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Published: Monday, 6/20/2011

Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom to return to Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.

DETROIT — Nicklas Lidstrom is coming back for a 20th season with the Detroit Red Wings.

The 41-year-old Lidstrom confirmed in a text message Monday that he had agreed to a one-year deal worth $6.2 million, same as last year. The team also scheduled a conference call with Lidstrom and general manager Ken Holland.

Lidstrom is a Norris Trophy finalist for the 11th time in 13 seasons. If he wins the award for being the NHL’s top defenseman — it would be his seventh — on Wednesday, he will match Doug Harvey’s total and trail Bobby Orr’s record by only one.

He is also a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and the Mark Messier Leadership Award.

The soft-spoken Swede leads with his actions.

He had 62 points last season — surpassing his production from each of the previous two years — to rank second among NHL defenseman and to become the first 40-year-old defenseman with 60-plus points in an NHL season.

Lidstrom’s 6-foot-2, 190-pound body is chiseled thanks to a year-round workout that includes exercise before practice and after games along with a sensible diet that includes only occasional slices of pizza and fast food.

The four-time Stanley Cup champion decided last summer to put retirement on hold, pausing only because his oldest son started school in Sweden last autumn, and signed a $6.2 million, one-year deal.

Next season, he will lead a defensive corps that includes Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart and a roster that should give the team a shot to earn a spot in a 20th straight postseason berth — a streak that started when Lidstrom was a rookie.

The Red Wings will attempt to acquire a standout defenseman this offseason with at least some of the $6 million freed up when Brian Rafalski retired last month with a year left on his contract. Bobby Orr's record by only one.

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