Six years after leaving NHL ice, legendary Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk has announced his plans to retire from professional hockey at age 43. Datsyuk informed the media of his decision while attending the retirement game of another former NHLer, Alexander Semin.
Datsyuk, while not a member of the original “Russian Five” that helped to spearhead the success of elite Russian talent in the NHL, still remains one of the best not only from his country but all time. He’s a member of the rare Triple Gold Club, winning Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008, a World Championship gold medal in 2012, and an Olympic gold medal in 2018. Add in a variety of silver and bronze medals internationally, a 2005 Russian Super League championships and 2017 Gagarin Cup championship in the KHL, four Lady Byng trophies, and three Selke trophies, and you have one of the most dominant and well-respected two-way centers in hockey history.
One of the most memorable puck handlers in recent memory, Datsyuk wrapped up his 14-year NHL career (all spent with Detroit) in 2016 with 314 goals, 604 assists, and 918 points in 953 games. The team’s 171st overall selection in 1998 will retire seventh on the all-time points list in Detroit, trailing Russian counterpart Sergei Fedorov by a handful.
After returning to the KHL, Datsyuk played five more years of professional hockey before not suiting up for the 2021-22 season. After spending three productive years as the captain of SKA St. Petersburg, Datsyuk returned to his hometown to play the final two seasons of his career with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. Including the first half of 2012-13 spent with CSKA Moscow due to the NHL lockout, he also finishes with 60 goals, 144 assists, and 204 points in 260 KHL games.