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Datsyuk not ruling out NHL return: report

Former Red Wings center in final season of KHL contract, could return to North America, agent says @NHLdotcom

Pavel Datsyuk could return to the NHL next season, his agent said Wednesday.

The 40-year-old center, who spent his entire 14-season NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings, last played in the NHL in 2015-16. He is in his third season with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League and has 34 points (nine goals, 25 assists) in 44 KHL games this season.


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Datsyuk's KHL contract ends after this season.

"I can tell you Pavel is not ready to quit hockey in next few years," his agent, Dan Milstein, told Match TV in Russia. "So again, it's up to him, going to America or playing in the KHL."

Milstein told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday he believes the Red Wings are the only NHL team Datsyuk would consider. The agent told the newspaper he has not spoken to any League executives and won't do so until Datsyuk informs him he is considering an NHL comeback.

Datsyuk announced his retirement from the NHL on June 18, 2016, after playing 953 games, to return to his native Russia. His NHL contract had one season remaining with an average annual value of $7.5 million, and he was traded to the Arizona Coyotes on June 24, 2016. He would be an unrestricted free agent in the NHL.

He captained the Olympic Athletes of Russia to the gold medal at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and helped SKA St. Petersburg win the Gagarin Cup in 2017.

"Pavel is getting slower with age, but his skill and vision are still there," Milstein said. "People would go to the stadium to see him. I think it'd be lovely and appropriate for him to return to North America. But again, he will make a decision.

"He would be a center (on the) second or third line, or wing on the first or second line and play on the first power play."

Video: Pavel Datsyuk won Stanley Cup twice with Red Wings

Datsyuk is seventh on the Red Wings all-time list with 918 points (314 goals, 604 assists) and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2002 and 2008. He also won the Lady Byng Trophy for skillful and gentlemanly play four straight times (2006-09) and the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL three consecutive seasons (2008-10).

"He will have a lot of options if he decides to return to the NHL," Milstein said. "But it'd be appropriate to return to Detroit where he spent all his North American career. Though it's up to Datsyuk. Will he want to make this comeback?" senior editor Sergei Demidov contributed to this report

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