Pavel Datsyuk told Mitch Albom he’s probably leaving NHL after this season

AP
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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:

(Read the entire thread of thoughts here.)

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.

Related: Datsyuk insists he’s focused on the playoffs