The Detroit Red Wings can breathe one sigh of relief heading into this off-season, as they have locked up their captain for another year on Tuesday, signing Nicklas Lidstrom to a new deal. Lidstrom was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but the Red Wings were obviously keen not to see that happen on their watch or even have him retire too soon. The deal is reportedly worth $6.2 million, which is a slight pay cut to the $7.4 million that Lidstrom earned in the 2010 season.
Lidstrom, who turned 40 in April, didn't have a standout season in 2010 with the Red Wings, but he still picked up 49 points (9 goals and 40 assists), playing in all 82 games, which was good enough to be 9th in scoring among all defensemen. Lidstrom's production has been tailing off in the past couple seasons, dropping from 70 points in 2008 to 59 points in 2009 and now 49 in 2010.
Defensively, Lidstrom is still known as one of the smarter players in the game, which makes him a valued member of the Red Wings, despite his drop in scoring. He again finished the year well in the black when it came to his plus/minus rating, finishing with a +22 in 2010. That also has taken a bit of a slide in recent years, but you could at least argue that his offense hasn't been supplementing his plus/minus, which should still mean good things for his defense.
In terms of the salary cap, the Red Wings go into this deal having a good portion of their cap space spoken for, but now with this deal on the books, Detroit now has 14 players ready for 2011 at a cap hit of $48.9 million, now ranking them 4th among active cap hits in the league, according to my spreadsheet.
At $6.2 million against the cap, Lidstrom ranks 35th among all signed players for the 2011 in cap value, 9th among all defensemen. Out of those eight defensemen ahead of Lidstrom on the list, Lidstrom outscored seven of them.