Zetterberg will be Wings’ next captain

DETROIT – The team will announce prior to the start of the season the Henrik Zetterberg will be the new captain, replacing Nicklas Lidstrom.

Zetteberg, who has been wearing an “A” as an alternate captain since 2006, will be just the Wings’ third captain since 1986.

He was the odds on favorite after Lidstrom retired after last season.

“If that were the case, yes, absolutely,” Zetterberg said when asked if he’d like to be named captain this offseason. “We’ll see here what happens the next few weeks. If they will ask, I will be honored.”

This offseason, Wings general manager Ken Holland said the next captain would come from one of last season’s alternate captains – Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall or Pavel Datsyuk.

“It’s something that you always hope you’d have a chance to do in your career, especially with a team like this in a city like this with the past and the ownership and the history we have,” Zetterberg said. “It would be a true honor.”

Zetterberg, 32, is well respected in the locker room and fits the mold of previous captains in Detroit.

“I think Hank always shows up to play, always shows up in the big games,” Kronwall said at Lidstrom’s retirement press conference. “He’s been a leader on this team for many meany years, to me that would be a logical choice.”

“His leadership on the ice,” Justin Abdelkader said at the same event. “He’s not a rah-rah, vocal guy. He leads more by example. He’ll say something when something needs to be said but he’s in a similar mode to Nick. There are lot of good candidates, like Nick said. Kronner has really stepped it up. We’ll see. That’s a decision the coaches and management will make.”

“He’s got all the qualities,” Danny Cleary said. “He is the ultimate team player. He’s not concerned about his own personal stuff. He has great work ethic. He treats everybody with respect. He’s one of the best guys I’ve ever played with.”

Also at Lidstrom’s retirement press conference, Wings coach Mike Babcock made it sound like the decision on who will be the Wings’ next captain has already been made.

“There was no decision whatsoever,” Babcock said. “We’ll probably announce it in the fall this year and I don’t think there will be a lot of debate. We’ve been thinking about this.”

In 2009, Zetterberg, who has averaged 28 goals and 41 assists over nine season in Detroit, signed a 12-year, $72-million contact, which is the longest and most lucrative deal in club history.

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