We have an absolutely stunning report regarding one of the sport's most beloved figures.
In a stunning report on Monday Detroit Red Wings insider Ansar Khan revealed for the first time that there is no serious doubt among some members of the Detroit Red Wings' organization regarding the future of the captain, Henrik Zetterberg. In fact the matter in which the matter was revealed indicates to me that Khan feels that there is a very strong chance that Zetterberg is in fact done as a player in the NHL.
Khan was discussing how he thought newly acquired forward Filip Zadina, arguably the most exciting forward talent to come out of the 2018 NHL draft, would fit into the Red Wings' line up next season when he laid out his projection for Detroit's top four lines. The odd thing though was that nowhere on that list was the name Zetterberg, and that's when Khan dropped his bombshell.
I didn't include Henrik Zetterberg because some in the organization doubt he'll return. But I don't believe anyone knows for certain, maybe not even Zetterberg himself.
He won't officially retire and stick the organization with a $4.3 million cap recapture penalty in each of the next three seasons. If he's done because of his back – even though he's played every game the past three seasons – they'll put him on long-term injured reserve at the start of the season.
When it comes to the Detroit Red Wings, with all due respect to talented reporters like Helen St. James, there may be no better insider source than Khan. The fact that here he is very seriously discussing the possibility that not only could Zetterberg retire, but that we may have already seen him play the very last game of his professional career should be very alarming to fans in Detroit who were hoping to get one more season out of their beloved captain.
There's no question that those same fans have been watching a steady decline as the 37, year old has not only slowed down due to mother nature, but due to injuries piling up on his body as well. Some fans have even grown frustrated at the lack of production from Zetterberg in recent seasons, but it is also important to remember that he is not playing with the same kind of players on either wing that he was just a few short years ago. That being said to his credit despite reportedly dealing with a very bad back and a difficult situation on a non playoff team he still put up 11 goals and 45 assists for a total of 56 points.
The truly sad part of this report from Khan though is the indication that the choice of whether or not to continue playing may be taken out of Zetterberg's hands entirely here. The insinuation from Khan is that if he does indeed sit out the 2018 - 2019 regular season it will be as a result of his bad back, and you would have to imagine that if he misses this season due to injury it makes a comeback at 39 years of age very difficult to picture.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press