As the Detroit Red Wings hit the ice to begin training camp today in Traverse City, one very big name will not be at the rink. Red Wings GM Ken Holland announced this morning that team captain Henrik Zetterberg is ending his hockey career due to a back injury.
Zetterberg began his NHL career with the Red Wings in 2002 and spent the entirety of his 15 year career in Hockeytown. The Swedish center won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2008 when Detroit won the Stanley Cup, and he was named captain of the Red Wings in 2013 after the retirement of fellow Swede Nicklas Lidstrom. Zetterberg retires with 337 career goals and 960 points, placing him fifth in franchise history in both categories.
Despite losing their captain, the rest of the Red Wings take to the ice to begin training camp today. With plenty of young prospects trying to prove themselves and earn a spot on the Detroit roster, this year’s training camp should be exciting and interesting.
A few of Detroit’s top prospects did dazzle at last week’s prospect tournament hosted by the Red Wings in Traverse City. One of the highlights was the forward line comprised of the first-round draft picks from the last two years Joe Veleno, Michael Rasmussen, and Filip Zadina. The line combined for 15 points over four games during the tournament. Head coach Jeff Blashill said earlier this week he plans to keep the line together during training camp scrimmages.
The success of this top line during the prospects tournament should make Red Wings fans hopeful for the future. 2018 first round pick Joe Veleno was especially impressive, leading the line in points at the tournament. Many considered Veleno a steal for Detroit at 30th overall, and he showcased his uncanny ability to move the puck with five assists in four games.
Another impressive performer in Traverse City was 2016 first round draft pick Dennis Cholowski. The Canadian defenseman racked up six points in four games during last week’s tournament, including a goal and an assist in the Wings’ 3-1 win over the prospects from Dallas. Cholowski’s performance showed some promise as a possible future blueline scorer.
This year’s Red Wings training camp is the prelude to a critical season for Detroit. With a few key prospects showing promise, it will be interesting to see how the up and comers fit in with the rest of the roster, and who will be heading to Hockeytown in the fall instead of Grand Rapids.