As a player for two decades with the Detroit Red Wings, Nicklas Lidstrom won four Stanley Cups and seven Norris Trophies. He was the first European player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy and the first European captain to lift the Stanley Cup.
Along the way, Lidstrom also ended up earning himself a unique nickname – the Perfect Human.
Can the Perfect Human become the Perfect Vice President of Hockey Operations?
Steve Yzerman’s advice? Give it time.
“That remains to be seen,” Red Wings GM Yzerman said, tongue firmly planted in cheek. “He had to earn the other one. He just wasn’t given it as the perfect human being. Now he’s got to earn the other one.
“I’m sure he will.”
In fact, Yzerman is so certain of it that he hired his longtime teammate, someone he affixed the description of the best player he’d ever played with – to be his VP of hockey ops as the Red Wings continue their rebuild.
UPDATE: Steve Yzerman today announced that the team has hired Nicklas Lidstrom as vice president of hockey operations.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) January 11, 2022
For his part, Lidstrom’s approach is that he’s going to take this time and learn all he can about life on the front office side of team building.
Lidstrom All Set To Be Diving In
“I just kind of wanting to get my feet wet here,” Lidstrom explained. “I’m wanting to get involved and get to know the organization not from the outside but on the inside. Get more knowledge of how everything works. I’m really excited to get this opportunity to do that.”
Like a lot of folks in this time of COVID-19, Lidstrom will be working remotely. He will continue to reside in Vasteras, Sweden while filling his new role with his old club.
Yzerman is viewing Lidstrom’s role being a little bit of this and a little bit of that. He’ll start out as a jack of all trades, much like Yzerman did when he first entered Red Wings management. And like Yzerman did, the Detroit GM expects that Lidstrom will become a master of all of these tasks.
“He’ll be involved in all aspects of hockey operations,” Yzerman said. “Our job ultimately is watching hockey, whether it’s the Detroit Red Wings, Grand Rapids Griffins, pro hockey in North America or Europe, amateur hockey.
“He can be a resource, not only for myself, but for Shawn Horcoff, Danny Cleary, Nik Kronwall, to oversee our player development, for our coaching staff in Detroit, for our coaching staff in the American League.”
Lidstrom is BACK‼️
— NHL Alumni (@NHLAlumni) January 11, 2022
Yzerman will be asking Lidstrom to provide his insights and opinions on all areas of the team’s development.
“He’ll be involved in all aspects of my doing my job of being in charge and running the Detroit Red Wings,” Yzerman said.
Management Role Was Always On Lidstrom’s Mind
From the moment he announced his retirement as a player in 2012, Lidstrom always knew in the back of his mind that this day would come.
“Steve and I had discussions over the last month or so about joining the team again,” Lidstrom said. “It’s been on my mind, too, to be honest for a little bit of time.
“When the opportunity presented itself I thought it was good timing for me and my family to join the Wings again.”
Joining the Red Wings in 1991, Lidstrom went on to become a generational NHL star, earning enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame for his playing exploits. Where will his career in management lead him? He’s happy to just get to work and let the hockey universe unfold as it will.
“To be honest, I haven’t thought that long-term at all,” Lidstrom said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting my feet wet and kind of learning as we go here.
“So I haven’t even thought about or even considered down the road, what’s gonna happen down the road. I’m just happy I’m stepping in with the Wings again. I’m just gonna take it from there.
“We’ll see where that leads me. It’s hard to predict now where this is all going to end up.”