An update on Nicklas Lidstrom’s future plans, plus the latest on Joel Ward, Shane O’Brien, Steve Sullivan and Alexander Radulov.
DETROIT NEWS/DETROIT FREE PRESS/MLIVE.COM: reports Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom intends to take some time before deciding on his future. It’s expected he’ll make his decision by July 1st. His teammates and GM Ken Holland however expressed their wish he returns for another season. Bob Wojnowski suggested Niklas Kronwall could be ready to step in as Lidstrom’s replacement if the latter does retire.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I was very impressed with Kronwall’s performance in this year’s playoffs. While he could never fully replace Lidstrom – hell, who could? – I agree with Wojnowski’s opinion Kronwall is the “heir apparent”.
THE TENNESSEAN: Bryan Mullen reports pending UFA forward Joel Ward’s playoff performance should help him earn a nice raise over the $1.5 million he made this season, but while other clubs are bound to be interested in him, Ward would prefer re-signing with the Predators. Head coach Barry Trotz suggested Ward might not be as good a fit elsewhere as he is with the Predators, noting Carolina’s Erik Cole as an example.
EXAMINER.COM: Jim Diamond reports UFA defenseman Shane O’Brien is hoping to get a new contract with the Predators, though so far he’s had no contract talks with management. Diamond also reported veteran forward Steve Sullivan faces an uncertain future with the Predators. He’ll be meeting with GM David Poile over the course of the next few days to discuss his future with the team. He made $3.75 million this season but could be looking at a major pay cut to remain with the Predators.
NASHVILLE CITY PAPER: David Boclair reports Poile claims Alexander Radulov wants to play for the Nashville Predators next season, claiming he can get out of his KHL contract if he wants. Poile claims he isn’t sure what Radulov intends to do, but that the winger didn’t want the Predators to trade his rights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Radulov was recently asked about his future plans and he appeared to dismiss the possibility of returning to the NHL next season. I believe the Predators will try to re-sign Ward but O’Brien might end up hitting the free agent market. Sullivan’s injury history will be a factor as well as how much of a pay cut he’d be willing to accept and if that salary might interfere with potential plans to bolster the offense.