Well, this is not the news I expected on a quiet Tuesday evening.
According to “The Bobfather” Bob McKenzie of TSN and NBC, Pavel Datsyuk might consider a return to the NHL next season.
Heard some idle chatter that 40-year-old KHLer Pavel Datsyuk might consider a return to the NHL next season but his agent Dan Milstein says: “Every year we sit down and talk about options but (returning to the) NHL isn’t something he has entertained.”
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 19, 2018
Before we get too excited/attached/upset about this, let’s remember that this is the thinnest of thin news reports. McKenzie uses the words “idle chatter” and “might consider”. Dan Milstein’s quote is most interesting to me because if returning to the NHL isn’t something he has entertained, then why even mention that every year they sit down and talk about options?
Datsyuk’s contract with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL expires at the end of this season. His NHL contract, currently held by the Arizona Coyotes, also expires at the end of this season. On July 1, Datsyuk will be a “free agent” as far as the NHL is concerned and on July 20th, he’ll turn 41-years-old. He has eight goals and 35 points in 37 games this year so far.
Datsyuk’s 15-year NHL career was played entirely with the Red Wings. He was a staple in the post-Yzerman era of the team and will go down as one of the best players to ever wear the Winged Wheel. His departure from the team, mid-contract, was controversial as it left them handcuffed with his $7.5-million cap hit.
Though nothing is confirmed, it’s hard to believe that the Red Wings wouldn’t be in the mix if the Magic Man did decide he wanted to come back to the NHL. Datsyuk is on record saying he doesn’t want to play for any NHL team other than the Red Wings. The key factor will be if whoever is left in Detroit’s management from that side is ready to forgive Datsyuk for leaving the team in a tough situation at a tough time.
This may never happen, but it feels to me like the initial leak that leads to a reality. Plus, The Bobfather rarely gets something wrong.
Have you forgiven Datsyuk for his sudden departure? Would you want the Red Wings to re-sign him?