According to an interview done with Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk will leave the organization to go back home to Russia, following this year’s playoffs.
Datsyuk has one year left on his three year contract with a cap hit of $7.5 million per season, but he is ready to forego the money and return home to Russia for family reasons. He was supposed to earn $5.5 million next season. Since Datsyuk’s contract is of the over 35 variety, leaving the Red Wings would leave them with that $7.5 million on the cap in dead money.
“I’m thinking I go home after the season, I may not be done with hockey, but it is hard to say- think i’m done playing in the NHL.” Datsyuk told Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press.
“Because of the rumors out there, I wanted to clear this up now before the playoffs started so I can focus only on giving my best playoff performance. And I wanted the fans to hear it from me, not someone else,” he added.
The 38 year old Russian wishes he had not signed that three0year deal during the 2013-14 season.
“I feel very bad about it,” said the center. “Looking back, I wish I had done a year-by-year contract, not a three-year contract. I stayed (last year) in respect for (team owners) the Ilitch family. I don’t want to leave the team in disaster.”
Pavel Datsyuk has spent his entire 14-year NHL career with the Red Wings in which he won 2 Stanley cups (2002, 2008) and put up up 314 goals and 918 points in 953 games. He has also won 4 Lady Byng trophies for his sportsmanship towards the game (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), and three Frank J. Selke awards for the league’s best defensive forward (2008, 2009, 2010).
Following the Boston Bruins 6-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon, the Detroit Red Wings extended their consecutive playoff appearances to 25. Pavel Datsyuk will be trying to help the Red Wings who will be facing the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first of the playoffs.
MONTREAL, QC – FEBRUARY 26: Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on February 26, 2014 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Red Wings defeated the Canadiens 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)