Despite a report on Swedish website HockeyExpressen.se that suggested otherwise, Detroit Red Wings forward Thomas Holmstrom will return to the winged wheel next season or not return at all.
“It’s playing in Detroit, or nowhere else,” the unrestricted free agent told the Detroit News, putting rumours to rest.
Although uncertain if he’ll be ready for the grind of a 16th NHL season, the 39-year-old Holmstrom is training, as usual, in preparation to play a full an NHL schedule.
“I appreciate Kenny giving me this time to think about things,” Holmstrom said of Red Wings GM Ken Holland. “I’m training, I’m working out. But a lot of it depends on my health, my knees.”
The Red Wings signed younger forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Jordin Tootoo in free agency. Though thin on defence, Detorit has 15 NHL-ready forwards on its roster, even without Holmstrom.
Long regarded for his ability to bang in goals in front of the opponents’ net and cause havoc during the power-play, Holmstrom’s offensive production has diminished in the last two seasons.
The five-time 20-goal scorer had only 11 goals and 13 assists in 74 games played in 2011-12.
“If I play my game, play my role, I know I can help this team,” Holmstrom told the newspaper. “It’s great to see Sammy (Samuelsson) back; he’s going to help our team. And you need a guy like Tootoo, a disturber, a guy who can get in the other team’s face. Those guys will help.”
Last week Holland spoke about Holmstrom’s status this summer.
“Nobody knows more than Homer how hard he’s worked, how hard he’s competed and how he goes to all the hard areas, for over 1,000 games, since 1996,” Holland told the Detroit News. “(But) if we don’t move younger people in, we’re going backwards.”
Will Thomas Holmstrom re-sign with the Detroit Red Wings or retire?