Detroit Red Wings fans have every right to chant “One more year” at Pavel Datsyuk, but it’s his choice … and he’s openly admitting that he’s leaning toward going back to Russia after the 2015-16 season ends.
He told the Detroit Free Press’ Mitch Albom as much in a story that appeared on Sunday morning.
“I’m thinking I go home after this season,” Datsyuk said, in a long discussion at the Northville home of his agent and friend, Dan Milstein. “I may not be done with hockey, but — it is hard to say — I think I am done playing in NHL.”
Albom notes that Datsyuk “has been squirming” to go back to Russia since as early as 2012, so this shouldn’t be a big surprise to the Red Wings.
The question for his team, however, is how do they handle a $7.5 million cap hit that won’t retire with Datsyuk?
The answer, it seems, may come in … Chris Pronger. General Fanager trots out a pretty reasonable scenario that could help two teams at once:
ESPN’s Craig Custance has more about the cap situation here, with these tweets capturing the gist:
Long story short? You never know when a change of heart might happen, but Red Wings fans may be wise to savor Datsyuk’s playoff appearances. They could serve as a swan song for one of the NHL’s most magical talents.