On top of the year remaining on his current contract. Pavel announced today that he and the team have come to an agreement on a three-year extension. He can’t put pen to paper until July 5th, but this is the next thing to officially official.
It’s reportedly worth $22.5 million, $10 million of which would be his in the first year. At a team-high cap hit of $7.5 million, it is a vote of confidence in Datsyuk, who will be 38 when this deal runs out. But barring an injury that turns him into a shadow of himself, I wouldn’t expect his play to drop off so far in that span that it wouldn’t have been worth going with this deal in 2013.
So, as far as gambles go, this is a good one, though there is certainly room for criticism. But I’m not personally worked up over it. While this is a higher-than-usual (likely) last contract, Pavel Datsyuk is not latter-days Steve Yzerman, where his value is measured mostly in legacy overhead and leadership rather than production.
If he takes a completely unexpected nosedive or blows up his knee or something, we can all ream Ken Holland for not foreseeing the future of one of the league’s current best players.
But that would be kind of ridiculous, because if everybody operated under that level of suspicion of the future, there would be no deals longer than a year in sports. All Holland can do is factor his age into the “Datsyuk = really freaking good” equation. It should surprise no-one who’s watched his career the outcome is “still likely to be.”
Still, the future finance question is there.
Which is why we can thank the owners for putting a cap-shaped shadow on what should be a day of unfettered celebration: the Wings have the core locked up through 2017. That’s not quite enough, as this year’s failed (yet valuable from an experience standpoint) run demonstrated, but it’s a very good start.
Oh, and I wonder if any of the Griffins playing in the Calder Cup Finals will get to benefit from three additional years of Datsyuk.