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Last week there were rumors floating around that Pavel Datsyuk had signed a deal to play in the KHL as soon as his NHL deal expired next season. (per sovsport.ru, translated by Google)
To that end, Mike Babcock and Gary Greenstin (Pav's agent) have both gone to great lengths to reassure Detroit's faithful that they'll see more of No. 13 beyond 2014. (per The Detroit News and MLive.com, respectively)
Regardless of where Datsyuk heads to retire, the fact that there's even speculation about where he wants to spend his farewell tour tells you all you need to know. He's still capable of playing the game at the highest of levels and his game hasn't dropped off one bit.
Yet Datsyuk is 35 years old now.
The Wings seemed mildly unprepared for life after Nicklas Lidstrom—he's an irreplaceable player, but the top-six without him looked very ordinary because it was just that for much of 2013. Detroit will need to ease a player or two on up the depth chart to prepare for this unavoidable event now, instead of a few years in the future when suddenly there's a gaping roster hole to fill.