Nick Lidstrom is gone.
While Red Wings fans mourn, the pressure falls squarely on the shoulders of two men - Ken Holland and Henrik Zetterberg. Holland has to try to replace Lidstrom on the roster, while Zetterberg has to replace him as captain.
Neither one is going to have an easy time of it.
Holland's job comes up first. With Lidstrom heading for the Hall of Fame and Brad Stuart going west, he is going to have to fill 45 minutes a game of high-quality play on defense. He's going to have a lot of money to work with - the Red Wings are more than 20 million under the salary cap - but those aren't easy players to replace.
There's a persistant rumor that Detroit has two big free-agent targets on their radar - Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter and New Jersey captain Zach Parise. Suter and Parise have known each other since they were teenagers and reportedly want to play together in the NHL. Detroit has the money, and Suter would certainly help on the blue line, but New Jersey's run into the Stanley Cup finals might make it harder to lure Parise away from the Devils.
No matter what Parise decides, Suter is certainly the premier defensemen in the free-agent class, and has to be Holland's biggest target. He had 46 points last season for the Predators and was a plus-15 in almost 27 minutes.
Even if Suter replaces Lidstrom, as much as any defensman could do that, Holland needs to find someone to fill in for Stuart. Matt Carle probably won't leave the Flyers, and Dennis Wideman doesn't have the defensive presence to fit into Mike Babcock's system.
Jason Garrison of Florida could be a long-term solution after his breakout season, or the Red Wings could go with a veteran fix with Philadelphia's 35-year-old Pavel Kubina.
No matter who Holland picks, he is going to have to find two players while simultaneously signing restricted free-agent Kyle Quincey. He also has to find more scoring - that's where Parise was supposed to fit in - and decide what to do about unrestricted free agents Jiri Hudler and Tomas Holmstrom.
"I believe in our scouts and I believe in our coaches," Holland said. "We wanted Nick to play another year or two, but we'll find a way to keep this team very competitive. We have a lot of pieces already, and we've got a lot of cap space."
Holland's job will be done during the summer. Zetterberg's new role will start at the beginning of training camp. The Red Wings have had two captains in the last 26 seasons - Steve Yzerman and Lidstrom - and they were both absolute locks to be first-ballot Hall of Famers.
Zetterberg isn't in that class as a player, so he can't rely on awe to hold the room. Luckily, Zetterberg has 10 years with the Wings, a Stanley Cup ring and the advantage of having worked as Lidstrom's top assistant. That will give him respect from his teammates before he starts his new role.
Of course, they aren't the only ones who will have to adjust. For everyone involved with the Red Wings, from players to fans, it will be very strange to not see Number Five on the ice when the season starts in October.