How Do You Replace A Legend?

Well unfortunately for the Red Wings organization, you don’t.  You cannot replace Nick Lidstrom, it is physically impossible.  The issue that now arises is what do they do to help their blue line, without putting a band-aid on it and actually fix the problem.  The Wings have to make some major impact moves.  Lidstrom retiring gives the Wings an additional $6.2 Million, and with the Salary Cap rising to about $70.3 Million, the Wings will have about $26 Million in cap space.

This is what I would do now:

My Custom Lineup
Zach Parise ($8.000m) / Pavel Datsyuk ($6.700m) / Johan Franzen ($3.955m)
Todd Bertuzzi ($2.075m) / Henrik Zetterberg ($6.083m) / Valtteri Filppula ($3.000m)
Darren Helm ($1.500m) / Paul Gaustad ($2.300m) / P-A Parenteau ($2.500m)
Danny Cleary ($2.800m) / Justin Abdelkader ($1.000m) / Gustav Nyquist ($0.875m)
Patrick Eaves ($1.200m) / Cory Emmerton ($0.533m) / Drew Miller ($0.838m)
Niklas Kronwall ($4.750m) / Ryan Suter ($6.000m) 
Ian White ($2.875m) / Kyle Quincey ($3.250m)
Brendan Smith ($0.875m) / Jonathan Ericsson ($3.250m)
Jakub Kindl ($0.883m) /
Jimmy Howard ($2.250m)
Tomas Vokoun ($1.500m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $70,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $68,992,045; BONUSES: $37,500
CAP SPACE (24-man roster): $1,307,955

The new players in bold are unrestricted free agents that I would like the Wings to target and I think they should add.  Ryan Suter is obviously the best option when making the attempt to replace Lidstrom, and adding a solid defensive forward like Paul Gaustad can also help the issue.  There’s no easy way to fix this problem and Holland certainly has his work cut out for him.  I would also like the Red Wings to pursue Justin Schultz.  Schultz is a highly touted defenseman that was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks, but because of rules under the current CBA, he is going to be an unrestricted free agent in one month, and can sign with any team he wishes if Anaheim cannot sign him.  Having Schultz and Brendan Smith would be good for adding youth into the system, and hopefully Suter and Quincey can help lessen the loss of Lidstrom.  The extra money now allows the Wings to add some more secondary scoring with a guy like P.A. Paranteau, and add a backup goalie that can take some of the pressure off of Jimmy, so he doesn’t have to play as many regular season games.  Regardless of what is going to happen this offseason, with Lidstrom gone, the Wings will take this as an opportunity to revamp the team as they see fit.  $26 Million in cap room is a hell of a lot of money, and while they won’t be able to replace Lidstrom, they can hope to take that money and add pieces to the roster to make the team better.

“Retiring today allows me to walk away from the game with pride, rather than have the game walk away from me.” — Nicklas Lidstrom on his retirement from playing 20 seasons in the NHL

Photo Credit

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