NHL teams are not permitted to conduct any transactions until the new collective bargaining agreement officially goes on the books — hopefully, a process that will conclude by Wednesday. So, even if unrestricted free agent Tomas Holmstrom wanted to re-sign with the Detroit Red Wings, the door would not be open for him yet.
But the reality is that Holmstrom, 39, will follow Nicklas Lidstrom into retirement.
Holmstrom said back in September that he would not play for another team, so Detroit’s depth up front may make up his mind for him. The Red Wings currently have 16 forwards under contract for the 2013 season, including recently-signed Jordin Tootoo, an abrasive grinder who could help fill Holmstrom’s role.
Wings GM Ken Holland sat down with Holmstrom after the Red Wings’ playoff exit last summer, but no conclusive decision was reached at that time.
Holmstrom has played his entire 15-year NHL career with the Red Wings, recording 243 goals, 287 assists, 769 minutes and winning four Stanley Cups. With Lidstrom calling it quits prior to the lockout, Holmstrom is one of two remaining active members of the Red Wings’ back-to-back Cup winners from 1996-97 and ’97-98 (Mike Knuble is the other).
In case you’re wondering about the potential cap hit of a Holmstrom return, he made $1.875 million last season.