The announcement came as little surprise. Detroit made it official at a news conference Tuesday before a public scrimmage at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, where the Red Wings have been holding training camp.
The 32-year-old Zetterberg has been an alternate captain for the Red Wings. The Swedish forward had 22 goals and 47 assists last season.
"Of course it's a very special day," Zetterberg said. "It is special, and I'm glad the day is here, and we're back playing again. Looking forward to getting going on Saturday."
When Zetterberg helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 2008, he earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP for his two-way play.
Lidstrom started wearing the captain's letter in 2006 after Steve Yzerman retired, ending a two-decade run that made him the longest-serving captain in NHL history.
During the public scrimmage later Tuesday, Zetterberg scored past Jimmy Howard with 5:42 remaining in the second period to break a 2-all tie.
Detroit opens the 48-game season at St. Louis on Saturday night. The Red Wings play at home for the first time next Tuesday night against Dallas.
Detroit is one team that may not have to worry much about a post-lockout lapse in fan support. Admission to Tuesday's scrimmage was free, and about 90 minutes before it started, fans were already forming a line outside that wrapped from the front of the arena to the back.
"The way they came out here tonight, it's inspiring for us," Howard said.
They eventually packed the small venue, which seats around 3,500 for Ontario Hockey League games. In addition to the scrimmage, players competed in a brief shootout after the game.
Star Pavel Datsyuk did not play in the scrimmage after staying overseas for Sunday's KHL All-Star Game in Russia. Now back with the Red Wings, Datsyuk said he enjoyed a chance to play in his home country for a bit during the lockout.
"Of course it's long time don't play in Russia," Datsyuk said. "Lots of Russian friends, always welcome to home."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.