Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland says Henrik Zetterberg's participation in the 2018-19 NHL season is questionable and that injuries that have kept the star forward from having proper offseason workouts mean he might not play.
Friday started with good news for the Red Wings fanbase who were told that speedy forward Dylan Larkin was being extended for five years on a new long-term contract. Unfortunately, the news wasn't all good as Holland also dropped a bombshell about Detroit's veteran star and captain. Holland told media including Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press that Zetterberg is still considered a maybe for the 2018-19 season.
Citing that Zetterberg has had trouble training this offseason, Holland said, “I am anxious to know where Henrik Zetterberg is at. He’s a bit of an unknown as far as health.”
Holland went into more detail saying he'd reached out to Zetterberg's agent and was advised that his top center — a player who has scored no less than 50 points in the last four seasons — was having a tough summer. His offseason routine wasn't up to par with his training of offseason's past. While a sense of hope remained Zetterberg would be able to join the Red Wings at the start of the upcoming regular season, Holland wasn't sure, saying he wouldn't know more until September.
Interestingly, Holland also pointed out that should Zetterberg not be able to join the team, putting him on long-term injury reserve could help the Red Wings with their currently sticky salary cap problem. After signing Larkin to a five-year, $6.1 million per season deal, the Red Wings are well over the NHL salary cap and will need to find a way to get back under the ceiling before the start of the season. Prior to Zetterberg's injury news, rumors of possible trade names were popping up in Detroit, including a combination of players like Gustav Nyquist, Jimmy Howard, Niklas Kronwall, Darren Helm and/or Luke Glendening.
Clearly, Holland didn't want to suggest losing Zetterberg was a good tradeoff for the franchise but that if a silver lining needed to be found, his ability to help the team financially was it.