What’s The Grind Line? Apart from the once-famous line of Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, and either Joe Kocur or Darren McCarty, The Grind Line is also The Hockey Writers’ weekly column about the Detroit Red Wings. This week, Devin Little, Ian McNaughton, and Tony Wolak are the muckers who make up THW’s forechecking unit and sound off on Red Wings topics.
Over the past few years, the Red Wings have seen several former players and staff inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- 2015: Sergei Fedorov & Nicklas Lidstrom
- 2016: Rogie Vachon
- 2019: Jim Rutherford & Vaclav Nedomansky
- 2020: Ken Holland & Marian Hossa
Overall, the franchise has 77 former players, coaches, and managers enshrined in the Hall of Fame. But who’s next?
In this week’s edition of The Grind Line, The Hockey Writers’ Red Wings coverage team shares their picks for Detroit’s next Hall of Fame inductee.
Related: Red Wings Salary Cap Snapshot
Tony Wolak: Henrik Zetterberg
It’s been two years since Henrik Zetterberg graced Hockeytown’s ice, which means he’s only one year away from becoming eligible to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Even though Detroit’s last captain only won two individual awards—the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2008 and the King Clancy Award in 2015—Zetterberg still possesses Hall of Fame-worthy credentials. He’s a member of the Triple Gold Club, having won the 2008 Stanley Cup and gold at both the 2006 Winter Olympics and 2006 World Championship.
During his NHL career, Zetterberg produced 960 points in 1,082 regular season games, plus 120 more in 137 playoff contests. But his raw point totals only tell half the story – Zetterberg was also one of the NHL’s premier two-way players during his 15-year career. He and Pavel Datsyuk formed a dynamic duo that terrorized opponents at both ends of the ice, possessing the puck for a substantial portion of their overall ice time.
Above all else, Zetterberg was a widely respected leader not only in the NHL, but internationally as well. He wore the “C” as part of Sweden’s 2014 Winter Olympic team in addition to his six-year tenure as Detroit’s captain. Given his impressive credentials, it’s only a matter of time until Zetterberg is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Devin Little: Pavel Datsyuk
While I think Daniel Alfredsson also fits the bill, nobody embodied Red Wings hockey following the 2004-05 lockout like Datsyuk. Fans across the league still know his name to this day – proof that, at one point, he was arguably the best hockey player on the planet.
He’s a two-time Stanley Cup champion, a three-time Selke Trophy winner as the league’s top defensive forward, and he collected 1,031 points across 1,110 games (regular season and playoffs.) He’s already immortal; now it’s time to enshrine him in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Ian McNaughton: Daniel Alfredsson
I’m taking Daniel Alfredsson as the next former Red Wings to make the Hall of Fame. Although “Alfie” played just one season for the Red Wings, I would be shocked if he wasn’t part of the 2021 Hockey Hall of Fame class. He made the NHL Second All-Star Team in 2006, won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2012, and finished with 1,157 career regular season points.
The biggest critique of Alfredsson’s career is not winning a Stanley Cup. He made it as far as the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006-07 with the Ottawa Senators before losing to the Anaheim Ducks in five games. However, he did win a gold medal alongside Zetterberg at the 2006 Winter Olympics, finishing tied for third in scoring at the tournament. He’s also a two-time World Championship silver medallist, so he has had some success at the international level.
His single season with the Red Wings did not end as he hoped, with the team losing to the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 2014 playoffs. But no one can deny that he was one of the most skilled forwards on ends of the ice. His contributions to hockey on and off the ice are worthy of being inducted in the Hall of Fame and we’ll see if the committee agrees with that next year.
Which former Red Wings player or coach will be inducted next? Share your prediction below.
Tony Wolak is based in the Washington D.C. area and covers the Detroit Red Wings for THW. As a former junior and college hockey player, Tony has a unique perspective on Red Wings topics.