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Detroit Red Wings

Lebda And Lilja Make Lidstrom Look Limber

Detroit Red Wings

When Detroit allowed both Brett Lebda and Andreas Lilja to leave, there were questions about whether Nik Lidstrom’s 1 year contract was worth it. Lidstrom was given a $6.5m 1 year deal, whilst Lebda and Lilja were both offered deals they refused.

It appears, just a few games into the season, that the decision made by Ken Holland, was right on the money.

GP G A Pts PIM +/- Shots
Lidstrom 7 1 7 8 0 +4 20
Lebda 3 0 0 0 4 0 0
Lilja 5 0 1 1 4 -1 2

I certainly know who I’d want on my team. Sure he’s older, and gets more ice time per game than Lilja and Lebda, but there’s no denying that Nik Lidstrom was worth the 1 year deal. Rafalski, Stuart, Kronwall and Ericsson look like decent and tough defencemen, so I’m not too worried about the depth of the roster. Even after injuries to Ericsson and Rafalski, both Janik and Kindl have stepped in and played some really good hockey. Kindl could maybe do with some more AHL time, as he’s a little too eager to please and makes a couple of mistakes, but in all, there’s not a lot of complaining.

The Wings are currently 5-1-1, which is definitely a start not to be sniffed at. They’re rocking the best penalty kill in the league (91.7%), and have one of the highest shot averages, as well as one of the lowest shots against averages. All in all, it’s pretty good to be a Red Wings fan right now.

There’s always that worry, when your team lets go of a 3rd line defencemen that you might have missed a trick. Wings fans will be well aware of the Kyle Quincey episode, where Detroit decided to favour Chelios rather than Quincey, and as such, he was claimed off waivers by the LA Kings. As soon as this happened, Quincey became a regular defencemen for both LA and then Colorado, where he’s posted 38 pts and 29 pts in the last two years. This is tough to see as a Wings fan, as you wonder about the younger players motivation when they see this. A guy who’s well into his 40’s being preferred over a promising defensive prospect.

Luckily, it appears this is a rarity, and the emergence of Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Ericsson, and Darren Helm certainly gives hope to the Wings fans who like to see some talent being nurtured and introduced to the NHL at the right time. After all, it takes time to figure out a players strengths and weaknesses, and you wouldn’t want to draft a player and thrust him into the NHL without him being fully ready (or you end up with Patrik Stefan all over again!). Sometimes it takes longer to prepare a player, and sometimes a players is just naturally gifted like ‘Old man’ Lidstrom, and can play nearly 1,500 games in less than 18 seasons.

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