As first expected at locker room clean out day when the entire Red Wings team signed a #13 jersey for Pavel Datsyuk, an official news conference at Joe Louis Arena confirmed his future.
Pavel Datsyuk makes it official, announces he’s leaving Detroit Red Wings, returning to native Russia. pic.twitter.com/nYyl4frFN5
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) June 18, 2016
Pavel Datsyuk Officially Retires
The end of an era is at hand. The soon-to-be 38-year old Datsyuk was drafted in the 6th round (171st overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. 953 games later, he has cemented his place in Red Wings lore. This past season, he became the 4th Red Wing in the franchise’s 90-year history to score 300 goals, 600 assists, and 900 points with the franchise. The others? Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, and Alex Delvecchio.
He’s topped 65+ points in a season eight times including two 87-point and two 97-point seasons. He finished under 50 points just three times in the NHL including his rookie season and a two years where he missed 15+ games each. In the playoffs, he helped the Red Wings to two Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008. He scored 42 goals and 113 points in 157 career games in the spring.
A Model of Two Way Play
A model of consistency, Datsyuk’s greatest asset to go along with his scoring punch was unbelievable stick handling and defensive work. He always seemed to come out of a board battle with the puck, take it when no one was looking, and leave a goaltender out to dry. This led to him receiving three Selke Trophies for the game’s best defensive forward. As Mickey Redmond once said, Clark Kent really did have nothing on Datsyuk in a phone booth. Also a gentlemanly player, Datsyuk never eclipsed 22 penalty minutes more than once (’03-04-35 PIMS). He won four Lady Byng Trophies over his career.
Cap Issues Created
It is a great time to celebrate Datsyuk’s accomplishments and career as a Wing, but his contract situation has almost overshadowed it. Datsyuk’s departure means that $7.5 million will be left in terms of dead cap space. While it is widely expected that Ken Holland will trade his contract for more cap space, the suitors are getting shorter by the day as New Jersey just took on Marc Savard‘s contract from Florida and the Coyotes just acquired the rights to pending UFA Alex Goligoski . Despite this, the Wings will likely make a move to clear the contract.
@draglikepull DET will trade contract first, acquiring team will terminate contract, take cap hit. Contract will get terminated, not by DET.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 18, 2016
Main Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images.