Zetterberg became the third player since 1986 to be named captain of the Detroit Red Wings when he was introduced Tuesday prior to an intrasquad scrimmage. He's the 36th captain in franchise history.
"Henrik Zetterberg leads by example ... he understands the responsibility of being the captain of the Detroit Red Wings," general manager Ken Holland said in making the announcement.
The 32-year-old replaces fellow Swede Nicklas Lidstrom, who retired after the 2011-12 season. Lidstrom got the "C" in 2006 after Steve Yzerman retired following an NHL-record two-decade run as captain.
Zetterberg was an easy choice because of the respect he's earned from his teammates and the coaching staff.
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"He's not afraid to communicate," coach Mike Babcock said. "He doesn't mind getting mad at me one bit. He's just not shy about what he thinks. We've had a relationship like that for a long time.
"We have a good guy who's a real good human being, who loves hockey, who has a mind for the game, he's really good to his teammates and he's demanding of himself and he doesn't mind speaking his mind. To me, that's pretty good leadership.
"We got a pretty good guy there.''
Zetterberg's appointment was one of the worst-kept secrets in hockey -- he was one of the Red Wings' alternate captains under Lidstrom and was widely expected to get the "C" following Lidstrom's retirement last summer. Like Lidstrom and Yzerman before him, he's played his whole career in Detroit and seems destined to finish there.
Babcock said the three share some common traits.
"I guess the things that jump to mind for me is fierce, fierce competitors," he said. "Great, great people and guys who put the team first and can speak for the team and treat their teammates right. So those are three things that I would say right off the top of my head."
In nine seasons with the Red Wings, Zetterberg has 252 goals and 372 assists for 624 points, and he's had at least 68 points in each of the past seven seasons. His 50 game-winning goals are fourth on the team's all-time list, trailing Yzerman (94), Brendan Shanahan (79) and Sergei Fedorov (63). Zetterberg also has 51 goals and 102 points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and he won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2008, when the Red Wings won their most recent championship.
Zetterberg said he's played for some excellent leaders who've helped him grow and mature during his time with the Red Wings -- and that includes more than Yzerman and Lidstrom.
"Just playing with Nick for my whole career here, just to see how he prepares himself, how he handled himself on and off the ice, and just lead by example and that’s what he did," Zetterberg said. "I played with many good leaders since I got here and not just Stevie and Nick. There was [Kris] Draper, [Chris] Chelios -- there are so many guys that I played with that you learn from. So you try to take bits and pieces from all the guys that you play with, and they really formed the player who I am now."