Well here’s a bit of a surprise. According to Elliotte Friedman of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk is considering moving back to Russia at the end of this season.
WOW. @FriedgeHNIC reporting Datsyuk might leave DET for Russia this off season.
— 🎙Nick Alberga 🏒 (@thegoldenmuzzy) April 3, 2016
Now, let’s not overreact to this news. It’s widely known that Datsyuk wants to retire in Russia as that’s where his family is. The veteran center will be 38 in July, and that timeline may have moved up for a number of reasons. Having said that, I’m still a believer that he’ll spend next season in Detroit and play out his contract.
If he were to leave Detroit after this season, his $7.5M cap hit for next season would still count against the Red Wings, leaving Detroit a massive hole on the roster and no cap space for a replacement. Datsyuk is set to enter the final year of a 3-year, $22.5M deal in 2016-17 and is owed $5.5M next season. More on this as news develops.