There is a very good chance that Mike Babcock leaves Detroit. If he does will Pavel Datsyuk follow suit? The 37 year old is still playing at an elite level, and shut down Steven Stamkos on his own in the playoffs. He's under contract for just one more season, and over the last few years there has been a rumor of Datsyuk's interest to leave to play in the KHL at some point. Now that the KHL is going bankrupt that no longer seems to be an option. So will he play for another team that isn't Detroit?
Datsyuk has played under Babcock for about a decade now. It would make sense that he wants to finish his career playing for him, rather than a new coach in Detroit. Of the possible suitors for Babcock (Edmonton, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Toronto) only two really make logical sense for Datsyuk to go to.
One is Buffalo. Of the four, Buffalo will be the second best next season. The team is good enough to contend for next year's playoffs which can draw Datsyuk in. The potential of great young players all over the organization can make Datsyuk believe he can finish his career in Buffalo and possibly win a cup. He could also help teach young centers in Eichel, Reinhart, Girgensons, and Larsson. He could even help get fellow Russian Mikhail Grigorenko on track.
The other is Philadelphia. The Flyers have elite forwards in Voracek and Giroux. Add Datsyuk to the equation and the team should be an automatic playoff team next year. A second lone of Datsyuk, Simmonds, and Schenn would be one of the best in the league.
The Oilers and Leafs don't make a whole lot of sense for Datsyuk. The Oilers have two centers already that will not get bumped down to the third line, so Datsyuk would have to take a reduced role. He's not going to do that, and there's no chance he takes Nugent-Hopkins or McDavid's spot. The Leafs are not going to be near the playoffs next year. Unless Shanahan wants to spend the bank to reload with a Daysuk-Kessel connection, the Leafs will blow everything up. Doesn't make sense for Pavel to go to a team beginning a rebuild.
There also comes the issue of trading for him. Unless he finishes the one year with Detroit, a team would have to trade for him. For the Sabres sake what would it take to trade for a 37 year old Datsyuk with a year left on his deal? I would guess it would be about one 1st round pick. Maybe the Islanders pick. Even though he is still amazing, every other variable decreases his trade value. Not evening mentioning he's been injury prone.
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