Pavel Datsyuk’s contract has come to an end with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL, but he’s not yet a completely unrestricted free agent. Datsyuk’s NHL rights still belong to the Arizona Coyotes until July 1st after they took on his contract in a cap relief deal. Still, Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News reports that the veteran forward is on his way to Michigan soon to discuss options with his agent Dan Milstein of Gold Star Hockey, and that he would only return to the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings.
That by no means guarantees a return for Datsyuk, who according to Kulfan would also consider playing for his hometown team in Russia. That would be Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, who actually had an outstanding 2018-19 season but were upset in the second round of the Gagarin Cup playoffs. That option still does seem the most likely, given that Datsyuk will turn 41 in July.
- Auston Matthews won’t be heading to the IIHF World Championship later this month, but the next potential American-born first-overall pick will be there instead. John Shannon of Sportsnet reports that the Toronto Maple Leafs star would not take part in the tournament, but Jack Hughes will join his brother on the USA squad. Hughes has just finished smashing nearly every record possible over the last year in the USNDTP and U-18 tournament, and will now try to show off his skills for the New Jersey Devils who hold the top pick in June’s draft.
- Team Canada has also added another player to their roster, bringing in Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jared McCann. The Canadians have a few spots left for late additions, but will rely on the likes of John Tavares, Sean Couturier and Mark Stone to form the veteran core up front.
- The Cleveland Monsters have added Trey Fix-Wolansky on an amateur tryout for the rest of the season, after his Edmonton Oil Kings were eliminated from WHL playoff contention. Fix-Wolansky was a seventh-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2018 but put up 102 points in 65 games as the captain of the Oil Kings this season, and has already signed his entry-level contract that will kick in next season.