It’s a hot topic in Wings Nation right now. What is going to happen if Henrik Zetterberg doesn’t play this year? Will his cap hit be moved to the LTIR? How will the kids find their way in the NHL? Whose back will support such a mediocre team? But more importantly, who will be the next captain and will they wear the ‘C’ as early as October 2017?
On this week’s roundtable, the WingsNation.com staff discusses:
I really think the best option is to make this a “feeling it out” period. Take a couple years in this rebuild and have only alternate captains. There is no real point in making Dylan Larkin captain so early when this team will not be playing meaningful games for these next seasons – it is just a letter on his jersey. I just assume that this would make more of a better statement about this team than making him captain if Zetterberg can’t play.
From Steve Yzerman to Nicklas Lidstrom to Zetterberg, Red Wings fans have been accustomed to having super star captains for the last twenty years. There’s no question about it, Larkin is next in line for the C (which I discussed last season). Detroit has a player who is hungry to get better and win. With that, I would 100% hand the twenty-two year old the captaincy, should Zetterberg retire. Detroit needs winners leading this team. Larkin fits that role right now. So why delay the inevitable?
As a whole, the Red Wings organization has never been without a strong core group. If Zetterberg retires, and that’s a big “if”, instead of LTIR, I think they’ll appoint someone right away. Larkin is the general consensus among the fans, however, I would not be surprised if Justin Abdelkader‘s name was mentioned as well. The youthful vigor of Larkin is encouraging and promising, but I can see them opting for a more seasoned player to take the role while the team pursues development. Being that the team is developing currently, it’s unlikely they’d leave leadership in limbo if Zetterberg makes his exit. Of course, all conjecture would be invalid if he decides on LTIR – which is more likely.
Just give Larkin the ‘C’ as soon as Zetterberg has finished playing in the NHL. You don’t need any more reasons to give it to him at this point, rather, you’re looking for reasons to take it away. Even though he’s likely to be the Red Wings’ second or third best forward looking ahead, he’s enough of a cornerstone piece that you don’t want to lose and the most developed of any of their young players. We’ve seen the Wings shoot themselves in the foot with trying to be too respectful and tradition-oriented, so they might as well make the easy choice and once it’s official Zetterberg is done in the NHL, don’t give it more than a week before you can buy a Larkin jersey with the C on the front.