There have been talks, there have been rumors about what the 41-year-old Pavel Datsyuk would do once his current contract with KHL’s Avtomobilist Jekaterinburg would run out. Could he consider a front office role? Does he want to continue playing?
Datsyuk himself and his agent have kept telling the media and people that were curious about players future that there is a lot to consider and we would eventually hear from them about their decision. Turns out there are people that blabbed and now we know what is going to happen.
Datsyuk is nearing a one-year contract extension with his hometown club according to multiple sources.
Datsyuk’s KHL career has been as impressive one would expect if it wasn’t for his age and recent injuries. His numbers have dropped, he has started missing extended periods of time because of them. You have to wonder – why would Avto team want to keep a player like that? Sure, he is a Russian hockey legend. You can sell tickets, use different marketing techniques to attract fans, and sell merchandise. It is his hometown team after all.
The answer isn’t too hard to find – he’s a player, general manager, and coach in one person. Obviously, he doesn’t make all the front office decisions. Datsyuk isn’t also on the ice with the whistle, however, the team does take into a count when he suggests something.
A great example is a recent hire of Bill Peters. The Canadian coach was hired on April 15th, weeks after a rumor spread that Datsyuk had suggested him as a potential candidate. Obviously, things had happened way earlier and the team knew straight away that they would have to hire Peters. He is a good coach after all. He has experience. Reputation? That means nothing in Russian hockey. But if someone like Datsyuk comes into the office and says that he would like to have a specific person on the bench – you give it to him.
Pavel Datsyuk in the KHL
Not many players in the league have the influence that Datsyuk holds. But it’s as clear as it can be, the club is looking to suit their player so that after retirement he would want to work for the team. Potentially even run it as president or a full-time general manager.
41-year old Datsyuk appeared in 43 regular-season games this past season earning 22 points (5 goals + 17 points). Meanwhile, in the playoffs, he recorded 2 goals and 2 assists while his Avtomobilsit team was eliminated from playoff contention in the 1st round.