Datsyuk confirms he’s returning to Russia next season


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

Get a good look at Pavel Datsyuk during the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs, hockey fans. It’ll be the last chance you get to watch the “Magic Man” suit up in the NHL.

On Sunday, the Detroit Free Press confirmed what our own Elliotte Friedman reported on April 2: that the 2015-16 season would be Datsyuk’s final one in the NHL as he plans to return to Russia next season.

The 37-year-old Datsyuk had 16 goals and 33 assists in 66 games this season.

“I’m thinking I go home after this season,” Datsyuk told the Free Press. “I may not be done with hockey, but — it is hard to say — I think I am done playing in the NHL.”

He has one year remaining on his deal with a cap hit of $7.5 million. Because the deal was signed after he turned 35, the Red Wings will be stuck with the cap hit regardless of whether Datsyuk retires, or where he plays.

“I feel very bad about it,” Datsyuk told the Free Press.

Drafted 171st overall by Detroit 1998, Datsyuk is one of the truly great players of his generation. In 949 career regular season NHL games (all spent with the Detroit Red Wings) the three-time Selke and four-time Lady Byng Trophy winner has 314 goals, 602 assists for 916 points. He won Stanley Cups with Detroit in 2002 and 2008.

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