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Datsyuk could play in Russia next season: report

Speculation on future of Red Wings veteran 'all rumors': Holland

by NHL.com @NHL / NHL.com

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said speculation surrounding the future of veteran forward Pavel Datsyuk is "all rumors."

Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman reported during the Red Wings' 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday that there is a "legitimate chance" Datsyuk will forego the final year of his NHL contract to return to his native Russia and sign with a KHL team because of family reasons.

Datsyuk, 37, is scheduled to enter the final season of a three-year, $22.5 million contract. If he leaves after this season, the Red Wings will still be responsible for the $7.5 million NHL salary-cap charge for 2016-17 because he signed his last contract after he turned 35.

"Pav has a year to go," Holland told the Detroit News. "I hear lots of rumors. There were rumors last summer, there were rumors the summer before. There was rumors about Nick Lidstrom for about three years. It's all rumors.

"He's got a year to go on his contract. I'm going to sit down with all our players at the end of the year, one by one, and talk to them all. Obviously, I'll sit down with Pav."

Datsyuk's 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) this season are tied with forward Henrik Zetterberg for the Red Wings lead. Detroit has won two straight games and is in third place in the Atlantic Division with three games remaining. 

"Pavel is concentrating on helping his team to make the playoffs and winning another Stanley Cup for the Red Wings," Datsyuk's agent, Dan Milstein told MLive.com. "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."

Datsyuk has won the Stanley Cup twice (2002, 2008) and is a three-time Selke Trophy winner. He has 314 goals and 917 points in 950 NHL games, all with the Red Wings.

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