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


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