Agent: Bidding war brewing for Datsyuk's services

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Pavel Datsyuk

Detroit — Russian teams are beginning to bid for the rights to acquire Pavel Datsyuk.

Dan Milstein, Datsyuk’s agent, said Wednesday he has received a contract proposal from SKA St. Petersburg and expects more offers from KHL teams in the coming days.

Gennday Timchenko, president of SKA, is quoted in Russia’s Sport-Express as saying St. Peterburg has “a good chance to sign (Datsyuk).”

But Milstein said Datsyuk will go on vacation with his family for the next two weeks, decide on his future, and return to Detroit around June 13-14 and talk with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland shortly after.

Milstein said Datsyuk will not decide on whether to return to Russia or return to fulfill the final season of a three-year contract with the Red Wings, until he meets with Holland.

“He’ll be on vacation with his family these next two weeks and I’m sure much of the discussion will be in regard to that (Datsyuk’s decision),” said Milstein, adding Datsyuk will return to Detroit in time for a hockey camp Datsyuk presides over beginning June 18.

Datsyuk, who’ll be 38 in July, stated toward the end of the Red Wings’ season, and after their playoff exit, he is leaning toward returning to Russia and foregoing the final year in his three-year, $22.5 million contract with the Red Wings to be closer to his teenage daughter.

But Datsyuk also has said he hasn’t come to a final decision regarding his NHL future.

Datsyuk has also stated throughout his career he would like to conclude his playing career in his native Russia.

“He has said from the time he entered the NHL he would like to finish his career in Russia,” Milstein said. “But Pavel doesn’t want to leave the Red Wings in a difficult situation.”

Because the contract with Datsyuk was signed after Datsyuk’s 35th birthday, the $7.5 million salary cap hit would count against the Red Wings’ salary cap even if Datsyuk were to retire from the NHL.

Holland said he’d like a final decision, one way or another, before mid-June, as the Red Wings and the rest of the NHL prepare for the Entry Draft June 24-25.

If Datsyuk were to leave, Holland would attempt to trade Datsyuk’s $7.5 million salary cap hit to a team in need of reaching the approximate $55 million salary cap floor.

Arizona, Carolina and New Jersey are three teams who are expected to be near the floor.

But Holland said he isn’t interested in trading away a high draft pick or prospects for a team to acquire Datsyuk’s salary cap hit.

Datsyuk recently led Russia to a bronze medal finish at the world championships, hosted by Russia.

During this past season, Datsyuk had 49 points (16 goals and 33 assists) in 66 games.

Datsyuk was held without a point in the five-game playoff loss to Tampa Bay.
Twitter: @tkulfan