The Malik Report
by Paul on 06/18/13 at 10:50 AM ET
Updated 21x at 2:44 PM, and FYI, Datsyuk's goal against Nashville's up in the second TSN Play of the Year showdown semifinal: the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan has the financial parameters:
as many have pointed out, it's technically $7.667 million oh hell with it, it's $7.5 million per the Tweets below)
The Free Press's Helene St. James summarized the situation nicely...
The deal has been a foregone conclusion since May 31, the day the Wings cleaned out their lockers two days after being bounced in the second round of the playoffs. Datsyuk said at the time he planned to stay in Detroit past the expiration of his current seven-year, $46.9-million deal. There had been chatter for much of the season that he might return to his native Russia, where he could make a mint playing in the KHL and be closer to his 10-year-old daughter, Elizabeth.
His decision to remain in Detroit — reflecting his dedication to finishing his career with the Wings, and the fact that, while the KHL may be more lucrative, the NHL is the best hockey league in the world — is tremendously good news for the Wings. Even in what's considered middle age for a hockey player, Datsyuk is among the most talented players in the game.
The Wings now have four core players locked up for several years: Datsyuk, captain Henrik Zetterberg, defenseman Niklas Kronwall, and goaltender Jimmy Howard. Extending Datsyuk also all but closes the window completely on Valtteri Filppula coming back; the Wings don't need him as much now that Datsyuk will be sticking around and don't have to give Filppula the $5 million he is seeking on the open market (and might get from a team like Columbus, now run by general manager Jarmp Kekalainen, Filppula's fellow Finn).
And Datsyuk's agent, Gary Greenstin, continued the narrative he'd started in speaking with MLive's Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness when the Windsor Star's Bob Duff reached Greenstin:
“It’s a good possibility,” said Gary Greenstin, slated to fly to Detroit Tuesday to meet with the Wings’ brass. “We’re talking every day.” Greenstin indicated the two sides could reach an agreement, “maybe tomorrow, maybe in a few days. We’re not in a hurry.”
A Selke Trophy finalist this season, Datsyuk dropped a big hint that the two sides were near a pact on his Twitter feed Monday when he tweeted, “Big day tomorrow,” and Greenstin did nothing to deter that optimism
“We’re close,” Greenstin said. “I hope very soon.”
Under the regulations of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, since Datsyuk has one year left on his current contract, a new deal can’t be filed with the league until July 5, which is also the first day teams can sign free agents. Both sides can come to an agreement on a contract extension prior to then, however and Greenstin left the impression that scenario was likely.
“He would like to continue his career in Detroit,” Greenstin said of Datsyuk. “I don’t see a problem in negotiations. We’re talking. I hope there will be something soon. We’ll see.”
Update #1.5: MLive's Ansar Khan confirms...
Datsyuk's agent, Gary Greenstin, told M-Live.com on Monday that the sides were "very close'' to an agreement that he was flying to Detroit to meet with general manager Ken Holland and finalize the deal.
The contract can't be registered with the NHL or officially announced until July 5, the first day of free agency, because Datsyuk still has a year remaining on a seven-year deal worth $6.7 million per season.
The extension ensures that Datsyuk, who turns 35 on July 20, will be a Red Wing through at least the 2016-17 season.
As does the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
Datsyuk’s agent, Gary Greenstin, met with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland Tuesday morning to wrap up contract details.
The 2013-14 season was to be the final year of a seven-year contract worth $46.9 million. It called for a $6.7 million salary in 2013-14.
Financial terms of the new deal were not immediately known. New contracts cannot be signed until July 5, the start of the NHL calendar.
Holland said Monday the two sides had been talking regularly in the past couple of weeks.
Datsyuk said after the playoffs ended he would like to finish his NHL career with the Red Wings.
"I would love to stay," said Datsyuk, 34, as the Red Wings cleaned out their lockers after a series defeat to Chicago. "Yeah, I hope we agree, and we sign a new deal. I hope we agree and I sign for more (years)."
Update #3: More stuff:
The Wings confirm, too:
Update #19: Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov claims that the deal is fair for a team and city that are in "dire straits";
SI's Allan Muir sees the Datsyuk and Malkin deals as "kicks in the rubles" for the KHL...
For all its big-league aspirations, the KHL remains a refuge for players who can’t adjust to the culture or the game in North America (think Nikolai Zherdev and Alex Radulov) and those whose talents place them on the margins of the game, like Tomas Vincour and Chris Bourque, two fringe NHLers who signed today with Ak Bars Kazan rather than spend another season riding buses in the AHL.
But the gold standard players remain out of reach.
Not that the KHL will stop trying. Right now, SKA St. Petersburg is pursuing Vezina-winner Sergei Bobrovsky in an armored car loaded with tax-free rubles and a chance to play for Russia at Sochi. But the offer will be used as a bargaining chip and then rejected by a player who wants exactly what Datsyuk and Malkin want: to prove themselves against the best.
The KHL is the Al Czervik of the hockey world. The league can throw around money at the country club with the best of ‘em, but it doesn’t buy it any respect. Until it gets that one tent-pole player, someone truly world class to build around, the KHL will always be regarded as Plan B. At best.
And DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke to Datsyuk about his contract:
“Based on a couple of brief conversations that I had with Gary Greenstin over the last couple of months, I felt that there was an interest in Pav to stay,” Holland said. “I had my exit interview last week with Pav and we talked a little bit. He called his agent and in the next few days we were able to get the extension done.”
“I know where the rumors are coming from. Maybe he doesn’t like me coming here,” said Datsyuk, as he shopped in the Red Wings merchandise warehouse for gifts to take to family and friends in Russia. “I would be happy to play back home, but I know it’s better for me to stay here for my professional career. I am happy to be staying with a good family where I have had lots of fun and feel comfortable.”
Part of his decision to stay in Detroit – where he has played ever since he was selected in the sixth round of the 1998 NHL draft – was to return to the core group of players with Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Jimmy Howard.
“This is big part, and I’m happy to stay with a good group,” said Datsyuk, who later this week will return to Russia, where for the sixth straight summer he will help run a youth hockey camp. “I see lots of optimism. If you don’t see optimism, maybe you die.”
For Holland, reaching an agreement with Datsyuk before the free agency period, which starts July 5, was just as exhilarating.
“It was important to get Pav done before he went back home for the summer,” Holland said. “When you’re heading into July 5 and not sure if Pav is going to be here in a year it can affect your thinking. Now we know for a lot of reasons, from a salary cap commitment, from a player commitment, we know the core of our team moving forward. It’s Pav and Z and Kronwall and Jimmy Howard.”
“He’s a world class player,” Holland said. “With Pav winning the Selkes and seeming to be in the voting every year, he’s probably the best two-way forward in the world. He’s committed to fitness, he trains really hard, he’s mentally tough, he competes. He has a lot of hockey left in him and it probably wouldn’t surprise me if he’s doing an extension with the Detroit Red Wings when this contract is over.”
As for the age factor...
“If you recognize that those guys played a longtime ago and the game has changed,” [Datsyuk] said. “Now you see (Teemu) Selanne, you see (Jaromir) Jagr. They all play and they play big roles on the team. This is the example. I don’t look at age. If you can keep up your level of play, why not play?”
Update #20: Forbes' Chris Smith pulled a Lambert (and Lambert freaked out on Twitter):
[D]atsyuk’s points share, a measure of how many of a team’s points are contributed by a single player, was 6.5 this season, down from 7.9 the year before and his lowest mark since 2002-03. His point shares have also been sliding since he posted a career-high 12.6 in 2007-08.
And the even bigger risk for the Red Wings is a financial one. Datsyuk’s $7.5 million cap hit will, as of this point, tie for 11th-biggest in the NHL in 2014-15. Though the NHL’s future salary caps will be higher than the $64.3 million that teams have to work with next season, Datsyuk’s cap hit will still account for somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% of Detroit’s cap money. That’s a significant chunk of potential spending to commit to a single player who turns 35 years old next month.
It isn’t necessarily a mistake to pay big for a player well on the wrong side of 30 years old. Just look at Teemu Selanne, who was playing above a point-per-game clip at 40 years old a few seasons ago, or the 37-year-old Martin St. Louis who led the league in points this year. But it is still a risky bet, and one that may seriously hamstring the Red Wings’ ability to construct a competitive team in the coming years even if Datsyuk’s performance doesn’t fall off.
Detroit’s blue line was surprisingly competent this year in the absence of Niklas Lidstrom, but it’s a young group with much more upside than guaranteed production (not to mention that only two defensemen – Niklas Kronwall and Brian Lashoff – are signed on past 2014-15). It’s also worrying that a significant portion of Detroit’s forwards are either 30 years old or older: Tootoo (30), Zetterberg (32), Franzen (33), Cleary (34), Samuelsson (36), Bertuzzi (38). All of that is to say that Detroit will need cap room going forward, and signing an expensive extension with an aging center isn’t the best way to get there.
Update #21: Via RedWingsFeed, here's NHL.com's Dan Rosen talking about the deal:
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