It was a case of, ‘no way’ when Henrik Zetterberg signed a 12-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings, ‘no way,’ because the idea of him completing it seemed insane.
Now, even the player himself admits it may not happen.
Zetterberg, who is about to celebrate his 37th birthday four days after his new NHL season begins, confided to a Swedish radio station that he’ll likely only play for two more years even though his deal has him playing through till the 2020-21 season.
Zetterberg told the reporter: “The only reason why we wrote such a long contact was because of the payroll. It is quite obvious that you try to fool the system. Actually, I may have two years left, but I have also learned to take one year at a time. But I will probably not play until then (2020-21 season, when the contract expires).”
And what a lucrative contact it is. Zetterberg’s salary is now $6.083 million per season, with the total contract worth $73 million. He’ll be paid a total of $7 million this season, with it dropping to $3.35 million next season and for the last two years he will receive only $1 million a year.
Zetterberg’s deal is not unusual, these long-term NHL contracts are a way to get around the salary cap, minimize the salary cap hit, but making sure the player still gets the majority of his money in a contract that is front-loaded.
Sure the clock is ticking on a stellar career, but Zetterberg defied age last season and lead the team with 68 points and 51 assists, to go along with 17 goals, and he also played all 82 regular season games. To top off last year the player played his 1,000th game on the final day of the regular season.