Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg is possibly facing retirement as the 37-year-old Swedish forward is dealing with a health issue. It’s possible that Zetterberg won’t be able to suit up for the NHL team to start the upcoming 2018/19 season due to an ongoing issue with his back. General manager Ken Holland recently announced the news on the club’s website and said Zetterberg’s health issues mean he hasn’t been able to train properly during the offseason.
Holland, the rest of the club and the team’s fans obviously hope for the best, but they’ll just have to wait until training camp starts in September to see how healthy the player is. If Zetterberg is able to play it will be his 16th season in the NHL, all with the Red Wings. The back problem isn’t anything new since he had surgery on it in 2014 to fix a ruptured disc. However, he missed just five games in the 2014/15 campaign and has been able to play the full 82-game schedule in each of the last three seasons.
But according to Holland, Zetterberg had some issues with his back last season and although he played the club’s games, he didn’t practice with the squad for the last 10 weeks of the schedule. The news from Holland doesn’t look too good at the moment, especially since he announced on July 1st that he believed his captain would be able to play this year. Zetterberg’s scoring output may have tailed off slightly with age over the past few years, but his leadership skills and experience are essential to the team.
Zetterberg came in second in team scoring last season with 11 goals and 45 assists for 56 points as centre Dylan Larkin led the Red Wings with 63 points. Larkin, who just signed a fiver-year $30 million contract with Detroit, said Zetterberg has played with a lot of pain over the years and believes he’s still the best player on the team. He added that he definitely hopes the veteran can play this year, but understands that his health and future need to be taken into consideration.
Zetterberg told the press at the end of last season that he isn’t thinking about retirement any time soon and he’ll work out in the summer and see how he feels once training camp opens. If for some reason he can’t play in 2018/19, there’s a good chance Zetterberg may have to hang up his skates due to his age and deteriorating back. He’ll turn 38 years old in October. So far, he’s appeared in 1,082 regular-season games and has racked up 960 points on 337 goals and 623 assists.
He’s also played in 137 playoff contests and added another 57 goals and 63 helpers for 120 points. Zetterberg led the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup in 2007/08 and was rewarded for his excellent performance by winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the postseason.