But since balloting is based only on the regular season, Lidstrom's three-year Norris winning streak, as well as his bid to win the award for a seventh time, is in jeopardy.
Washington's Mike Green and Boston's Zdeno Chara pose a strong challenge.
Lidstrom is among three Red Wings up for hardware at Thursday night's NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.
Pavel Datsyuk is a finalist for the Hart Trophy (MVP), the Selke (best defensive forward) and the Lady Byng (sportsmanship). Chris Chelios was nominated for the Masterton Trophy (dedication, perseverance).
After a slow start this season, by his standards, Lidstrom finished strong. His 59 points were tied for third among defensemen, and his plus-31 rating was third among blue-liners.
Green led all defensemen with 31 goals and 73 points.
"Nick closed the gap. Did he close the gap enough to win the Norris?" Holland said. "Some get more points, some get more highlight-reel plays, some are more physical. The one advantage he has is he's the complete package at both ends of the rink.
"It's no coincidence that we've never missed the playoffs with Nicklas Lidstrom in uniform."
Only Bobby Orr (eight) and Doug Harvey (seven) have won the Norris more often than Lidstrom.
Datsyuk is the first Red Wings player to be nominated for the Hart since 1994, when Sergei Fedorov won the award.
But Holland noted Datsyuk is in a "tough class" with Washington's Alex Ovechkin, last year's winner who led the league with 56 goals and was second with 110 points, and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, the NHL's leading scorer with 113 points.
Datsyuk scored a career-high 32 goals and matched last season's career-best total of 97 points.
"He deserves to win the Hart, but given all the media hype and the statistics of the other two guys, Pav would surprise me to win," Holland said. "I'd like to think he's going to win the other two awards."
Datsyuk, last year's Selke winner, ranked third in the league in plus-minus rating (plus-34) and was second to Malkin in takeaways (89). He is competing with Mike Richards of Philadelphia and Ryan Kesler of Vancouver.
Datsyuk also is trying to become just the second player to win the Lady Byng three years in a row, joining Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers (1933-35). The other Byng finalists are Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay and Zach Parise of New Jersey.
At 47, Chelios is the second-oldest player in NHL history (Gordie Howe played at 52) and embodies dedication and perseverance.
"It's amazing what he's done at the age of 47 and still competing," Holland said. "To play in the NHL at 47, it's a year-round commitment. You can't just show up a week before training camp and think you're going to play."
Holland expects to meet with Chelios shortly to discuss the veteran defenseman's future. The club is not expected to re-sign Chelios, who says he has no plans to retire and hopes to sign with another team.
The other Masterton finalists are Richard Zednik of Florida and Steve Sullivan of Nashville.
Zednik had his external carotid artery cut from teammate Olli Jokinen's skate blade in a game last season. Sullivan missed half of this season and all of 2007-08 with a back injury.
Edited by Hockeytown12, 17 June 2009 - 09:28 PM.