Zetterberg is protected from selection by the Golden Knights in the expansion draft, Helene St. James of The Detroit Free Press reports.
The Swedish stalwart is Detroit's captain, so it's no surprise that he wasn't exposed. Instead, he will be in charge of steering the Red Wings back to the playoffs after the team missed the extended season for the first time in a quarter century.
Zetterberg finished the season in strong fashion against the visiting Devils on Sunday. He potted his 17th goal and tallied assist No. 51 for his 1,000th career game, leaving his mark in the final contest played at Joe Louis Arena.
The captain excelled this year, despite no help from long-time companion Pavel Datsyuk, who jettisoned for Russian ahead of what resulted in Detroit's first playoff miss in 26 seasons. Zetterberg's team-high 68 points ended up being 20 more than the output from Gustav Nyquist, who came in second. Big Z has four years remaining on his contract valued at $6.083 million annually.
Zetterberg secured his 900th career point -- an assist -- in Thursday's 5-3 road loss to the Lightning.
We're guessing the captain would enjoy reaching that gaudy milestone a bit more if the Red Wings weren't eliminated from playoff contention, but with 39 points (nine goals, 30 assists) in 41 games this calendar year, it's clear that Swede has not wavered in terms of motivation. He's a terrific fantasy option at the tender age of 36, but only five games remain for the Winged Wheel.
Zetterberg brushed twine for his 16th goal of the season in Friday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Lightning.
The tally was rather strange as the puck was seen bouncing and skipping quite a bit before going past Bolts goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. Still, it all counts the same for Zetterberg, who the Detroit Free Press reports was nominated for the Masterton Trophy on Friday. This award is handed down to the player who best illustrates perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the game of hockey.
Zetterberg collected two more assists Saturday -- including a power-play setup to Justin Abdelkader on the opening score -- helping his team to a 5-1 road win over the Avalanche.
Detroit is on the verge of being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but the captain won't go down with the ship, at least from a production standpoint. Zetty's fashioned 15 goals and 44 helpers to complement a team-best plus-13 rating. Expect some of your competition to start paying less attention to players on teams bound to miss the playoffs, providing an opportunity in daily leagues to reap serious rewards from lightly owned players with proven track records -- at the very least, that's a viable tournament strategy.