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Obviously, Henrik Zetterberg tops the list since he was recently named the new captain of the team. Zetterberg is in the mold of Nicklas Lidstrom, and Steve Yzerman before him.
He is a lead-by-example type who is not one to cause a scene or call a teammate out in the media. This method has worked well for the past two decades for the team, so it makes sense to keep going with it.
Zetterberg will have a tougher time than both Lidstrom and Yzerman did when they took over. When Yzerman became captain, there really were no expectations for the team. They had spent many years as one of the worst teams in the league.
Lidstrom took over a team that was still near the top of the league and loaded with talent. They had won the Stanley Cup in 2002 and were among the favorites to compete for it again.
Zetterberg takes over a team in transition. Lidstrom’s retirement will greatly affect the defense. That was made worse when Brad Stuart decided to head back west. Also, management did not land any big-name free agents to help a team that has been in decline.
While the team still has talent, it is not as deep as the team Lidstrom took over. The expectations are high, though, as Detroit has made the playoffs for 21 straight seasons. Zetterberg does not want that streak to end under his watch.
A great team doesn’t put it all on one player, though. Who else will step up to help Zetterberg lead the Red Wings?