The Detroit News' Chris McCosky is reporting that Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom has decided to return for at least one more season. The move was announced by the Red Wings on Monday, and Lidstrom's deal is reportedly worth close to $6 million.
Lidstrom's decision to come back was first reported by Ansar Khan, who mentioned that a contract extension should be finalized by the Red Wings this week. Lidstrom's contract was set to expire this offseason, allowing him the option of just moving on and retiring if he wanted. In the end, though, the six-time Norris Trophy winner opted to keep playing.
The fact that a decision was made this early is good news for the Red Wings. For starters, all uncertainty surrounding Lidstrom's future is gone, allowing Ken Holland and the rest of the front office to focus on other things, such as preparing for the draft and deciding what to do with other upcoming free agents. Also, Lidstrom's contract will help dictate exactly what the Wings will have the cap space to do in the offseason, so it's good that Holland and company can start finalizing some of those plans right now.
As Khan points out, in addition to Lidstrom coming back, most of the Wings' other free agents are also expected to be re-signed. The team won't be a whole lot different from the one we saw on the ice this past season, except Jiri Hudler will be back in Detroit and there could be one or two other new faces on the bottom lines. All in all, though, as long as everyone can stay relatively healthy, the team we saw post-Olympics this year should be what we see next season. If that holds up, then the Red Wings will be back to competing for the top seed in the Western Conference rather than just making sure they are in the playoffs at all, and a big part of that will be that No. 5 is out there patrolling the blue line yet again for Detroit.