Next steps for the Red Wings

Updated: April 25, 2012, 2:03 PM ET
By Craig Custance

DETROIT -- In the handshake line minutes after the Nashville Predators ended the Detroit Red Wings' season, Nashville coach Barry Trotz extended his hand to Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom. With it came a message.

"He said 'Please don't retire,'" Lidstrom said Tuesday. "I was kind of flattered to hear that."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was jokingly asked if he had any messages for Ryan Suter when the two shook hands after the game. He didn't.

But it won't be long until Babcock is pressed into full recruiting mode. Detroit will have money to spend and GM Ken Holland and Babcock don't feel that they're too far from returning to contention. The right addition in free agency could be the difference, and Suter is certainly a difference-maker if he decides to test free agency this summer. So is Zach Parise, another potential free agent the Red Wings are expected to pursue if available.

Babcock said he'll do whatever is asked of him to help make it happen.

"I do whatever I'm told that way," Babcock said. "I've always been in those conversations. I got air miles, too. I could fly in."