Lidstrom (left) with Zetterberg
Henrik Zetterberg is the perfect man to lead the Detroit Red Wings as the team's next captain because he is a great leader, an elite player and he has learned from two of the best captains the sport of hockey has ever seen in Nicklas Lidstrom and Steve Yzerman.
Although it hasn't been officially announced, Zetterberg is expected by many to get the "C" stitched onto his sweater at the start of the next season.
Ansar Khan of MLive.com tweeted the latest on the situation on Tuesday.
Zetterberg said he would be honored to be the Wings' next captain. Said he hasn't been asked yet.— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) September 4, 2012
Lidstrom cites Zetterberg's leadership first among his teammates.There's your next captain, folks.As if there was any doubt. #RedWings— Dan Fenner (@DanFenner) May 31, 2012
Bank on Henrik Zetterberg being named the next captain of the Detroit #RedWings— Freep Red Wings (@freepwings) May 30, 2012
Replacing Lidstrom as captain will be hard for anyone, even for Zetterberg, but there's no doubt that No. 40 is ready to step into this role.
Zetterberg will enter the fourth year of his 12-year, $73 million contract that began in the 2009-10 season, and is the second-highest-paid player on the team. He will be with the Red Wings for many more years, and at age 31, he's still in the prime of his career.
Not only does Zetterberg play well and show leadership in the regular season, he has a history of doing both in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In his career, Zetterberg has 102 points in 109 career playoff games, and was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of the 2008 playoffs.
Like Lidstrom, Zetterberg leads by example. He is one of the most respected players in the game and this is because he plays the game hard, clean and consistently performs well at both ends of the ice.
His fantastic dedication and passion for the game are two more qualities that make Zetterberg captain material.
As an alternate captain for the last seven years, Zetterberg has been in a leadership role for several seasons in Detroit and has been able to watch how Lidstrom and Yzerman handled the captain's role. Zetterberg is as ready as anyone has ever been to be a captain.
There are other candidates on the Red Wings who would make good captains. Forward Pavel Datsyuk and defenseman Nicklas Kronwall are two veterans who have the leadership qualities necessary to be a strong captain.
However, the best choice to be the next captain of the Red Wings is Zetterberg. He's a leader, someone the coaches trust and a player his teammates will follow.
He might not be the best player on the Red Wings, but Zetterberg is best suited for the role of captain.