What’s the hold up? The Nicklas Lidstrom Edition

Throughout the week, I’ll be exploring a handful of upcoming free agents and trying my best to predict their chances of being re-signed, culminating with what I feel is a fairly accurate peek at the 2010-11 Red Wings. To the surprise of absolutely no one, I’ve already got my chart ready to go, have the numbers in a spreadsheet and it’s just about ready to share with you fine folks. 
The quintessential leader of the Detroit Red Wings, Nicklas Lidstom is still — I don’t care what anyone says — the best defender on the Wings, if not the planet. Sure he’s had an off-year for Nick Lidstrom, but if you try to tell me that Mike Green or Zdeno Chara are better defenders, I’ll kick you in the shins.

Despite the early season goal-scoring slump, Lidstrom has come alive on the score sheet and has always delivered rock solid defense. Look for all the flaws you want, the fact is the Detroit Red Wings would be so jailsexed without Nick Lidstrom.

That said, he’s earned the right to go out on his own terms. If this season is his swan song, I bid him farewell, bow down, and thank him for his dedication to the team. Somehow, I think he’s enough of a battler where he won’t be pleased with how this season has gone: not only personally, but also in the standings.

Like I said, briefly, in the Lebda vs. Meech post, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that Lidstrom gets re-signed. I think he’ll take a massive discount to do so because, like Steve Yzerman before him, he knows that a few million dollars off of his contract makes creating the team around him that much better.

Due to Nicklas Lidstrom’s age, I feel like he’s in one year territory. If you’re not familiar, every contract you sign after turning 35 counts against the cap no matter what happens to you: injury, retirement, demotion, etc. Just to be safe, I think Ken Holland and Co sign Lidstrom to one year deals until he decides he’s done. If he feels he’s got two years left in him, awesome, sign him up to a two year deal.

My feeling is that Nick signs a one-year deal and re-evaluates his future after 2011. If it ends with a Stanley Cup, it’d make five for him — and what better way to go out: frolicking among the greats. Money is going to be somewhere between 4 and 5 million, I bet. For argument’s sake, I’ll call it $4.5M.