Report: KHL team asked Pavel Datsyuk to return to action

It sounds as though they wanted the Magic Man to put on a 2nd act.

Red Wings Feed

One of the most dynamic and creative players in National Hockey League history, former Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk wowed the fans of Hockeytown for his 14 seasons wearing the Winged Wheel. However, the lure of the motherland was too much for him to turn down, and he would return to his native Russia to continue his playing career. 

He would decide to officially hang up the skates this summer; he last played during the 2020-21 season for Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, scoring 12 goals with 23 assists in 51 games played. 

But according to Avtomobilist head coach Nikolai Zavarukhin, he wanted the Magic Man to return for a second act - though he'd hint that he wasn't being completely serious. 

“We communicate with him,” Zavarukhin said. “I suggested that he put on his uniform with number 13 again and return to Avtomobilist. But it was more in the form of a joke.”

Datsyuk, who is now working in a player development role for Avtomobilist, earned high praise from the club director. 

“Pavel is involved in the development of young players,” Maxim Ryabkov, director of HC Avtomobilist, explained on the club’s website. “In many clubs in the KHL, skilled hockey players now occupy such positions and perform similar functions."

“Pavel showed great interest precisely in the individual development of the main talents of our club system – our main prospects, which we see and which he himself sees. He is also the head coach of the youth team.”

Over the course of his NHL career, Datsyuk appeared in 953 games, all with the Red Wings. He'd score 314 goals along with 604 assists during the regular season, while scoring 42 goals and 71 assists in 157 career postseason games. Meanwhile, he'd rack up a total of 60 goals and 144 assists in 260 career games in the KHL with SKA Saint Petersburg and later Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg.