Agent: Pavel Datsyuk will only play for Red Wings if he returns to NHL


Former Detroit Red Wings centre Pavel Datsyuk. (Paul Sancya/AP)

The agent for Russian superstar Pavel Datsyuk says he will only consider a return to the NHL if he can do it playing for the Detroit Red Wings.

“He would not consider any other options,” agent Dan Milstein said in an interview with the Detroit News.

Datsyuk announced Tuesday that he would not be returning to the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg for a fourth season.

Milstein said Datsyuk will be traveling to Detroit “in the coming days” to discuss his options.

“Pavel is going to take a bit of time to make his decision,” Milstein said. “We’re going to meet socially and we’re going to talk about his options. He has to decide what his next step is going to be. (But) basically, he’s not going to retire.

“He has not decided what the next step is.”

Milstein said Datsyuk could also play for his hometown team, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, in the KHL next season.

Datsyuk, who turns 41 in July, last played in the NHL with the Red Wings in the 2015-16 season, his 14th with the club.

He chose to return to Russia to play in the KHL and be closer to his family the following year, leaving the Red Wings with one year remaining on his contract worth $7.5 million against the cap.

Detroit traded Datsyuk’s contract to the Arizona Coyotes at the 2016 NHL Draft. According to Milstein, the Coyotes hold Datsyuk’s rights until July 1.

“At this point he’s going to have to decide where he wants to play,” Milstein said. “How much does he want to play, another year, or two years? If it’s only one year, the decision would probably be returning home (to Russia), right?

“If it’s one and one, he could play one year here and one year there, right? He has to decide what he wants to do.”

Datsyuk appeared in 953 regular season games for the Red Wings, scoring 314 goals and 918 points. He also scored 42 goals and 113 points in 157 playoff games.

He was teammates with new Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman for four seasons.

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