Detroit Red Wings Welcome Return of Henrik Zetterberg

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MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 26: Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on March 26, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-2. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Veteran Detroit Red Wings forward and team captain Henrik Zetterberg announced last week that he will return for the 2018-19 season. The Swede will turn 38 in October and will be one of the elder statesmen on the team. Johan Franzen is currently the oldest member on the team at this time.

Zetterberg told the Detroit Free Press last Wednesday that he would come back for his 16th season with the club. He was undecided at the end of the season because of back problems, but those seem to be behind him.

The 2008 Stanley Cup winner has three seasons left on his 12-year deal that he signed in 2009. However, a herniated disc in his back in 2014 cast his future into doubt. However, he’s said that he is ready to go for the next season.

“I’m in training and looking forward to a better season,” Zetterberg told the Free Press last week.

His return to the team will be helpful to a young squad with little expectations this season.

Henrik Zetterberg and His Veteran Presence

Zetterberg is the Red Wings captain and brings a steadying influence to the team. He’s seen it all in his long career from the depths to the heights. The 2006 Olympic gold medalist has been a rock since he first donned the “C” in 2012-13.

He’s been influential to players like Dylan Larkin, who many think will be the next team captain. Zetterberg has taught Larkin to be a more complete player that plays a full 60 minutes.

Larkin will be entrusted with the team’s future and Zetterberg is making sure that Detroit is in good hands. The younger players would do well to soak in all of his knowledge in what time he’s got left in his playing career.

Durability

Zetterberg played in all 82 games over the last three seasons despite various injuries. He’s played in at least 75 games a total of 10 times in his career.

Head coach Jeff Blashill can count on his captain to be in the lineup despite some production issues the last season. Zetterberg only scored 11 goals last year and last topped 20 goals in the 2011-12 season.

However, he’s been a solid playmaker that’s topped 25 assists per season since his sophomore campaign. He is also one of the most intelligent players on the roster and a key cog on defense. His average time on ice has been over 19 minutes a season since 2006-07.

Hockey is a hard game and Zetterberg puts in a lot of hard minutes despite his increasing age. He has been a true workhorse for Detroit.

Milestones

Henrik Zetterberg stands 40 points shy of the 1,000-point mark at 960. The 2006 IIHF World Champion has topped 40 points in every one of his 16 NHL seasons.

It’s likely that the Red Wings are in line to be near the bottom of the league. However, Zetterberg wil give the fans something to look forward to in a long season.

He has been a fixture for the Wings for nearly two decades and will be given a great ovation when he does hit 1,000 points.

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