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Datsyuk waiting on Worlds to decide future

Red Wings general manager unsure if forward will return

by Paul Harris / NHL.com Corresponent

DETROIT - Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk said he will wait until after the 2016 IIHF World Championship to make his decision on whether he will return to Detroit next season.

Datsyuk will play for Russia in the tournament, which will be held May 6-22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

"I don't want to make a fast decision. I need more time," Datsyuk said Monday, when the Red Wings cleaned out their lockers at Joe Louis Arena. "I go to world champion, play there and of course during world champion, I'll be thinking about it more."

Datsyuk, 37, who has one year remaining on his contract, said during the last weekend of the regular season that he would leave the Red Wings and return to Russia after the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs ended. Detroit was eliminated in five games in an Eastern Conference First Round series by the Tampa Bay Lightning last week.

However, before the playoffs, Datsyuk said that he had not made up his mind 100 percent.

Video: Is Datsyuk done?

Datsyuk, who has talked about returning to Russia and perhaps playing in the Kontinental Hockey League for the past few seasons, has a 13-year-old daughter in Russia.

"I don't want to like really share factors, it's many factors, good things, bad things," Datsyuk said. "I don't want to get involved, especially when many people, everybody has their own decision, own opinion. ... I want to just more figure out [since] it's my decision, not hear from people what their thoughts [are about] everything."

Detroit general manager Ken Holland is unsure if Datsyuk will return next season.

"I hope he'll be back, but it would pretty naive for me to sit here and expect things to be the way they were year after year and think that [Datsyuk] was coming back," Holland said.

The Red Wings general manager said he would talk to Datsyuk in June and expects his decision then.

If Datsyuk doesn't return, the Red Wings will have his $7.5 million salary-cap charge as dead money unless they trade his rights.

"If he does not return, certainly, you'd like to have his cap space," Holland said. "But what's the price if you trade it? Is it worth prospects and draft pick for cap space for one year ? It doesn't make sense."

Said Datsyuk about the contract situation: "Of course I feel pressure. I [made] a mistake with this one. But it's a decision not made 100 percent yet and can't answer exactly your questions now."

A sixth-round pick (No. 171) by Detroit in the 1998 NHL Draft, Datsyuk has 314 goals and 918 points in 953 career games in 14 seasons and is one of four Red Wings with at least 300 goals, 600 assists and 900 points. The others are Hockey Hall of Fame members Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman and Alex Delvecchio.

Datsyuk had 16 goals and 49 points in 66 games during the regular season and didn't have a point in five playoff games.

He won the Stanley Cup twice (2002, 2008), won the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL's most gentlemanly player four times and the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward three times.

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