Report: Datsyuk might leave Wings at season’s end

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Toronto — Could Wednesday be Pavel Datsyuk’s last game playing on Red Wings home ice?

There’s a chance, according to Elliott Friedman of “Hockey Night of Canada,” who reported Datsyuk could be leaving the Red Wings and returning to Russia.

Datsyuk, 38 in July, has one more season left at $7.5 million, but is considering returning due to family reasons.

Datsyuk’s agent, Dan Milstein, said Datsyuk will decide after this season ends.

“Pavel is concentrating on helping his team to make the playoffs and winning another Stanley Cup for the Detroit Red Wings,” Milstein said in an e-mail when reached by The Detroit News. “Pavel also has one more year left on his NHL contract. We will sit down with Ken Holland at the conclusion of the season for our annual year-end meeting.”

Datsyuk didn’t talk with the media after Saturday’s 3-2 victory in Toronto. Red Wings media relations said Datsyuk will talk with the media early next week – there is no practice Sunday.

Victory puts Wings in third place ... for now

General manager Ken Holland said he hasn’t spoken with Datsyuk regarding the speculation and doesn’t plan on doing so next week.

“I haven’t talked to Pavel, he has a year to go (on his contract),” Holland said. “Are the rumors news to me? I hear a lot of rumors. There were rumors last summer. There were rumors the summer before. There will be rumors next summer.

“There were rumors on Nicklas Lidstrom (returning to Sweden, when Lidstrom was with the Red Wings) for about three years.

“It’s all rumors.”

With the Red Wings about to entire the final week of their regular season, with three crucial games, Holland isn’t going to turn his attention to next season.

“We have a game against Philadelphia, (Wednesday), the biggest game of the year, for me to go and meet players about next year … It’s about this year,” Holland said. “He has a year to go on his contract. I’ll sit down with all of our players at the end of the year, one-by-one, and talk to them all. We’ll worry about next year when our season is over.

“Obviously I’ll sit down with Pavel.”

If Datsyuk were to leave, the Red Wings would still be on the hook for the $7.5 million under the salary cap, since Datsyuk signed the contract after he turned age 35.