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Retirement for Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom?

Apr 18, 2010, 12:30 PM EDT

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It didn’t really hit me until today, but really, the Detroit Red Wings are a salary cap puzzle after this season. For instance: they only have six forwards (currently playing) under contract next season; the rest will come from free agency, re-signings or their farm system.

The biggest question is: what does the future hold for Nicklas Listrom? (And, to a lesser extent, what about The Human Goalie Eclipse, Tomas Holmstrom?)

I’ve already said my piece(s) about Lidstrom: I think that he still “has it” and absolutely should not retire; Lidstrom is on record of “not thinking about it until the playoffs are over.” I will state, again, that Lidstrom might not threaten the 70-point mark any longer but he’s still a great point producer (and most importantly) an absolute rock in his own end. So, obviously, the ball is in Lidstrom’s court. I’d be stunned if the legendary Swede decides to hang them up.

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Now, as far as the legendary Swedish backside – Holmstrom’s – that’s another question entirely. Here is a telling quote from Holmstrom about a week ago, when it was announced that he would be the Detroit Red Wing’s nominee for the Masterton Memorial Trophy (which, more or less, is awarded to a player who goes through something semi-horrible like injury or family stress.)

And it’s because of that role Holmstrom was nominated for the Masterton Memorial Trophy, given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

“For sure when you’re hurt it’s not fun,” Holmstrom, 37, said. “The last two years, the two hernia surgeries, it was tough.

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Considering Holmstrom’s unique skill (any time another player puts up a goalie-befuddling screen it’s almost inevitable that his name will come up) it’s amazing that he’s only making $2.25 million per season. My guess is that if Holmstrom wants to make a big payday, he could probably do it.

But that brings with it two big ‘ifs.’ If he wants to retire and if he would ever leave Detroit. The Red Wings have a New York Yankees’ pinstripe effect; when someone puts on the Winged Wheel, they often play over their head. Even Todd Bertuzzi seems to exhibit something resembling a pulse in those distinct red jerseys.

Still, if you put a gun to my head and asked me – point blank – I would say that Lidstrom will be a Red Wing next season and Holmstrom won’t. But what will actually happen with Detroit’s two distinct Swedish talents? The playoffs could hold a lot of those answers and it’s quite possible neither one have made their minds up yet. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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