The Detroit Red Wings' legacy years have taken a break lately as the team has failed to clinch a playoff spot in the past two seasons and this is having a huge impact of what captain and superstar forward Henrik Zetterberg wants to do with his career. The veteran forward still has two years left on his current contract with the Red Wings, however, the 37-year-old player left his return open-ended when the regular season ended in April.
“Health is the key,” Zetterberg said. “If I’m not healthy, it’s over.
Zetterberg told reporters he needed to evaluate his health, especially his back, and while many believe Zetterberg would be back next season, his own general manager Ken Holland isn't fully confident about it...
However, agent Gunnar Svensson, who represents Zetterberg, told Swedish publication Hockeybladet, as put into light by the Detroit News, his client remains undecided if he’ll return to action in 2018-19.
“There have been some injury problems with his back. It is impossible to answer how it will be, for it one cannot know what it is now. He simply has not decided,” said Svensson.
In the meantime, Holland has said he expects Zetterberg will report to training camp in September but he’s also uncertain about his status for the upcoming season. Zetterberg is under contract for three more seasons when he signed his 12-year contract back in 2009 (with a salary cap hit of $6.1 million; actual salary is $3.35 million in 2018-19, then $1 million in each of the last two years).
The thing that got fans hoping he would be fine to return - and maybe for the entirety of his deal - is the fact that the Red Wings captain was caught playing golf this summer, a few weeks ago.
A photo of Zetterberg recently playing golf with Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson has some observers feeling encouraged that the Red Wings captain could return to action next season. If Zetterberg claims that his back is too injured for another season with the Wings, the picture could come back to haunt him...
Injuries in recent years have hampered his performance and no one is sure that Zetterberg will be able to finish his current deal. If the veteran forward is not able to play out his contract because of his ailing back, or any other injury for that matter, the Red Wings will be able to place him on long-term injured reserve for cap relief.
His agent continues to put rest an old rumor in Sweden that Zetterberg would return to play in the Swedish Hockey League.
“If Henrik Zetterberg continues to play it will be in Detroit,” Svensson said. “No other issue.”