Detroit Red Wings: The Zetterberg Effect

DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 24: Henrik Zetterberg
DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 24: Henrik Zetterberg /

With his career hanging in the balance due to a bad back. Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg’s injury is both a curse and a blessing for the organization. It is not all bad news.

Fifty-six points, that is how many Henrik Zetterberg tallied last season for the Detroit Red Wings. That’s 56 points that will not be on the ice (best case scenario) to start the 2018-19 NHL season. The Detroit Red Wings are going to need to find a replacement for those points.

However, it is not all that bad. The Detroit Red Wings front office and coaching staff could choose to place Henrik on long-term injured reserve (LTIR.) The would give the team over $6 million in cap relief.

What would Red Wings general manager Ken Holland do with the cap space? He could use it to sweeten trades. If Detroit decides to part ways with either Gustav Nyquist and Jimmy Howard, Holland could use some of the Zetterberg cap relief to retain salary making a trade both look better and plausible. In my opinion, this is the best route to go.

Then a team like the Nashville Predators (who were linked to Nyquist at last season trade deadline) may be more inclined to make a deal.  This would furthermore shed extra money off the salary cap, for the Detroit Red Wings.

Back to Henrik Zetterberg, IF he is unable to play and it is the end for the Red Wings great.  It would hurt the Wings this season. His mentoring, goals, and points would be gone. That is a lot for a young rebuilding team to overcome. It would almost ensure a long, tough season ahead.

The young centers, who have leaned heavily on Zetterberg’s leadership will be pressed into making their mark. The centers starting with Dylan Larkin will have to step up and step into some big shoes.

I do believe the Red Wings have talent and good young centers. Larkin, Joe Veleno who should be a second line center at some point. Is a good starting block?   Perhaps they finish dead last and draft center Jack Hughes in the 2019 NHL draft.

The Detroit Red Wings farm system continues to climb. dark. Next

For a rebuilding team sometimes adversity hurts. Henrik Zetterberg’s back is the adversity. It is time to see what the young guys can do. It is time for youth to be served in the Motor City. In this case I feel adversity is alright. It is nudging the rebuild along.