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 it seems that while he is set on returning next season, his contract could be cut short nonetheless. 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).
We can understand that Zetterberg wants to make sure he is completely healthy before he starts the year. However, in a stunning report on Monday Wings insider Ansar Khan revealed that there is now serious doubt among some members of the Detroit's organization regarding the future of the Zetterberg as Khan believes there might be a very strong chance that Zetterberg is in fact done as a player in the NHL.
However, is Zetterberg really seriously injured that he prevents him from suiting up for another season? Some pundits doubt it and believe the Wings captain might be lying to his team. 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, this 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.
However, the league could always launch on investigation on how hurt the Red Wings captain is actually hurt.
Let's be honest though: as Khan points out, playing golf and playing pro hockey are two different things. He suggests it might be best for Zetterberg to err on the side of caution rather than try to gut out another season with the rebuilding Red Wings.
To be continued...
Source: NBC Sports
Photo Credit: Zuma Press