Detroit Red Wings: What may be going through Henrik Zetterberg’s head

DETROIT, MI - MARCH 08: Henrik Zetterberg
DETROIT, MI - MARCH 08: Henrik Zetterberg /

Henrik Zetterberg’s future continues to be a question mark for the Detroit Red Wings.  Not only Z’s teammates and front office await his decision, so do his loyal fans.

The Detroit Red Wings continue to wait for an answer from captain Henrik Zetterberg on the future of his playing career.  As most, if not all of you know by now unless you live under a rock, or were off the grid all summer; Zetterberg’s playing days are winding down if not already finished.

Reports we’ve heard over the past couple of months have mentioned “Z” had ongoing trouble merely bending over to tie his skates last season.  Imagine trying to go through an entire season with that much pain in your back?  A simple task like tying your skates becomes as frustrating as stubbing your toe over and over again.

I’m sure a lot of readers currently have many injuries and different ailments that may prevent them from entirely sympathizing with Zetterberg.  “Regular” people, unfortunately, need to continue to pay the bills and may not be as financially well off as a professional athlete.

When you combine his age with the severity of the injury and it being late August, the sense is that the needle is starting to point towards retirement rather than a curtain call of a season.  A gut feeling today is the odds are in the neighborhood of 60/40% in favor of retirement.

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Hank knows if he returns, despite being in constant pain, he’ll be asked to lead a team, and produce offensively. It’s known Zetterberg really limited his practicing the second half of the season to try and prevent the extra wear and tear on his back down the stretch.

One positive sign was the photo that surfaced of Zetterberg golfing this summer with Dan Cleary, Erik Karlsson, and Valtteri Filppula.  Other than that it’s been as quiet as a library on the Zetterberg front.

A couple of things Zetterberg might be considering.  Hank sits 40 points away from the 1000 career point mark.  There is no guarantee Z plays and produces the 40 points needed to reach the milestone.  If Zetterberg feels he can duplicate last season, he may sway to return this season to try and chase down the 1000 points.

Last season Zetterberg was consistent all season long.  His numbers didn’t dip at all the second half of the season.  The only two separate months Hank struggled were November and January of last season.  Both of those months Hank recorded 5 assists total each month. He played 13 games in November & 11 games in January.

Another factor Henrik Zetterberg may be considering is the fate of his pal and countryman Niklas Kronwall.  If Kronner is considering retirement at the years’ end, Zetterberg may decide to fight through one more season so he and Kronwall can ride off into the sunset together.

Hank and Kronner have been teammates for almost their entire professional career.  Zetterberg made his Red Wings debut in 2002/2003 and Niklas Kronwall in 2003/2004.  They both, of course, have represented Team Sweden at various tournaments including the Winter Olympics.

Henrik Zetterberg currently sits 5th in three major statistical categories in the all-time Detroit Red Wings scoring lists.  Zetterberg has 337 goals along with 623 assists accounting for 960 points. Kronwall sits 11th in all-time Red Wings assists which may or may not surprise some folks, with 325.

Henrik Zetterberg, knowing the Detroit Red Wings are in rebuild mode could profoundly influence his decision.  I don’t want to say it’s a  “wasted” season but to an aging one time superstar who is chronically injured, it, unfortunately, may not be worth the grind.

If the Detroit Red Wings were contenders or even a sure bet to be a playoff team that may have influenced the captain to return for one more kick at the can.  The current state of the Detroit Red Wings could influence Zetterberg in the opposite direction.

The last factor is quite simple.  Will his back hold up for another complete season.  Zetterberg will have to decide if he can actually play through the pain night in and night out. Practicing will be sparse, we can already count on that.

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Henrik Zetterberg’s final decision will be expected relatively soon.  We will continue to wait patiently for the decision and how his decision will impact the direction of the Detroit Red Wings.