Saturday, June 18, 2016

Datsyuk Takes His Puck and Heads Home

On Saturday, Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk finally confirmed that he will forego his last year on his current contract, in order to go back to Russia to play at home and be closer to his family.  The move has been hanging above the heads of both the player and the team for quite some time, but now the move is official and the repercussions can now unfold.

It is a pretty worst-case scenario for the Red Wings, as he signed a 3-year contract extension in 2013, which would take him through the 2017 season, but it was also considered to be a 35+ contract, which by CBA bylaws, will count against Detroit's salary cap, regardless of whether he plays, terminates or retires.  Therefore, the Red Wings will have to deal the contract, if they want to be players in the free agency market, trying to replace the veteran who is out the door.  After a deal is done, then the contract will be terminated and that team will be stuck with the cap hit for the season.  On the plus side, once the contract is terminated, there are no actual dollars to be paid out on the contract.

Back to the celebration of the player, as the 37-year old played in 14 NHL seasons, all with the Red Wings, playing in 953 games, scoring 314 goals and 918 points.  His career-highs in points came both in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, where he picked up 97 points in both years, scoring a career-high 32 goals in the 2009 season.

In the Opiated Sherpa draft pools, the two-way centre appeared on three money-winning teams, a 1st place finish in 2008, part of a 3rd place finish in 2012 and a 2nd place team in 2013.  It has been a few years since he was on a money-winning team, but he has a legacy in the pool, which will be missed.

Instead of playing in the NHL, he will play his remaining hockey years back home in Russia, as he wished to be playing still, but closer to his family.

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