May 31, 2012, 1:08 PM EDT
This morning at Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement press conference, Red Wings GM Ken Holland said, “I’ve been dreading this day since I became manager in 1997.”
And you believed him when he said it. After all, how does one replace, as Holland put it, the “most valuable player of his era”?
Well, one doesn’t. But Holland still has to try.
Ryan Suter is usually the first candidate to come up. The 27-year-old Predators defenseman can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and if he chooses to leave Nashville, Detroit is the most rumored destination.
However, if the Red Wings are interested in Suter, they won’t be the only team. In Philadelphia, the Flyers may be forced to move on without their own captain and Norris Trophy-winning defenseman, Chris Pronger. The 37-year-old suffered a serious concussion this season and there’s talk he could be forced to retire.
How important is Pronger to the Flyers? Shortly after they were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, Flyers owner Ed Snider said if Pronger (and defenseman Andrej Meszaros) had been healthy, they “would have won the whole thing.”
Philly d-man Kimmo Timonen, 37, is also approaching the end of his career.
If Holland can’t get Suter, he could always inquire about Nashville’s other top defenseman, Shea Weber, who can become an unrestricted free agent the following summer. The Preds won’t let Weber, 26, walk away for free though.
Another option is Justin Schultz, the 21-year-old college star who can become unrestricted if he doesn’t sign with Anaheim, the team that drafted him in 2008.
There’s also 23-year-old Brendan Smith waiting in the wings.
- Playoffs Tonight: Kings look for ‘killer instinct’ against Sharks 0
- Brother says Patrick Roy will be Avs’ head coach 5
- Video: Controversy colors Blackhawks goal, disallowed score 21
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago 58
- Video: Viktor Stalberg returns after head-first sprawl into boards 2
- Brown, Toews, Alfredsson up for Messier Leadership Award 9
- Playoffs Tonight: Blackhawks look to ‘ramp up our intensity’ vs Red Wings 13
- Report: Patrick Roy a candidate for Avalanche head coaching job 9
- Senators’ OT hero Greening had fiberglass pieces removed from face 4
- Discuss: Senators win Game 3 in double overtime 36
- Alex ‘they wanted Game 7′ Ovechkin to address media today before heading to Worlds (110)
- Question for commenters: What’s the hardest team to support? (95)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Bryzgalov thinks Stalin did a good job, wishes Philadelphia wasn’t so old, and believes poor people don’t want to work (80)
- McPhee says lack of power plays ‘didn’t feel right’; Torts says Washington is ‘whining’ (70)
- Wings stun Hawks again, take 2-1 series lead
- Posnanski: Once the best, Pujols now irrelevant
- Sports world keeps eye on Oklahoma tornado
- PBT: Vogel downplays war of words with LeBron
- HBT: Camera catches Marlins' Sanabia with spitball
- PBT: Howard reportedly frustrated with D'Antoni
- PBT: Durant, Thunder send support to tornado victims
- Play Video: Highlights: Red Wings top Blackhawks in Game 3
- Play Video: Cleary: 'We won't be exchanging Christmas cards'
- Play Video: 'Hawks potential tying goal waved off
- Play Video: Blackhawks score on controversial play
- Play Video: Blackhawks bring the pain
- Play Video: Red Wings and BlackHawks fighting for control