Once they got past the first 20 or so picks in the entry draft, the Red Wings felt the quality of the next 20 or 30 players was comparable. So they figured why not position themselves to get two instead of one.
The Wings, for the third time in six seasons, traded their first-round pick to acquire additional selections. They dealt the 24th overall pick to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the 35th and 48th overall selections in this year’s draft.READ MORE: Detroit Fire Department Passes Out Free Smoke Detectors Following Fatal Fire
That gave Detroit nine selections in the final six rounds, including three in the second round (they also had their original pick at No. 55 and an additional pick in the third round).
The Wings are stocked with promising forwards in their system. They are not as deep on defense, especially if top prospect Brendan Smith makes the jump to the NHL next season.
“It’s hard to find good defensemen,” assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “Numbers-wise in the organization, you’d prefer a defenseman. You can never have enough defensemen. It’s a tough position to play.”
The Wings did the same in 2006, moving the 29th pick to the Phoenix Coyotes for the 41st and 47th picks (Detroit took Cory Emmerton and Shawn Matthias). They also traded down in 2009, sending the 29th pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 32nd and 75th picks (Detroit took Landon Ferraro and Andrej Nestrasil).
–The Red Wings announced on June 20 that six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom will return to play for the team next season.
Lidstrom, 41, had considered joining teammate Brian Rafalski in retirement in the offseason. He instead will return for a 20th season, all with the Red Wings.
The team announced the decision Monday before a scheduled conference call with Lidstrom and general manager Ken Holland. Lidstrom is expected to make around the same $6 million he made this past season.
On June 22, Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy, given annually to the league’s top defenseman, for the seventh time.
The honor ties Lidstrom with Doug Harvey as seven-time winners, one behind Bobby Orr, who holds the record with having been named the league’s top defenseman eight times in his illustrious career.READ MORE: Committee Subpoenas Former MDHHS Director Over Large Separation Agreement With State
Lidstrom scored 62 points, second among all defensemen, including 16 goals. He was also third among defenseman in assists.
Lidstrom, who previously won the top defenseman award from 2001-03 and again from 2006-08, beat Nashville’s Shea Weber and Boston’s Zdeno Chara. again after playing in all 82 games in 2010-11, scoring 16 goals and recording 46 assists. He had scored more goals only twice in his career.
–After Chris Osgood was idled for the second half of the season following surgery for a sports hernia, veteran journeyman Joey MacDonald stepped in and played well as the Red Wings’ backup goaltender.
Now the club must decide by July 1 whether to re-sign MacDonald as the backup to Jimmy Howard. The other options are to re-sign Osgood or seek a veteran free agent.
MacDonald, 31, went 5-5-3, with a 2.58 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. He spent the first half of the season with Grand Rapids (AHL), where he went 10-9-1 with a 2.78 GAA.
“I think Joey would like to be a candidate for that position,” general manager Ken Holland said. “He did a great job for us in the short time he was here.”
If the Wings don’t sign MacDonald to be their backup, they might offer him a two-way contract to be the starter in Grand Rapids and serve as the No. 3 goalie in the organization, getting called up when there is an injury.
Some of the backup goalies slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1 include former Red Wing Ty Conklin (St. Louis), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Toronto), Marty Turco (Chicago) and Alex Auld (Montreal).
The Wings got off to a strong 17-4-2 start on their way to a 20th consecutive playoff appearance, the longest current streak in the four major sports. Despite seemingly annual concerns about their age, they managed to win their 14th division title in the last 19 seasons and reach the 100-point mark for the 11th year in a row, extending their own NHL record. They have had home-ice advantage during the first round of the playoffs in 18 of the last 20 seasons, a remarkable string of consistency.
The Wings had an excellent chance to finish second in the Western Conference but went 5-5-4 in March. They were not as emotionally engaged at home (2-3-2 for the month) and their defensive play suffered. They ended up finishing third in the West, one point behind San Jose. Had they squeezed another point out of the season, home ice might have made the difference in a close, seven-game series against the Sharks.
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