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Friedman: Pavel Datsyuk may return to Russia next season

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Elliote Friedman had mentioned that Red Wings veteran Pavel Datsyuk could leave Detroit for Russia, leaving the Red Wings taking on his full salary in the remaining year of his contract:

There is a whole lot to unpack with this report, but it sounds pretty straight-forward. Pavel would leave for Russia, Detroit would be left with his $7.5 million cap hit. This is interesting, and obviously it will be hashed out over the offseason, but man I was not expecting this. What a blow.

Here's the transcription:

"We've all understood that at some point, Pavel Datsyuk would go back to Russia and play. There is a legitimate chance according to sources that might happen after this season. If it does occur, it would be for family reasons. Datsyuk isn't commenting and neither is the club. It is expected that everyone will sit down during the offseason for a final decision. The key thing to remember is that if he does go, his cap hit of $7.5 million stays on the Wings roster since he signed after 35."

Updates from Khan

It's a non-answer from a player agent at a time we'd very much like a real answer. If there's any speculation to be had from it, it's that it seems more plausible that Datsyuk has not made up his mind.