GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 22: Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings looks up at the video board from the bench during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on October 22, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Red Wings 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Are you trying to predict what lies ahead in Pavel Datsyuk's hockey career? Good luck. By now you've probably heard speculation that Datsyuk will finish out the remaining year on his contract in 2013-14 before calling it quits in the NHL and playing out his final days in Russia. Other speculation indicates that while he wants to end his career in Russia, there's no guarantee he will leave the NHL after his current contract expires and that he might be open to extending his current contract.
New reports should give hope to Red Wings fans as it appears Datsyuk's agent is interested in talking to the team about the forward's future after the current season concludes. Datsyuk's agent Gary Greenstin stated that there hasn't been a decision made regarding Datsyuk's future, but that if the forward was to stay in the NHL that it'd be with the Red Wings.
Set to turn 35 in July, Datsyuk appears to be approaching the final few years of his playing career, though plays like this one might beg to differ. Clearly, Datsyuk still has plenty left in the tank, but it's unclear how he envisions his career winding down. We know that at some point he desires to return to Russia and close out his professional career in his home country. However, it's unclear if he views playing in Russia as a one year finale or as something that'd require a long-term contract.
What does all of this mean? Simply, Datsyuk's future is a giant mystery. He'll play out his contract, meaning he will play for the Red Wings in 2013-14, but anything beyond that is a question mark. At the very least, it should be positive to Detroit fans that Datsyuk's agent is wanting (and willing) to talk to the team about Datsyuk's future over the summer. Where there's a dialogue there's a chance for a contract extension.