The only thing keeping the Detroit Red Wings from an official announcement on who will be their next captain is waiting for the CBA to be ratified. It is being assumed that Henrik Zetterberg will be named only the third wing to wear the “C” since 1986.
Stepping into a role formerly filled by future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom is a daunting task for anyone, but if there’s a player on this roster capable of doing it, Zetterberg may indeed be the best choice. This should be the prime of his career, and if he can have any kind of NHL season on par with what he was doing for EV Zug of the Swiss-A league during the lockout he will be leading by example. Zetterberg will need to be a vocal leader both on the ice and in the locker room, as this Detroit team tries to gel in a shortened season. Looking at hist stats over the past decade, he seems to follow down seasons with very strong campaigns. He only managed 69 points last season after scoring 80 the season prior, so look for him to bounce back and possibly lead the team in scoring.
Losing two leaders like Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom in the same offseason creates, quite a void and it would be nice to see Pavel Datsyuk be a little more outspoken this season. Hopefully role players like Todd Bertuzzi, Mikael Samuelsson and Dan Cleary will also provide a vocal presence on the team and may see time as alternate captains.
Coach Mike Babcock clearly places a lot of faith in his star forward, and if Zetterberg can show in this shortened season that he has leadership qualities in addition to his on-ice talent, he could go down as one of the most beloved Red Wings players in franchise history.