Mike Babcock says Pavel Datsyuk isn't leaving for KHL

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

Pavel Datsyuk is going to remain in Detroit, according to coach Mike Babcock. (USATSI)
Pavel Datsyuk is going to remain in Detroit, according to coach Mike Babcock. (USATSI)

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Earlier this year rumors started to surface that Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk could leave for the KHL when his contract expires after next season.

On Wednesday, just hours before the Red Wings opened their second-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks, coach Mike Babcock did his best to crush those rumors.

"You mean how long is his deal and how much is he gonna make? Well, there's this much possibility he's going back to Russia," Babcock said, via Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News while proceeding to make a zero with his thumb and index finger.

Babcock then added that the two sides would get a deal done this summer to keep Datsyuk in Detroit.

Datsyuk still has one year remaining on his current deal that pays him $6.7 million per year. He's spent his entire career with the Red Wings since being selected in the sixth round of the 1998 draft. He's one of the NHL's all-time great draft steals and really hasn't shown any signs of slowing down, even at age 34. He's still one of the best two-way players in the league (he was named as a finalist for the Selke Trophy again on Wednesday) and still averages close to a point per game offensively.

Babcock's assurance that Datsyuk is hanging around is great news for Detroit. He's not only one of the most exciting players in the league, he's also one of the best players. As long as he's around and playing at his current level, the Red Wings are going to have a shot to make the playoffs.

It also means a few more years of moves like this:

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