Red Wings left winger Justin Abdelkader has earned his first opportunity to display his leadership abilities.
Abdelkader named assistant captain for #RedWings, Blashill announces.
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) October 4, 2016
Abdelkader takes over as one of the assistant captains for Pavel Datsyuk, who retired and moved back to his native Russia. Forward Henrik Zetterberg and defenseman Niklas Kronwall will remain in their roles as captain and assistant captain respectively as well.
Abdelkader, originally from Muskegon, Michigan, was selected by the Red Wings out of Michigan State University with the 42nd overall pick in the 2005 NHL draft. He played his first professional season with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2008-09, when he scored 24 goals and added 28 assists. In his 480 career NHL games (all with Detroit), he has scored 80 goals and chipped in 94 assists, to go with 417 penalty minutes. He played in all 82 games in the regular season last year.
The first two goals Abdelkader scored in his NHL career came in 2008-09 Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, when the Red Wings fell to the Penguins in seven games.
This season marks the first in Abdelkader’s new contract, which runs until 2022-23. His average cap hit over each of the next seven years will be $4.25 million.