McCosky has an article today about the sudden salary cap crunch that the Wings find themselves in, or at least will, shortly.
He makes an interesting statement off the bat regarding The Perfect Human:
Holland could be looking at rebuilding half the team this summer, and all that’s at stake there is whether captain Nicklas Lidstrom comes back for another season. Because understand this, if Holland doesn’t put together a team for next season that Lidstrom feels can compete for the Stanley Cup, he’s packing up the family and moving back to Sweden.
Nobody can rightly expect Lidstrom, at age 40, to stick around for a rebuilding year and Holland understands that. But Lidstrom would likely stay if he thought there was another run at the Cup to be had.
What Nick chooses to do for next year of course has a huge impact on what Kenny does next year. Nick makes $7.45 million–if he retires, that’s a ton of cap space freed up. And there’s also the possibility that he could come back for another year or two at a much lower salary, something that wouldn’t surprise me. Nick’s a millionaire several times over at this point, and I think he’ll take an Yzerman-style pay cut, when The Captain returned for 1.25 million in order to keep the team competitive.
And that’s what bothers me about McCosky’s second statement that Nick virtually is certain to return to Sweden if the team isn’t competitive next year. McCosky sounds convinced that Lidstrom wouldn’t tolerate a rebuilding year. But that’s the beauty of a Ken Holland constructed team–there really never is any rebuilding. They just quietly infuse and reenforce the lineup with younger players, who are mostly all “overripe” in the first place. Rebuilding insinuates tearing down the entire structure of the team and stocking it with high draft picks. The Wings shouldn’t have to do that for a long, long time when you look at the players they still have under contract, along with some of the younger kids who are working their way up.
But what really gets me is… really? McCosky honestly thinks that Lidstrom would bail on the Wings simply if they don’t have a clear shot at the Cup? He wouldn’t stick around to mentor young defensemen? He’d just up and leave because he’s not happy with the roster? It’s ridiculous. He’s already made it quite clear that when he retires, it’s going to be because he doesn’t feel he can play up to the high level that he expects from himself. Nothing about the quality of the team.
Like I said, I think he’ll come back next season, albeit for much less than he’s making now. He understands the cap crunch. And in terms of play, well, we’re seeing right now that he can crank up the offense when needed, and we’ve all known he’s still invaluable defensively.
What does everyone think? Will Nick be back next season or will he hang up the skates?