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Lidstrom Talks Red Wings Prospects, Rebuild

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Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings vice-president Nicklas Lidstrom was talking about the team's future when he was an intermission guest on the SHL playoff broadcast.

Detroit Red Wings vice-president of hockey operations Nicklas Lidstrom was among those in attendance at Wednesday’s Rogle-Farjestad SHL semifinal game. Lidstrom was an intermission guest on the C More Entertainment broadcast and ended up discussing both the present and future of the club. Kudos to IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) for the translation.

Admitting that the rebuild was still in the painful stages, Lidstom was also allowing that the Wings will be seeking to beef up their lineup over the offseason via the addition of some veteran help.

“You have to go through difficult times,” Lidstrom said. “And you need strong older players around, so we’re looking at bringing in experienced players to show the way for the young guys. You need to compete every day, that’s what we want to teach our young players.”

At the same time, Lidstrom was acknowledging that it’s one thing to want to add these quality players. It’s an entirely different matter meeting the challenge of convincing them to cast their lot with a rebuilding Detroit club.

“We’re fighting with 31 other teams,” Lidstrom said. “It’s difficult to just go out and sign free agents. There’s also the salary cap, so you have to be able to keep players. So it’s about drafting and development, finding players like (rookie sensations Lucas) Raymond and (Moritz) Seider.”

Lidstrom Anxious To See What Hellberg Can Do

The seven-time Norris Trophy winner played in front of some quality goaltenders during his Detroit days. Lidstrom is excited by the potential of Swedish netminder Magnus Hellberg. He was recently signed as a free agent by the Red Wings.

“We might be looking at making changes to our goaltending, or at least increase competition,” Lidstrom said. “So he will get the chance to show himself. He’s a good example that we’re looking for players not just in North America but also in Europe.”

Carrying On Detroit’s Swedish Tradition

The Swedish connection to the Red Wings is a long-held tradition. With such talent as Simon Edvinsson, Elmer Soderblom, Theodor Niederbach, William Wallinder and Albert Johansson not far away from making the jump to North America, it clearly will be continuing.

Lidstrom’s suggestion was that it’s mere coincidence there are so many Swedes working their way through Detroit’s prospect pipeline.

“We’re looking for young, skilled players,” Lidstrom said. “A lot of them have happened to be Swedish. Historically we’ve had a lot of Swedes, but we’re just looking to build with good players.”

Wednesday, Lidstrom was at the rink to check out Wallinder (Rogle) and Johansson (Farjestad).

“They’ve both taken steps forward from the start of the season,” Lidstrom said. “They’re getting a lot of ice time, playing in important situations, so they’re taking steps.”

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