The Coyotes used the 16th pick to select Jakob Chychrun of the Sarnia Sting, while the Red Wings took Dennis Cholowski at No. 20.
Datsyuk announced earlier this month he was leaving Detroit to return home to play in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. The 37-year-old had one year remaining on his contract with the Red Wings when he decided to leave. Despite the fact he’d be playing in Russia, his $7.5-million salary cap hit would’ve remained on Detroit’s books next season since he signed his latest contract after he turned 35.
This isn’t the first time the Coyotes have made a deal like this. In fact, they acquired the contract of Chris Pronger plus Nicklas Grossmann from the Philadelphia Flyers for Sam Gagner and a conditional draft pick last June.
Adding cap hits from players like Datsyuk and Pronger helps franchises like the Coyotes, which operate under a smaller budget than many teams, get to the cap floor.
The Red Wings are believed to be one of the teams interested in going after pending UFA Steven Stamoks should he hit the open market on July 1. Eliminating Datsyuk’s cap hit from the equation gives Holland more flexibility to potentially offer a lucrative contract to a free agent.
“You’d be dreaming if you think having a $7.5 million cap hit on our cap space has no effect on our ability to do business,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told reporters hours after Datsyuk’s announcement. “Of course you’re going to be compromised.
“I don’t have any hard feelings. Not toward Pav. He’s a great player,” Holland added. “He gave us 14 years of incredible hockey. He never complained, he just played hard, he’s a 200-foot player. I’d like him back for another year, but at the end of the day, I understand why we’re standing here, and I’ll deal with it.”
Drafted 171st overall by Detroit 1998, Datsyuk is one of the truly great players of his generation.
In 953 career regular-season NHL games (all spent with the Red Wings) the three-time Selke and four-time Lady Byng Trophy winner registered 314 goals and 604 assists for 918 points. He won Stanley Cups with Detroit in 2002 and 2008.