Regardless of which direction the Detroit Red Wings plan to go in with their offseason, for a team in need of improvement, there was never any sort of secret as to what priority no. 1 was for them. It was getting their top player, Pavel Datsyuk, locked up with a contract extension.
They did just that earlier this week, agreeing to a three-year contract with their superstar center. The perennial Selke Trophy candidate is part of their aging core, though he still has plenty of game left. The price may seem a touch high for someone his age, but for a player of his caliber, it was the right deal for Detroit.
The three-year deal carries an average of $7.5 million a year. Given that Datsyuk just turned 35, one would have to imagine that this deal will take him towards the end of his career, unless he ends up playing into his forties, which is entirely possible.
Datsyuk turned in another terrific season in 2013. He finished with over a point per game with 49 points in over 47 games on the season. Had it been a full season, he easily would have reached the 20-goal mark for the eighth time in his career, potting 15 on the year, just four short of where he was in a full 2011-12 season.
Of course, when you talk about Datsyuk, you can’t just talk about what he brings to the table on offense. He’s a tremendous defensive talent. He finished tied for the league lead in takeaways while also excelling at faceoffs, finishing with a 55 percent success rate at the dot.
With Datsyuk now locked up, the Red Wings can go through their summer without having to worry about what it would cost to keep him later on. They can now pursue free agents and trades to improve their roster with their superstar forward already locked up for the next three years.