Just three years after leaving North America, “The Magic Man” may be on his way back to the NHL.
Speaking with the Detroit Free Press, Pavel Datsyuk‘s agent Dan Milstein said that the 40-year-old, whose contract is set to expire in the KHL, might consider returning to the NHL once his deal expires.
If Datsyuk, who turns 41 in July, does decide to make a return to the NHL, Milstein adds that there is only one team he believes his client will consider.
“Three years ago, Datsyuk left Detroit on his own,” Milstein said. “The same desire can bring him back.”
In the summer of 2016, Datsyuk left the Detroit Red Wings with one year left on his contract to be closer to family and play in his native Russia. In an attempt to free up salary cap space, Detroit proceeded to ship Datsyuk’s contract to the Arizona Coyotes at the 2016 NHL draft. As a result, according to Milstein, the Coyotes now own Datsyuk’s rights until July 1, 2019, when he becomes free to sign with any other team — namely the Red Wings.
Milstein does concede that Datsyuk, who he says does not want to retire, still remains undecided on his future.
“Pavel is not ready to retire,” said Milstein. “I talk to him six, seven times a week. I have talked to him about a possible return to NHL, but that is all.
He is going to have to make a decision.”
The Red Wings, who currently sit in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, did not comment on the matter, which is commonplace when it comes to players whose rights belong to other hockey clubs.
Throughout his career, Datsyuk captivated the league by consistently making high-end skilled plays look easy. On top of that, he was one of the best two-way centres in the game.
In addition to his three all-star appearances, the centre won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league’s best two-way forward three times over his 14-year NHL career. Datsyuk also played a significant role in winning two Stanley Cups during his time in Detroit (2002 and 2008). In 953 career NHL games — all with the Red Wings — Datsyuk accumulated 918 points (304 goals, 614 assists).
Since going to Russia, “The Magic Man” has been close to a point-per-game player in three seasons with St. Petersburg SKA. Having signed a one-year extension last April, Datsyuk put up nine goals and 25 assists in 44 games this season.