USATSI_9262340_154158418_lowresPavel Datsyuk has made it official. He’s leaving the Detroit Red Wings after 14 seasons in the National Hockey League and will return to play hockey in Russia.

The centre made the announcement on Saturday, noting that it was not an “easy decision to make.”

Datsyuk will turn 38 on July 20 and has a year to go on his current three-year deal with the Red Wings. The franchise will still have to take on his salary cap charge of $7.5 million, which will count against Detroit’s cap for the 2016-2017 season.

Datsyuk met with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland on Friday and followed up on comments he made in April about his NHL career likely coming to an end. After Detroit was eliminated from the post-season, he said he “needed to think about it.” News emerged that he’d been offered a KHL contract with St. Petersburg, but his agent said that Datsyuk didn’t want to leave the Red Wings without options.

The Magic Man leaves behind an impressive legacy in the NHL.

He was drafted by the Red Wings 1998, going 171st overall after Håkan Andersson spotted him on a trip to scout defenceman Dmitri Kalinin.

Datsyuk was mentored by fellow Russians Sergei Fedorov and Igor Larionov, plus Steve Yzerman took him under his wing. He played his first season on a line with Brett Hull and Boyd Devereaux and posted 35 points in 70 games. He had six points in 30 playoff games.

With the arrival of Henrik Zetterberg, more was expected of Datsyuk and the Red Wings began to transition to a younger hockey club. Zetterberg joined Datsyuk and Hull to form what became known as the “two kids and an old goat line.”

When Fedorov left Detroit, Datsyuk saw an increased role and received more ice time. He earned a spot in the 2004 NHL All-Star Game.

After the lockout, Datsyuk was back and better than ever. He piled up awards, winning the Lady Byng Trophy in four consecutive seasons and securing the Frank J. Selke Trophy in three consecutive seasons. He won two Stanley Cups (2002 and 2008) and was named to the All-Star Team four times.

In the 2015-2016 season, Datsyuk registered 49 points in 66 games and became the fourth Red Wings player to reach 300 goals and 600 assists. He joins an elite club, including Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman and Alex Delvecchio.

In 14 seasons with the Red Wings, Datsyuk posted 918 points in 953 regular season games. He had 113 points in 157 playoff games.

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