Detroit Red Wings hire Nicklas Lidstrom as VP of hockey operations

Well, this is something. Detroit Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced that he had hired his long-time friend Nicklas Lidstrom to be the franchise’s vice president of hockey operations.

This is excellent news not only for Yzerman and the fans but also for the team’s principal owner, Christopher Ilitch. Sure, at 51-years old, Lidstrom appears as though he could likely still play at an elite level and make the perfect defense partner and mentor to Moritz Seider ( I am kidding… kind of), but this promotion should pay off for the Red Wings in a big way. I anticipate Lidstrom will play a significant role in this franchise turning things around and once again becoming an NHL juggernaut.

The seven-time Norris Trophy, four-time Stanley Cup winner 12-time all-star, spent his entire 20-year playing career with the Detroit Red Wings, similar to Yzerman. Upon retiring in 2012, he returned to live in Sweden but maintained a scouting role with the Red Wings.

The Detroit Red Wings hired Nicklas Lidstrom as vice president of hockey operations.

Lidstrom finished his career as the organization’s all-time scoring defender totaling 1,142 points which also ranks sixth in the history of the NHL behind Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Al MacInnis, Phil Housley, and Larry Murphy. Lidstrom’s plus 450 rating also ranks sixth all-time among defenders. Lidstrom is also one of two players to play 20 NHL seasons and never miss the postseason; the other is Larry Robinson.

Lidstrom, often referred to as ‘the perfect human,’ captained the Detroit Red Wings over the final six seasons of his career following Yzerman’s retirement in 2006.

The Hall Of Fame defender led all European defensemen in scoring and became the first European captain to win a Stanley Cup. The Detroit Red Wings retired his jersey in 2014, and he was enshrined as a first-ballot Hall Of Famer in 2015.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Yzerman mentioned that Lidstrom would assist in”all aspects of hockey operations,” including scouting, coaching decisions, and front office duties with the Detroit Red Wings and their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. Despite being primarily based in Sweden, Lidstrom is expected to make his mark with the franchise similar to his playing days, on the defensive side of things.

“With his career being a Red Wing, I thought it was very important for us. I thought it was a good thing for Nick if he wanted to get back in, to come and join us,” Yzerman said. “Obviously, I played with him for the majority of his career, and we had a lot of success together. I not only relied on him to lead us on the ice; he was always a great teammate and resource for me as the captain of the team to bounce ideas.

“So for the Detroit Red Wings, it was an opportunity not only to bring a former great player in, but a first-class person with great character and tremendous knowledge and a wealth of knowledge of the game. For me, it was a very easy decision and a great opportunity. I know Nick will add tremendous value to our organization.”

Lidstrom mentioned that getting more involved had been on his mind for quite some time. Last November, Yzerman, and Lidstrom spoke about a potential reunion while at the Hall Of Fame induction ceremony.

I don’t know if I am being naive or a homer, but I don’t see how this franchise doesn’t suddenly become a constant Stanley Cup threat in the next few years. I just don’t see Yzerman and Lidstrom failing. It’s safe to say that the darkest days of the rebuild are behind us, and I am excited to see where this regime takes us.