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Detroit Red Wings Player Grades: Henrik Zetterberg

Detroit’s bearded leader defied both age and expectations in 2016-17

New Jersey Devils v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Player Profile

Name: Henrik Zetterberg
Born: 10/09/80 Njurunda, SWE
Height/Weight: 6’0” / 197 lbs
Position: LW / C
Contract: Signed through 2020-21 / $6,083,333 AAV

Player Stats

GP: 82
G: 17
A: 51
ATOI: 19:43

Season Narrative

During the 2016-17 NHL season the Detroit Red Wings endured many losses both on and off of the ice. The team bid farewell to their iconic home, Joe Louis Arena, while simultaneously having to both mourn and honor the unexpected passing of their longtime owner, Mike Ilitch, along with the greatest player to ever wear the winged wheel, Gordie Howe. On the ice the Red Wings’ losses were just as heart wrenching and disappointing as fans watched the teams legendary 26 year playoff streak finally come to a conclusion.

But in the spirit and memory of the aforementioned Detroit hockey icons, Howe and Ilitch, Henrik Zetterberg earned every stich on his captain’s patch by courageously carrying the torch for the Red Wings through their darkest times in nearly 25 years. Like his predecessors, Yzerman and Lidstrom, Zetterberg exhibited all the qualities you would want and expect from an NHL Captain.

What He Did Vs Expectations

Even as he approaches the age of 37, Henrik Zetterberg not only met expectations in 2016-17, he also exceeded many as well. Hank appeared in all 82 regular season games for the Red Wings last season and led all Detroit players in plus/minus (+15), assists (51), and points per game (0.83). He tied Frans Nielsen, Dylan Larkin, and Anthony Mantha with 17 goals scored. Zetterberg also led all Red Wings’ forwards in ATOI with 19:43 TOI/GP.

Henrik also displayed his leadership skills by making the players he skated with better. Anthony Mantha greatly benefitted from being paired with Zetterberg throughout much of his fairly impressive rookie campaign in Detroit. With Pavel Datsyuk leaving Detroit to return to his native Russia, Zetterberg’s veteran play-making experience proved invaluable in the development and production of some of the Red Wings’ younger players.

One element of Henrik Zetterberg’s 2016-17 season that could be, but shouldn’t be overlooked, was his ability to stand and face questions from reporters after all of Detroit’s plethora of discouraging defeats last year. Often times, despite being visibly upset, exhausted, frustrated and sometimes seemingly annoyed, Henrik boldly fulfilled his duties as captain by fielding the media’s queries.

Final Grade: A+

If any player on the Detroit Red Wings’ roster deserves an A+ grade, it’s Henrik Zetterberg. Perhaps a simple “A” rating would have sufficed but given the way Detroit’s bearded leader conducted himself last season amongst all the unpleasantness in Hockeytown, I feel the extra bump is warranted.

With the Red Wings facing so many questions as they try to rebuild and restore their greatness, Zetterberg continues to be an integral bridge between what once was, and what may be.


What Grade Does Henrik Zetterberg Deserve?

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    (835 votes)
  • 16%
    (180 votes)
  • 2%
    (26 votes)
  • 1%
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    (12 votes)
  • 0%
    I don’t like the finer things in life like Henrik Zetterberg
    (8 votes)
1074 votes total Vote Now