News broke yesterday that former Detroit Red Wings great, Pavel Datsyuk will be leaving his current KHL team. The speculation of a reunion between the organization and the player throughout the fanbase is now in full force.
When Steve Yzerman decided to abruptly step down from his General Manager’s position with the Tampa Bay Lightning on the eve of teams’ training camp last summer it shook the sports world. The news immediately had the entire Detroit Red Wings fanbase excited for what could be. The speculation was warranted after Yzerman mentioned he wanted to be closer to his family who never relocated to Tampa Bay.
After hearing that, many fans immediately put two and two together. It was then that many fans decided Steve Yzerman would absolutely have a role shortly within the Red Wings organization; they were right. The legend returns as the teams’ newly appointed General Manager.
After hearing the news that Pavel Datsyuk could be eyeing an NHL return many fans, I’m sure became very excited yesterday. It’s a topic that the fanbase will undoubtedly be split on. Think about it, Datsyuk will be 41-years-old when next season kicks off. If the Detroit Red Wings decided to bring him back for a league-wide farewell tour, it would be very Ken Holland-esk. He will become a free agent on July 1st, ending his rights with the Arizona Coyotes.
"Dan Milstein, Datsyuk’s agent, said if Datsyuk were to return to the NHL, it would only be with the Red Wings.“Absolutely,” Milstein told The Detroit News on Wednesday. “The only team he’d play for in the National Hockey League would be the Detroit Red Wings. With that said, if he was to entertain returning to the NHL, I would be speaking to John Chayka (Arizona Coyotes general manager, since the Coyotes own Datsyuk’s rights) before I would approach anybody else.“(But) if Pavel decides to continue to explore the possibility of playing in the National Hockey League, I can tell you the only club he would play for would be the Detroit Red Wings.“He would not consider any other options.”"
Many fans will expect to see number 13 from 2008 skating around but remember it is 2019. Datsyuk wouldn’t be a top-six forward next season if he did indeed sign with the Detroit Red Wings. He would be a third line center at best, and I know what you are thinking. “Well, he would be better than Frans Nielsen, or many other current Wings.” That could very well be true, but that speaks volumes to the current state of the active roster.
Should the Wings sign another old forward to take the place of a young up and comer? Would you be ok with Datsyuk blocking a player(s) like Filip Zadina, Evgeny Svechnikov or Joe Veleno next season? Pavel Datsyuk is one of my favorite players, but it simply doesn’t make sense for the Wings to sign him at this point in time.
If the Wings were a playoff team looking for a piece who could push them over the top, elevating them from a fringe team to a real contender I would be all for it. With the franchise in the midst of a rebuild, it would be much more beneficial to the young players along with the organization to let the young up and comers play.
The Wings have put themselves in the position they are in by signing veteran players, and mediocre players to lucrative long-term deals. I can’t imagine Steve Yzerman being interested in signing another one, that would be anything but changing the franchise’s culture.