There is continuous chatter about Russian forward and former National Hockey League star Ilya Kolvacyuk returning to America to try and win a Stanley Cup. The man himself had to deny rumors that he had already signed a two or three-year contract with the New York Rangers last week, as he is set to become a free agent, after five seasons with the SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League, at the end of the month.
While most of the focus in on Kovalchuk and what he might do in his return to the NHL, there was also rumors on another SKA St. Petersburg player. Back at the end of March, there was chatter about the great Pavel Datysuk and his desire to potentially return to the NHL. While nothing was confirmed or more pressing in these rumors, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman had included them in his weekly 31 Thoughts column on Sportsnet with the following explanation back on March 28:
"There were some wild rumours that Pavel Datsyuk is coming back to Detroit for 2018-19. Dan Milstein, his agent, says that is not true."
Datsyuk had 49 points, ranking second on the Red Wings, in 66 games during his last regular season in the NHL. The idea of any team signing Datysuk to a contract in a comeback for the ages would be remarkable. A deal with Detroit would be unbelievable. However, Friedman not only revealed that rumour, but also had proof of a close source denying the chatter.
On Tuesday morning, the statement made by Datsyuk's agent Dan Milstein was backed up by something more significant in the future of the future Hall of Famer. It seems that we now know what Datsyuk has decided to do with his future, especially the one many dream he will continue in the NHL. However, Milstein took on social media this morning to announce that his client had signed a one-year contract extension with KHL club SKA St. Petersburg. He also added that Datsyuk was presently with the Russian National Team preparing for the upcoming World Championship Games in Denmark.
According to KHL insider Aivis Kalnins who wrote a piece on the news for Hockey Buzz," a source close to the team has indicated that Pavel Datsyuk has gotten a pay raise from his $3.9mil (base salary) contract he previously had. The bonus value is expected to be the same." However, Kalnins reached out to Milstein, who would not confirm the value of the contract.
The idea of Datsyuk returning to Detroit will have to wait, or even be forgotten. The 39-year-old has won a Gagarin Cup and Olympic gold medal since departing from Detroit, and is now also expected to represent Russia at the 2018 IIHF World Championships.