The excitement for next season didn’t last for very long. Shortly after the announcement that Larkin re-signed, GM Ken Holland stated that captain Henrik Zetterberg is not closer to a return for the 2018-19 season.
"I am anxious to know where Henrik Zetterberg is at. He’s a bit of an unknown as far as health. Have talked to his agent – he has had tough summer. He hasn’t been able to train anywhere near where at past summers. I'm hoping he'll play." – Ken Holland
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) August 10, 2018
This quote doesn’t inspire confidence that we will see Zetterberg on the ice for the season opener on October 4th against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Not to say that this is anyway a sure thing, but this is the first time that we have seen Holland, or any Red Wings staff, state that much negativity about Zetterberg’s progress.
Zetterberg has dealt with health issues in his past – ending his season early in February 2014 for surgery on his back – but he has still played full seasons in his last three years.
It is important to note that Zetterberg’s salary is going to decline from $7-million last season to just $3.35-million for this season, and then continuing downwards to $1-million for the final two years in his contract. Is his salary decrease enough for him to call it quits for his health? It sounds like an un-perfect storm for Zetterberg to retire.
Even at the age of 37, Zetterberg was still second in points on the Wings this past season. He clearly gave it his all for not the most terrific season overall.
If Zetterberg doesn’t officially retire, the Red Wings will be able to put him on long-term injury reserve, therefore letting his cap hit not affect the whole team. At least there’s some positivity.
Zetterberg has played 1219 total games for the Red Wings in his career, totaling 394 goals and 1080 points.