This promises to be an interesting summer for Ken Holland.
The Detroit GM would like to make a splash in free agency, but the talent pool is shallow. He’d like to add some youth to an aging roster, but that’s easier said than done. He’d like for captain Nicklas Lidstrom to play one more year, but there’s no guarantee it’ll happen.
In fact, Holland is waiting on Lidstrom right now.
“Yeah, yeah,” Holland told the Detroit Free Press. “I’m hoping Nick is going to do it one more year. But I’ve still got some time to go.”
It’s believed that Holland will meet with Lidstrom over the next few weeks to decide the 42-year-old’s future. It’s imperative a decision is reached prior to the start of free agency (Jul. 1), so the GM can figure out:
— How much of his cap room (currently at $20 million) will be allotted to Lidstrom, who made $6.2 million on each of his last two deals.
— What to do with UFAs Jiri Hudler, Tomas Holmstrom and Brad Stuart.
— What to do with RFAs Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader and Kyle Quincey.
— How much he and head coach Mike Babcock are willing to rely on former 1st/2nd round picks making entry-level money (Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyqvist, Landon Ferraro, Tomas Tatar).
— If 2010 first-round pick Riley Sheahan is ready to make the NHL after a one-game trial in April.
So yeah, plenty of issues facing Holland.
Not that he thinks they’ll be too difficult to overcome.
“You wake up every day, and you’re nervous. It’s such a fine, fine line between finishing fifth and finishing ninth,” he explained. “[But] certainly with a tweak here or there, a couple of good things happen to us this summer, we make a couple of moves, there is no reason we can’t contend in the West.”
The big move, though, is getting Lidstrom back.