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12-08-2005, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by doublejack
I agree with much of what you posted, but I think Lidstrom is declining faster than Chelios. Cheli's Norris finalist performance in 02 was exceptional. Had he won he would be the only defenseman to claim that trophy across 3 decades. And this was a year after he had major knee surgery, most 36 year olds would have quit after blowing out their knee. Instead Cheli came back 90-some days after the surgery. It was simply amazing. And at 44 he's still an NHL caliber player.

I'll eat my hat if Lidstrom is a Norris finalst again, or if he's still playing in the NHL at 44. Lidstrom is still a good defenseman, a top pairing guy for sure. But he's not in the top 10 in the NHL anymore. He's not even the best D-man on the team imo, despite his flaws I believe it's Schneider. Nick is not worth a 2y/$8 million deal imo. How good will he be next season? Or the year after that? We don't know. Lidstrom is clearly (to me anyway) not the player he was in 03-04. How much further will he degrade? It's a big risk to make that kind of offer. I would go 1y at a time for something in the 3-3.5M range tops.

There might be a team or two who will offer more money, but Nick will not be the hot commodity he used to be. He's getting old & slow, he's lost his shot and there are much more attractive defenseman to be had. I think teams are learning from Boston's error on Leetch and won't repeat it. I would love to see Nick back next year, but if it's not for an acceptable salary then it would be wiser to move on and spend the money on a younger franchise player.

As far as the Wings not being a playoff team without Nick, I agree and disagree. If Kronwall & Fischer were playing then we could get by without Nick. But with the situation being what it is yes we need him, and we need him badly.
How is Lidstrom declining faster than Chelios? Production wise Chris' numbers were cut in half and he had to retool his game from a three zone defenseman to basically a one zone defenseman in order to remain competitive. It was during that retool that we landed him.

Mathieu is putting up shinier numbers but he's not even close to being as dependable in his own end as Nick is. Sure Nick is making mistakes now and then, but the only reason we notice is that he's never made mistakes before. He still makes far fewer mistakes than just about anyone else out there. He's way too smart to become ineffective and IMO could easily transition his role lower over the years as his body dictates ala Larionov and Chelios.

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