There’s a timeline for when Pavel Datsyuk will announce his intentions for next season.
Per Red Wings GM Ken Holland — by way of the Detroit News — Datsyuk is set to return to Michigan following his participation at the 2016 World Hockey Championships, and let the organization know if he’ll return in the fall.
Datsyuk is currently playing for the host Russians at the Worlds, and has three points through the first three games. The tournament runs through May 22.
There has been great speculation the 37-year-old has played his final game in a Red Wings uniform. In April, Datsyuk told the Detroit Free Press’ Mitch Albom he’s probably leaving the NHL, and Datsyuk’s agent was fairly evasive when asked about his client’s playing future.
It’s believed Datsyuk would leave Detroit and play in the KHL next year. The move would allow him to be closer to his 13-year-old daughter, who lives in Russia.
Following Detroit’s season-ending loss to Tampa Bay, the “Magic Man” said he was still undecided about what he’s going to do.
“I’m not thinking about two days or how many days,” Datsyuk explained. “I need a little bit cool down and emotions go out and start thinking about it more.”
It makes sense for Datsyuk to return to Detroit shortly after the Worlds and let the club know what he’s going to do.
Financially speaking, Holland probably needs as much time as possible to figure out the ramifications — Datsyuk is owed $5.5 million in salary next year, and carries a $7.5M cap hit, both of which could be problematic for Detroit’s cap situation.
But, per TSN’s Frank Seravalli, the issue might not be that complicated:
If Datsyuk does not report for training camp, the Red Wings (or any team which acquires him) can suspend him for breach of contract, two NHL cap managers confirmed on Friday. That team would then not be responsible for paying him any of the $5.5 million due to him in actual cash.
No team, including the Red Wings, would owe him a dollar. Datsyuk’s $7.5 million salary-cap hit, a paper penalty in theory, could prove valuable to a small-market team struggling to hit the cap floor or spending minimum.