Jul 20, 2012, 11:15 AM EDT
The Detroit Red Wings are doing something next season they haven’t done since 1991-92: Play without Nicklas Lidstrom on the blue line.
When Lidstrom called it a career following the season, it ushered in a new and frightening era for the Red Wings. For 20 seasons Lidstrom was the rock on defense. He played the biggest minutes and was simply the greatest defenseman of this era and now the Wings have to find a way to replace his minutes and production. Uh oh.
Without Lidstrom, Detroit’s blue line is a bit suspect. Niklas Kronwall becomes the default No. 1 guy and (likely) will pair up with Ian White on the first pairing. Jonathan Ericsson and recently signed Kyle Quincey shape up to be the next best pairing and one that comes with a lot of questions. Ericsson was, to put it nicely, inconsistent last year while Quincey has a penchant for poorly timed penalties.
Rounding out the potential top-six are a pair of young hopefuls in Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith. Smith comes in with high hopes of being the next big thing on the blue line with an offensively strong game and a University of Wisconsin pedigree. Kindl will get his first big chance to prove himself after getting peeks the last few seasons.
No one can recreate what Lidstrom brought to Detroit and the prospect of moving on without him must be terrifying for Wings fans, but for coach Mike Babcock and GM Ken Holland, figuring things out from this point on will prove to be their biggest challenge.
- Report: Avs, O’Reilly likely headed to arbitration 51
- Armstrong lays out what Blues offered KHL-bound Sobotka 15
- Blues re-sign Ott; Sobotka to KHL? 34
- Devils ink Schneider to reported seven-year, $42 million deal 62
- Big money: Toews, Kane sign eight-year, $84 million extensions 170
- Jets can’t let Kane situation fester much longer 57
- Report: Sidney Crosby will undergo wrist surgery 59
- Kane: ‘I’m a Winnipeg Jet right now… we’ll see what happens’ 51
- McDavid, Eichel top Central Scouting Futures list 14
- Columnist: Mike Green is ‘destined to be traded’ by Caps 40
- Big money: Toews, Kane sign eight-year, $84 million extensions (170)
- Pros and cons of Subban filing for arbitration (67)
- Boyle wanted Big Apple after playing in ‘nontraditional hockey markets’ of Florida, California (63)
- Devils ink Schneider to reported seven-year, $42 million deal (62)
- Report: Sidney Crosby will undergo wrist surgery (59)