Although the NHL believes Detroit’s classification of Henrik Zetterberg’s back injury being a career-ender is legitimate, the league plans to investigate to make sure of its validity, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told Craig Custance of The Athletic (subscription required). This shouldn’t be construed as concerning for the Red Wings as the same thing happened last season with Joffrey Lupul and Marian Hossa with the NHL’s independent doctor reaching the same conclusion that their respective team doctors came to.
Daly also noted that they’re satisfied that there was no side deal in place that Zetterberg didn’t intend to fulfill the final few years of his contract (which are much cheaper in terms of salary relative to his cap hit of just under $6.1MM). Interestingly enough, the veteran himself suggested last year that the final two years of the 12-year pact were added on simply to lower the AAV of the deal. Despite that, there won’t be any penalties for the Red Wings although Zetterberg won’t formally be able to retire until his contract expires to avoid any salary cap recapture.
Elsewhere out East:
- Penguins forward Derick Brassard skated with the team for the first time in training camp today as he works his way back from a lung infection, notes Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He’s hopeful to make his preseason debut this weekend. Brassard is expected to spend some time on the wing in the exhibition season in an effort to give him more playing time in offensive situations than he would receive if he stayed at his natural position down the middle. Accordingly, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him play in most of their remaining games once he gets the green light to play.
- Devils prospect Nikita Popugayev is on the move as his KHL rights were dealt from CSKA Moscow to Amur Khabarovsk, per a team release from the Tigers (link in Russian). The 19-year-old was the 98th overall pick of New Jersey back in 2017 but spent most of last year (and the first three games of this season) at the lower levels in Russia but he now is expected to get a shot at the KHL level.