Report: Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk to sign with SKA

Former Red Wing coach Scotty Bowman discusses Pavel Datsyuk’s early days in Detroit, saying we couldn’t believe how magical he was with the puck, but nobody could see him being this good.

Pavel Datsyuk is reportedly nearing a final decision on his 2016-17 season.

The Detroit Red Wings legend is contemplating a two-year deal with KHL club SKA St. Petersburg, according to multiple reports out of Russia.

Gennady Timchenko, chairman of the KHL’s board of directors, told reporter Slava Malamud that Datsyuk will join SKA, though Datsyuk and his agent maintain that a final decision has yet to be made.

The club will also try to sign Russian wingers Sergei Plotnikov and Viktor Tikhonov. Both are impending unrestricted free agent wingers signed through July 1 with the Arizona Coyotes.

Datsyuk has one season remaining on his three-year, $22.5-million contract with Detroit. The 37-year-old will count $7.5 million against Detroit’s salary cap next season, even if he retires.

The Red Wings could trade his contract to a budget team needing to reach the salary cap floor.

“He would like to leave, but at the same time, he wants to make sure the Wings have options,” Datsyuk’s agent, Dan Milstein, told Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press on Monday. “He wants to help the team any way he can with the salary cap issue.”

Datsyuk, Milstein told St. James, will be taking a two-week family vacation and then meet with Red Wings GM Ken Holland in mid-June to discuss his future.

Regarded as one of the KHL’s elite franchises, SKA is the club Ilya Kovalchuk left the NHL to join in 2013-14.

Datsyuk scored one goal and registered 11 assists for Team Russia at the IIHF World Championship this month, helping the host nation to a bronze medal.

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