seemingly used Rafalski’s departure to plead with Lidstrom to return, according to various accounts of his press conference.)
Despite his age, Lidstrom’s deal might rank as a big bargain once again. It would have been reasonable if Lidstrom asked for more money considering his crucial status to the team – even to this day – and the fact that he earned yet another Norris Trophy nomination. (We will find out if he wins it over Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara at the 2011 NHL Awards on Wednesday.)
The Red Wings now have $48.09 million committed to 17 players, according to CapGeek.com. If reports of a $64 million salary cap ceiling are correct, that means that Detroit GM Ken Holland will have a little under $16 million to address 3-6 roster spots (not counting ones that might be covered by players in their system). In other words, those seemingly “out there” Brad Richards theories aren’t totally crazy, even if his addition would still be a startling – and for the rest of the league, scary – occurrence.
Either way, Detroit has what really matters: their all-world, age-defying defenseman.