The latest on Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Vesey highlights today’s NHL rumor mill.
Datsyuk heading to Russia at season’s end?
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported sources claiming Detroit Red Wings veteran center Pavel Datsyuk could return to Russia at season’s end to finish his playing career in the KHL. The decision is apparently being made for family reasons. There’s no comment from Datsyuk or the Wings. The two sides are expected to meet following the season. Because Datsyuk was over-35 when he signed his current contract, his $7.5 million cap hit would remain on the Wings books for 2016-17.
THE DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland shrugged off Frieman’s report. “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,” replied Holland.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: If Datsyuk does return to Russia next season, Ken Campbell suggests the Red Wings could trade the final year of that contract to a team like the Arizona Coyotes looking to reach the salary-cap floor for next season. They could then use that freed-up space to sign Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos if he decides to test this summer’s UFA market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Datsyuk is indeed planning to return to Russia after this season, it will create a big gap in their lineup whilst leaving them with $7.5 million of what would essentially be dead-cap space. Campbell’s suggestion of shipping it to a club that needs to get to the cap floor for next season is a good idea. The Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins employed that tactic last summer with the respective contracts of Chris Pronger and Marc Savard, sending Pronger’s to the Coyotes and Savard’s to the Florida Panthers. It could make the Wings a player in a possible Stamkos sweepstakes this summer, but they could also use those available dollars to invest in cheaper options. If Stamkos hits the open market, there’s no certainty that he’ll join the Wings.
Latest on Jimmy Vesey.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports the feeling around the NHL is Nashville Predators prospect winger Jimmy Vesey will sign with the Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs when he becomes a UFA on August 15. The Bruins are Vesey’s hometown team, but the Leafs drafted his brother two years ago and hired his father as an amateur scout.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons claims a source told him a week before Vesey’s decision to become a free agent that the winger will definitely sign with the Leafs. “Guess we’ll find out on August 15,” said Simmons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last week, a Boston reporter cited what he claimed was a well-placed source with the Boston hockey college community saying Vesey was going to join the Bruins. Makes of these what you will.