As the trade deadline approaches, it is time for the Detroit Red Wings to make a major move. They are not a contender for the Stanley Cup this year, nor are they one player away. Rather than make a move that improves them a little, it is time for a drastic move. They should trade Pavel Datsyuk.
The reason to trade him comes from a report on Kuklas Corner that came out in the middle of March that Pavel Datsyuk was going to retire after next season. The reasons given include his desire to play in Russia for a few seasons, his unwillingness to take the abuse that the Eastern Conference is known for and speculation on his relationship with coach Mike Babcock.
While the reasons given in the report might all be valid, perhaps a stronger reason is that his daughter lives in Russia with his ex-wife. During the lockout, Datsyuk played in Russia, and it is hard not to think that he enjoyed being closer to her.
Ken Holland has acknowledged the report and admits that he plans on talking about it with Datsyuk after the season.
That is the wrong move. Whatever his reasons are, if Datsyuk plans on leaving when his contract is up, then it would be insane to not get something in return for him. He is one of the most dynamic players in the league.
The top contenders would be tripping over themselves in order to have him on their team. Middle of the road teams would hope he could be the player to take them over the top. He would excite any fanbase which would mean more ticket sales and that would make any owner happy.
Just imagine teams pairing him up with their top talented players. After only a few weeks on the same line as him, Datsyuk has Justin Abdelkader, who is not a natural scorer, only one goal off of his career best. Other teams know that he would make anyone who plays next to him better.
By waiting until this offseason, the team hurts their bargaining power. As it is, a trade now would give a team two Stanley Cup runs with him. By waiting until the offseason it would cut a teams’ opportunity in half which would lower the price that the Red Wings can ask for him. In order to make a move of this kind, they need to get the maximum value that they can.
The Red Wings can use such a trade to set themselves up for years to come. Instead of only being happy with extending the consecutive playoff streak, they could return to the top of the league by acquiring some top-level prospects and talented young players.
While the idea of trading Datsyuk will be hard for many Red Wing fans to stomach, the idea of letting him walk after next season for nothing should make them feel worse. Holland needs to have that talk with Datsyuk now so that he can plan for the future of this team.
In their current state, the Red Wings are not going to contend soon. Moving Datsyuk will allow them to get back to the top much quicker.