Something is going on with Henrik Zetterberg. The Detroit Red Wings captain has a subpar 4 goals and 12 assists in 29 games this season, this, after posting an impressive 68 points last season.
He's nowhere near on track for that kind of production, and most concerning of all, he hasn't scored since October 18th - in other words, he hasn't scored in 22 games.
Zetterberg has been a staple of the Red Wings roster for years, but he's in a huge slump, and appears fed up with his situation. After suffering a 10-1 beating by the Montreal Canadiens, he said "You basically embarrassed everyone that played with a winged wheel tonight, and we’ve got to live with that" to Helene St-James of the Detroit Free Press.
"I’ve played professional hockey for 20 years, I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of anything like what happened here tonight."
His discontent goes beyond that single game - a 6-1 thrashing from the St. Louis Blues Saturday night put the Red Wings further down the ladder to the Eastern conference's basement. Winners of only 2 in their last 10 and owners of a sub-.500 record, it's looking like Detroit will be in tough to make the playoffs.
They are in danger of missing the big show for the second consecutive year after going on an impressive quarter of a century playoff streak. Zetterberg, 37, is signed for 3 more seasons after 2017-18, at slightly over $6 million a year. He doesn't have much time left in the NHL, and odds are, he doesn't want to finish his career on a rebuilding team.
His unhappiness, age, goal drought, and pedigree make him a viable trade candidate for Ken Holland. While he has expressed previously that he wants to finish his career in Detroit - plans change when you want to taste victory one last time. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against him getting anywhere close to that in Detroit.
Connecting the dots with the trade rumors circulating around Detroit right now, it's viable to believe that Holland could get a decent return for his team captain, and help accelerate the build towards the future. He's been working the phones hard to help turn things around.
It's difficult to say as of now what will happen, but the most valuable pieces on the team are its core - players like Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, and Andreas Athanasiou. Holland will be hard-pressed to give them up, which is why the possibility is very real that Zetterberg is the odd man out, for the first time in his career.