Abdelkader to replace Datsyuk as alternate captain in Detroit

AP
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The Red Wings have a new member of their leadership group.

On Tuesday, the club announced that Justin Abdelkader has been named an alternate captain, creating a triumvirate along with captain Henrik Zetterberg and fellow alternate Niklas Kronwall.

Abdelkader takes over for Pavel Datsyuk, who first donned an “A” in 2007 but relinquished the title upon retiring after last season.

It’s not surprising that Detroit went with Abdelkader for a leadership position.

The 29-year-old has spent his entire nine-year career with the Wings, appearing in 480 regular season contests and 64 playoff games. The rugged power forward has also come into his own over the last two seasons, posting 19 goals last year and a career-high 23 the year prior.

Abdelkader was also named to Team USA at the recently-wrapped World Cup of Hockey.

If there’s another reason for Abdelkader to wear a letter in Detroit, it’s his contract. Love it or hate it, his seven-year, $29.75 million pact looks like it’ll keep him in the Motor City for an awfully long time — 2023, to be exact.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, Abdelkader has a full no-trade clause through 2020.