The career of Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg has come to an end.
Ken Holland announced that after consulting with Doctors, Henrik Zetterberg is no longer healthy enough to play professional hockey.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) September 14, 2018
After years of battling a back ailment and despite holding out hope that he’d be able to come back, Zetterberg determined he’d be unable to do so following an examination by a doctor in New York. He still managed to play in all 82 games last season, racking up 56 points.
However, he wasn’t able to train and practice properly, and wasn’t able to train at all this offseason due to the symptoms of his back ailment, which included nerve pain in his legs and disk-related issues. He underwent surgery on his back in 2014.
“Obviously, it is emotional,” he said while addressing media members at Centre I.C.E. in Traverse City during the first day of training camp. “It’s been 15 years here. Even though I knew I was on my last couple years, I wish that I could have played a little bit longer.”
He will be placed on long-term injured reserve, which will allow the team to work with more salary cap space. He has three years remaining on his contract, with an annual cap hit of $6.083 million.
“He carried the torch. When Nick Lidstrom retired he became the captain,” general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s one of the greatest Red Wings players of this storied franchise.”
In 1,082 games, all with Detroit, he has 337 goals and 623 assists. He helped Detroit to the 2008 Stanley Cup championship and was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player in the playoffs. He was named the team’s captain in 2013 following the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom, who inherited the captaincy from Steve Yzerman. He won a gold medal with Team Sweden during the 2006 Winter Olympics, as well as a silver medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics alongside several of his fellow Swedish-born Red Wings teammates.