The dust has barely had time to settle on the appointment of Steve Yzerman, but it looks like he’s already working his magic on Detroit’s former Magic Man:
— BarDown (@BarDown) May 1, 2019
If anyone can bring Pavel Datsyuk back to the Red Wings, Yzerman can. Right now it’s just speculation based on not very much. But the question shouldn’t be ‘Is he coming back?’, it’s ‘Should he come back?’.
What the heart wants
953 games, 314 goals and 604 assists, 2 Stanley Cups, 4 Lady Byng Trophies, 3 Frank J. Selke Trophies, the last ever winner of the Plus-Minus award… ok scratch that last one. Of course I want to see Datsyuk back, his name is synonymous with the Red Wings roster I first fell in love with. There are many fans who’ve still not come down from the high of Yzerman’s return, and any gesture that throws back to the good times can only be met with open arms. Nick Lidstrom looks like he could still square up with the best of them, maybe Henrik Zetterberg‘s back has gotten better…
What the head wants
Say Datsyuk did return for a swan song season, how would he fit in with the current team and its rebuild? Firstly Datsyuk probably won’t play for free, or at least unlimited Cheesy pie from Mike’s Pizza Bar. Even if the forward takes a discount and takes the $3 million freed up by not re-signing Thomas Vanek, that’s still less than half of what Datsyuk used to take home.
Datsyuk over Vanek is a no-brainer, but in this age of rebuilding, why take either? His point production in the KHL has dropped slightly since his NHL days, but if you transpose his points-per-game to the Red Wings for 2018-19, only Dylan Larkin finished ahead of Datsyuk. Andreas Athanasiou came third but it wasn’t close. The Magic Man will be 41 at the start of the next season and will be great for a quick-impact, but that’s not what the team needs right now.
It makes more sense to see Datsyuk return in a coaching capacity. God knows we need his experience and the younger players who were inspired to play the game by watching Datsyuk, will benefit from his guidance.
The nostalgic, rose-tinted part of me wants to see Datsyuk wearing the Winged Wheel again, even if it’s just for a season so he can get a thousand NHL games. But realistically I doubt that would do the team any good in the long term. I’ve also been a fan of the team long enough to know that the organisation is loyal to a fault, although I can’t imagine Yzerman giving out a contract that would hurt the team.
Do you want to see the Magic Man back in Detroit? Let us know below:
— The 4th Line Hockey Podcast (@4thLinePodcast) May 2, 2019