Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk could be headed for his native Russia next season, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada reported on-air Saturday.
Datsyuk, who turns 38 in July, has one year left on his contract and is reportedly considering a return to the Russian League for family reasons.
“Pavel is concentrating on helping his team to make the playoffs and winning another Stanley Cup for the Detroit Red Wings,” his agent said in an email to 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.”
Holland told reporters that it all amounted to rumors, and that he and Datsyuk would sit down after the season to discuss his future.The Red Wings are set to pay the $7.5 million on his contract regardless, since he signed his most recent deal after turning 35.
Datsyuk began his career playing in Russia, and played with Dynamo Moscow during the 2004-05 lockout and CSKA Moscow during the 2012-13 lockout.
Now in his 14th season with the Red Wings, Datsyuk has 16 goals and 31 assists. He was a member of the team’s Stanley Cup winners in 2002 and 2010, and has long been considered one of the sport’s elite two-way forwards.