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Agent debunks report Datsyuk will play in Russia

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Pavel Datsyuk

The agent for Pavel Datsyuk quickly shot down a report Friday that claimed Datsyuk will leave the Red Wings and play in Russia next season.

According to a report from sportfakt.ru, Datsyuk and SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League have agreed to a two-year contract. The website said financial terms were not known.

Datsyuk is currently representing Russia in the world championship in his home country, playing Finland Saturday in the semifinals.

But Dan Milstein, Datsyuk’s agent, said the report is false.

“It’s definitely not true,” Milstein said. “Pavel hasn’t spoken to anybody, hasn’t spoken to any team, and he hasn’t spoken any media other than talking about the (world championship) tournament.

“There’s nothing to it (the report).”

Datsyuk, 37, has one-year left on his contract with the Red Wings, but said after the NHL season he is leaning toward returning to Russia – although he left the door slightly open for a return to the Red Wings.

Milstein expects Datsyuk to return to Detroit approximately the second week of June, depending on Datsyuk’s obligations in Russia after the world championship.

Datsyuk will then meet with general manager Ken Holland, likely informing Holland of his decision – whether he’ll return to Russia or fulfill the final year in his contract with the Red Wings.

“It’s the first I’ve heard of it,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said of Friday’s report out of Russia. “I plan on sitting down and meeting with Pavel when he returns from the world championship, sometime in early June.

“I would need to know his decision by the middle of June.”

Datsyuk would like to be closer to his teenage daughter, who lives in Russia with his Datsyuk’s former wife.

If Datsyuk left Detroit it would create a $7.5 million salary cap dead space for one season. The Wings would attempt to trade the contract to a team looking to reach the salary cap floor (minimum).

But to do so, the Red Wings likely have to include a prospect or first- or second-round draft pick, and that’s something Holland might not be willing to do.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

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