Red Wings: What does Lidstrom’s return mean for Detroit?

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This afternoon, the Detroit Red Wings announced the hiring of of the legendary defenseman, Nicklas Lidstrom, as the vice president of hockey operations.

Lidstrom is not just one of the best defensemen in Red Wings history, he’s one of the best in the NHL. The Swedish defender spent 20 seasons in Detroit before retiring in 2012. During his time, he collected plenty of accolades, including six Norris Trophies, a Conn Smythe and four Stanley Cups.

Following his retirement, Lidstrom moved back to Sweden, where he was a regular feature on Sweden’s hockey media. The “perfect man” was also still a member of the organization after his retirement, joining the scouting department the same year he retired.

Lidstrom will continue living in Sweden.

What Does This Mean For Detroit?

With such a tightly-run ship in Detroit, it’s hard to say exactly what will change as a result of the hiring.

For starters, it’s just a perfect PR move. Lidstrom is synonymous with Red Wings hockey, and he’s joining an equally heralded figure in Steve Yzerman in the front office. Whether or not he makes a big difference in his new role, it’s quite exciting to have two of the most iconic figures in franchise history leading the way.

Lidstrom’s biggest affect on the organization in an larger role will likely be in the scouting department. That’s where he’s most familiar – he’s spent ten years in the department, focusing primarily on Europeans.

The Red Wings already have a pretty Euro-centric history in the draft, especially of late. Detroit’s two rookie stars, Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond, were both Euros (Seider from Germany and Raymond from Sweden), and their first selection in the 2021 was a Swedish defenseman. Again, with an organization has tight-lipped as Detroit, it’s impossible to say what foes on behind the scenes, but it would make sense if Lidstrom has had strong influence on the team’s draft picks.

With Lidstrom sticking in Europe, he’ll continue to have a front-row seat for all of the young talent developing in the continent. Don’t be shocked if the Red Wings continue to lean on European prospects in the draft.

With Lidstrom and Yzerman leading the front office, Detroit has one of the strongest leadership groups in the league. As the Red Wings continue to claw their way out of the arduous rebuild, fans can take solace in the fact that the organization is in good hands.

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