Glimpsing at the Red Wings' future

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Thumbnail image for lidstrom2.jpgFor the most part, the reactions to the Detroit Red Wings losing to the San Jose Sharks have been subdued. Pretty hard to argue with two runs to the Stanley Cup Finals, one Cup victory and approximately a generation of playoff runs, right?

Yes, the Red Wings are getting older. The NHL is a young man’s league now and this team is stocked nicely but with mostly 30-year-olds and graybeards. Here’s a quick look at the Red Wings 2010-11 salary cap situation. Figures are taken from and numbers are rounded up in some cases for the sake of simplicity and sanity.

Detroit Red Wings 2010-11 Salary Cap Commitments

Forwards (7 out of 12): Datsyuk ($6.7 million), Zetterberg (6.08), Franzen (3.95), Filppula (3), Hudler (2.88), Cleary (2.8), Draper (1.58)

Defense (5 out of 6): Rafalski (6), Stuart (3.75), Kronwall (3), Ericsson (900k), Kindl (883k)

Goalies (2 out of 2): Osgood (1.42), Howard (717k)

Total commitments: $43.67 million

Cap space if the cap stays the same as the 09-10 season: $13.14 million

Noteworthy free agents: Lidstrom, Holmstrom, Bertuzzi, Helm

The two biggest free agents are Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom, although Darren Helm can often be a catalyst for the team. Even Todd Bertuzzi – for all the times I’ve mocked him – could come back since he’s finally, you know, using his size to do something. Lidstrom and Holmstrom could cost the team anywhere from $8 million to $10 million against the cap, so the Red Wings look like they’ll be a fairly similar squad.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any questions. Will Lidstrom and/or Holmstrom hang up their skates? Can Jimmy Howard deliver again after a surprise breakout season? Will their management decide that the current setup peaked and possibly do some minor rebuilding?

Either way, it doesn’t seem like the Red Wings are ready to panic and I don’t see anything wrong with that.