© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Red Wings Prepared To Potentially Lose Zetterberg

He turns 38 in October and the upcoming season is the first in which his salary declines drastically. 

June 27, 2018 - 11:29 am
Categories: 

Henrik Zetterberg vowed to be back for the 2018-19 season when last season concluded, with the caveat of good health. Has that caveat come into play? 

According to The Athletic, the Red Wings are "prepared for the possibility that Zetterberg doesn’t return this coming season." 

Zetterberg's retirement has been rumored for a couple years now. He turns 38 in October and the upcoming season is the first in which his salary declines drastically. 

After making $7 million in 2017-18, Zetterberg will make $3.5 million in 2018-19 and $1 million each of the two seasons after that. His cap hit remains a steady $6.08 million. 

Zetterberg dealt with a crippling back injury that limited him to 45 games in 2013-14, at which point it looked improbable that he'd fulfill the final seven years of the 12-year, $73 million contract he signed in 2009. But he's rallied to play 82 games each of the last three seasons. 

On locker room clean out day in April, Zetterberg was asked if there's any scenario where he doesn't return for the 2018-19 season. 

"Right now, no," he said. "That’s all I can say. But as I tell you guys, the heath is the key thing. If I’m healthy I’ll be back." And the Red Wings are "still planning as if Zetterberg will play next season," according to The Athletic.

Zetterberg did allow that the 14th season of his career, which presented a "a few (health) scares here and there," was tougher on his body than the season prior. He also recorded 10 fewer points, down from 68 to 58. 

"(2016-17) was better for me personally, I think, production wise and health wise and time-on-the-practice-sheet wise. But now you have time to clear some issues and hopefully come back strong," he said. 

At the time, that sounded like a certainty. Odds still are he'll return, but it's no longer a sure bet.