Grading Henrik Zetterberg's Red Wings Captaincy Early in the 2013 Season

Isaac SmithAnalyst IMarch 1, 2013

NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 19:  Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on February 19, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings' captaincy.

A position in hockey that is defined by one's ability to lead teams through anything that arises along the way.

Henrik Zetterberg has done a marvelous job in his captaincy of steering the Red Wings in a positive direction despite numerous injuries.

But how has Zetterberg's captaincy gone so far in the early going of the 2013 season as a whole?


Offensively: A-

Henrik Zetterberg has been putting the puck on the money early in the season.

He's fifth in total points (25) and third in assists (19) in the NHL, at what is almost the halfway point in the season.

Zetterberg has scored in spurts, registering four two-point games, one three-point game and one five-point game.

As the captain, Zetterberg has been fairly consistent in scoring, registering a point in 10 of 11 games between January 21 and February 10.

But he's also failed to register a point in seven games this season.

As the Red Wings' top line (and offense in general) has had to "wing it" offensively (relying mostly on the top line for points), Zetterberg has led his team about as well as he could have with all the injuries.

An "A-" on offense is therefore a justifiable grade in this context.


Defensively: B

Henrik Zetterberg has been nothing short of "decent" in his tenure as captain of the Detroit Red Wings.

Defensively, Zetterberg has 10 hits, five blocked shots, 15 takeaways and 15 giveaways.

His giveaways are another story. 

Although Zetterberg prides himself in being a two-way forward, the fact is that he has tried to shoulder too much of the load recently.

Because of this, he has made plays that he simply should have attempted to avoid.

In the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on February 21, Zetterberg could not get the puck past center ice in the third period, and the Blue Jackets capitalized on the turnover and tied the game at 2-2.

The Red Wings would go on to lose that game in a last-minute goal by R.J. Umberger.

Zetterberg's captaincy has been alright defensively, but nothing stellar. For this reason, he merits a "B" grade.


Special Teams: B-

Zetterberg has 11 power-play points in 21 games.

But the Red Wings' power play is just 15.5 percent overall (11-of-71), and includes an eye sore of 0-33 on the road.

With over four minutes of power-play time per game, Detroit's man advantage is suffering when Zetterberg is on the ice.

Sure he has 11 points on the power play, but he's been on the ice for every single power-play goal, and there is no scoring coming from Detroit's second unit.

Zetterberg also plays almost two minutes a game on the penalty kill.

As a dominant two-way forward in the NHL, one could suppose that Zetterberg would have little trouble in clearing the puck and helping the Wings improve their penalty kill.

In fact, this has been the opposite as Detroit is just 26th in the NHL at 77.4 percent on the PK.

Zetterberg has been huge offensively as a top-five scorer, league-wide.

But his defense and problems handling his special-teams time have been the story of the season so far.

Despite his shortcomings, Zetterberg could still be on his way to one of the best seasons of his career if he keeps up his current scoring pace.

Defensively, Zetterberg just has to be able to get the puck cleared when it counts.

On the power play, he should shoot the puck more often as he has an amazing slap shot and his wrist shot isn't too shabby either.

Being captain is obviously about more than just offense, defense and special teams, but as Zetterberg is playing on a fairly mature team in the Detroit Red Wings, he must contribute statistically in all areas for his contributions to be measured on a nominal level.


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