Pavel Dastyuk announces his retirement from the NHL, Sami Vatanen re-signs with the Anaheim Ducks, 2016 NHL Mock Draft from Jeff Marek, and more in the NHL news and links.

It’s a sad day for NHL fans to see such a remarkable talent as Pavel Datsyuk retire from the NHL. Arguably the best two-way player in the league for a large spell of his career, Datsyuk has to go down as one of — if not the — most underrated players of all time.

His one-on-one skills were some of the best ever on display in the NHL; he regularly made first line forwards and top pairing defenceman look foolish with his ability to stickhandle in a phone booth and his incredible vision.

The injury bug certainly took its toll on Datsyuk when he hit 30 and he was regularly injured, playing injured, or coming off injury; he was unable to string together anything close to a full season from ages 32-37.

Already, there has been talk about Detroit trading Datsyuk’s contract, along with a player(s), a pick(s) or prospect(s) for cap relief from his $7,500,000 contract, from reliable sources such as Bob McKenzie. The Maple Leafs certainly have the ability to absorb the one year remaining on his contract, but that could pose a problem with lost opportunity, depending on how active the Leafs see themselves in the trade and free agency markets (Detroit is a direct competitor in the Stamkos sweepstakes).

It will be interesting to see what transpires in the coming 12 days with regard to Detroit’s ability to move his contract and for whom and what.

In the meantime, a salute to the Magic Man — as spellbinding a hockey player as we’ve seen come through the NHL.

Pavel Datsyuk Awards By League

  • KHL All-Star Game 12/13
  • NHL All-Star Game 03/04, 07/08, 08/09, 11/12
  • NHL Best Plus/Minus (Bud Light Trophy) 07/08
  • NHL Gentleman Conduct (Lady Byng Trophy) 05/06, 06/07, 08/09, 07/08
  • NHL Second All-Star Team 08/09
  • NHL Stanley Cup Champion 01/02, 07/08
  • NHL Top Defensive Forward (Frank J. Selke Trophy) 07/08, 08/09, 09/10
  • Olympic Bronze Medal 01/02
  • RSL Champion 04/05
  • RSL Most Valuable Player 04/05
  • Russian Player of the Year (Valeri Kharlamov Trophy) 10/11, 12/13
  • World Championship All-Star Team 09/10
  • World Championship Best Face-Off Percentage 15/16
  • World Championship Best Forward 09/10
  • World Championship Best Plus/Minus 04/05
  • World Championship Bronze Medal 04/05, 15/16
  • World Championship Gold Medal 11/12
  • World Championship Silver Medal 09/10

Sami Vatanen signs in Anaheim

In other news, a potential Maple Leafs target — a (potentially) top pairing, right-shot defenceman — Sami Vatanen has signed a very reasonable contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks still have RFA Hampus Lindholm to sign and his direct comparable is Morgan Rielly, with the two having almost identical production in their career so far — with Lindholm obviously not playing on a lottery team for the duration of his entry-level contract. If they aren’t able to sign him to a contract they are both comfortable with, he might also be a target for the Maple Leafs.

A mock draft from Jeff Marek, along with some scuttlebutt on the growing potential of Columbus looking to deal the 3rd overall pick:

Lastly, and certainly not least, a fantastic read from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail on the consensus first overall pick, Auston Matthews, and his unusual path to the NHL.

MLHS NHL Draft Profiles

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