Consider: Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy seven times. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2002 when a Red Wings team loaded with future Hall of Famers rolled the Carolina Hurricanes in five games for the Stanley Cup. Only five defensemen finished with more career points than his 1,216. Along the way he won Olympic gold and a world championship for Sweden.
In all, Lidstrom celebrated four Cups with Detroit, going from an under-appreciated second-pair defenseman during the team’s first title in 1997, to the captain of the team when it defeated Pittsburgh in 2008. The list of what he’s done throughout his career proves to be pretty lengthy.
For now (after failing to land Ryan Suter in free agency), the Red Wings have opted to fill Lidstrom’s absence by re-signing Kyle Quincey and adding Carlo Colaiacovo while hoping Niklas Kronwall can play a steadier game. Reality is, there’s no way to replace one of the greatest defensemen hockey’s seen.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.