Report: Agent says Zetterberg 'has not decided' about return to Wings

By Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News

Detroit — The headline is hardly news.

“Zetterberg has not decided,” the Swedish publication Hockeybladet (Hockey blade), reports.

Henrik Zetterberg's return to the Red Wings for the 2018-19 season remains uncertain because of back issues.

What is new, is the assertions of the unknown attributed to Zetterberg’s agent, Gunnar Svensson.

Unknown, Svensson said, is both whether Zetterberg’s 15-year career, that last six as captain of the Red Wings, will continue, and the condition of his surgically repaired back.

“He has not decided if he will continue or not,” Svensson said, according to a report Tuesday by Piotr Arvidsson.

“There have been some injury problems with his back. It is impossible to answer how it will be, for it one cannot know what it is now.

“He simply has not decided,” the agent said.

GM Ken Holland has said he expects Zetterberg will report to training camp, but he is not entirely certain about the veteran’s status for the 2018-19 season.

Zetterberg won the 2008 Stanley Cup with the Red Wings, the 11th in the history of the franchise.

He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Zetterberg made his NHL debut against the Sharks Oct. 22, 2002, four months after the Wings won their 10th Stanley Cup.

In 79 games, he scored 22 goals and assisted on 22, leading all rookies. But he finished second to the Blues defenseman Barret Jackman for the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year.

Zetterberg ranks among the most accomplished Red Wings of all time: sixth in games played (1082), fifth in goals (337), fifth in assists (623), fifth in points (960), fifth in game-winning goals (64).

Zetterberg signed a 12-year, $73 million contract with the Red Wings in January 2009. He's due to earn a base salary of 3.35 million next season, according to spotrac.

Playing for Sweden, he won gold medals in the 2006 World Championship and 2006 Winter Olympics. Sweden is still the only country to win both tournaments in the same season.

His back finally gave out fully, in a painful episode at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, when he was removed from the village on a stretcher.

Since an ensuing operation on his back, Zetterberg has missed just two NHL games.

But, at the end of last season, he has said his performance declined because of his inability to practice for much of the last half of the season.

At the end, Zetteberg said that while he intended to return next season, it would require good health.

Svensson laid to rest an old rumor in Sweden that Zetterberg would return to play in the Swedish Hockey League.

“If Henrik Zetterberg continues to play it will be in Detroit,” Svensson said. “No other issue.”