REPORT: Detroit Red Wings captain hints at retirement date

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NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Detroit Red Wings
Nov 10, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg (40) looks on during the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at Joe Louis Arena. Red Wings win 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will most likely not play out the final years of the 12-year $73-million contract he signed in 2009. In an interview with Sweden’s Radiosportens, the 36-year-old winger stated just as much.

Zetterberg’s salary will pay him $7 million this season but then drops to $3.35 million next season. To make matters worse for those hoping he stays, his salary is only $1 million per year for the final two years of his contract.

From the Detroit News:

Translated from the Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet, Zetterberg said “the only reason why we wrote such a long contact was because of the payroll. It is quite obvious that you try to fool the system. Actually, I may have two years left, but I have also learned to take one year at a time. But I will probably not play until then (2020-21 season, when the contract expires).”

The Red Wings captain is coming off a year in which he gained his highest point total since 2011, leading the team with 68 points and 51 assists. But with the Wings missing the playoffs last year, a first for Zetterberg, the 14-year-veteran may be questioning the value of playing until 2021 or even staying in Detroit.

“If you’d asked me seven years ago, I probably would have said I’d like to stay in Detroit, but now I’m pretty certain I’ll move back home,” Zetterberg said. “After 15 years Detroit is also home, I have a lot of friends there, but I miss Sweden more and more.”

Whenever Zetterberg decides to retire, he will leave a giant hole in the hearts of Red Wings fans everywhere.  From Stevie-Y, to Nicklas Lidstrom, to Z, he has been everything you’d want in a Captain: tough, plays with tenacity, and represents his team with integrity. It’ll be a sad day in Hockeytown when No. 40 hangs up his skates.