"The reason it took so long was I wanted to make sure I found the motivation," the 41-year-old Lidstrom said Monday on a conference call.
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.
"Nick had a tremendous years and continues to be one of the elite defenseman in the game," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.
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.
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.