Hampered by a degenerative back injury that failed to improve prior to training camp, the Detroit Red Wings today announced that their captain, Swedish power forward Henrik Zetterberg, would be forced to end his 16-season career, spent all in Detroit, at the age of 37.
A seventh round draft pick of the Red Wings in 1999, Zetterberg joined Detroit in 2002 quickly becoming an offensive star in Detroit, finishing second in Rookie Of The Year voting. After the 2005 lockout, Zetterberg emerged as Detroit’s star forward following Steve Yzerman’s retirement, being named alternate captain in 2006. Zetterberg cemented his legendary status in Detroit in the 2007-08 season, notching 43 goals and 92 points in a career season that was capped with a Stanley Cup, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Zetterberg would put up four consecutive 20-goal seasons following the Cup win, all while playing limited games due to his back injury, and was named team captain in 2013 after Nicklas Lidström’s retirement. Zetterberg spent six seasons with the “C,” winning the NHL Foundation Award in 2013 and King Clancy Trophy in 2015, but saw his production limited in his final years due to his injuries, ending his NHL career with 337 goals and 960 points in 1082 games.
Internationally, Zetterberg played at the 2000 World Juniors before being promoted to the senior team in 2001, playing his first senior tournament at the 2001 World Championship, winning bronze. He would go on to join Tre Kronor at six World Championships, four Olympic Games, and both the 2004 and 2016 World Cup Of Hockey, winning the coveted “Double Gold” in 2006, both Olympic and World titles in a feat that had never previously been done. Zetterberg’s final tournament saw him captain Tre Kronor for the first time at the 2014 Sochi Games, but his tenure was cut short after just one game due to injury. Zetterberg, who also won an Olympic Silver (2014), World Championship Silver (2003) and two World Bronzes (2001, 2002), became the 22nd member (and ninth Swede) to join the coveted Triple Gold Club following his 2008 Stanley Cup.
Zetterberg won his first International Hockey Lineal Championship at the start of the 2001 World Championships, winning six titles total in his career, alternating between wins at the Olympics (2002, 2006, 2010) and Worlds (2001, 2005, 2006). We wish Henrik and his family the very best for his retirement, despite the unfortunate circumstances that forced him to leave the game.