Today, Pavel Datsyuk’s agent poked around the idea of his client coming back to the NHL in the next few years. While improbable that he would even consider the Arizona Coyotes, why don’t we put our imaginative hats on and have a little fun.
Because he is a center and is currently breathing.
Okay thank you for coming out!!
Alright, jokes aside...Datsyuk would not be that bad of a pick up. While some have mentioned his lack of speed plaguing him in terms of today’s youth, they also mention his hockey IQ and his feel for the game make him an asset. A young team that has had to rely on Brad Richardson at stretches this season, sacrificing speed is something the Coyotes have not shied away from (cough cough Dave Tippet).
Alex Galchenyuk has been a little bit of a disappointment this past season. With hindsight not being his friend, Max Domi’s somewhat impressive season has people poking Alex with a stick and telling him to do something. This has led to the rise of Derek Stepan and Brad Richardson needing to play incredibly well to give this team a shot. While Datsyuk’s return would most likely happen after this year, why wouldn’t you take a chance on the longtime Detroit Red Wings center?
Another big reason for the #DatsyukToPhoenix train is the franchises inability to be a competitor in the free agency market. James Van Reimsdyk was close in terms of signing with the Arizona Coyotes however Philadelphia just offered more. More does not have to be money. Think of it this way, if you can get a high IQ player to operate on your third or fourth line but have to pay a premium...then why not? Datsyuk’s salary was about $7.5 million when he went back to Russia. If you have a certain amount of money allocated to what you want to spend in free agency and you miss out on a large portion of the higher level guys, one year at $5.5 million is not something I would hate.
Youth is yet another reason this move would make some sense. With Barrett Hayton recently being highly touted in terms of the league’s best prospects, a veteran presence helps. While Stepan and Richardson are veterans, very few have been as consistent and few have had better careers. This is just like a young first round quarterback having to sit behind the face of the franchise. Talent can teach talent, bottom line.
Okay so this idea is absolutely bananas, however it may be needed. This team is right around the Wild Card Race in the Western Conference, and are always looking to add talent. Look what happens when you go after talent, Clayton Keller has a path to the face of Arizona Sports, Barrett Hayton is tearing it up, and Jacob Chychrun was decent enough to get himself a long term deal. Why strike out on good players when you just have to reach the monetary threshold for one of the games best to play the sport.