Look, Pavel Datsyuk leaving for Russia wouldn’t exactly be an ideal scenario for the Detroit Red Wings. Still, the plausible scenario where the Red Wings would send Datsyuk’s $7.5 million cap hit to a team needing to hit the cap floor would be as close to an “everyone wins” situation as this would get.
At least one prominent report paints a dimmer picture for the Red Wings’ salary cap future for 2016-17.
Instead of that Chris Prongerian bit of cap maneuvering, the Red Wings might just terminate Datsyuk’s contract, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon.
In that case, Detroit would eat that massive cap hit because Datsyuk’s deal is a “35+ contract.” Doing so should absolve the Red Wings from paying his $5.5 million salary, however.
Here are Shannon’s two tweets to give you a full view of this possible scenario:
Now, this is far from official, as Datsyuk has an afternoon announcement scheduled for Saturday while the Red Wings are expected to share more that later on in the evening. There would likely be more information and less speculation by then.
There is some precedent for the Red Wings not trading his cap hit, even though more recent rumors indicated that they might.
Back on April 10, the Detroit Free Press’ Mitch Albom reported that management wasn’t leaning toward moving that beefy cap hit:
Datsyuk does not wish to even give the appearance of a negotiation. He also said that if the Wings wanted to trade his rights to another team as a salary cap dump, he would accept that, understanding that it was strictly business (Milstein said the Wings have told him that would not happen).
Maybe the Red Wings had a change of heart and decided to terminate his contract rather than moving the cap hit. Perhaps another team doesn’t want to absorb that dead money, even if his actual 2016-17 salary is more palatable at $5.5 million.
Again, we’ll gradually get more answers to this fascinating situation. There are plenty of other details to work out, but it sure sounds like Datsyuk won’t be playing for the Red Wings in the NHL next season.