DETROIT (AP) — Pavel Datsyuk is not skating with the Detroit Red Wings at the start of a season for the first time since 2000.
With newcomers such as Frans Nielsen, the Red Wings hope they finish well enough to earn a 26th consecutive postseason appearance.
“We do not have a Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg in his prime,” general manager Ken Holland said Monday. “We’re going to have to generate offense by committee, rolling four lines and getting something out of each one.”
The Red Wings are paying Nielsen $31.5 million over six years to play a key part in their plans to recover from the loss of Datsyuk, who left the NHL to return to Russia to continue his career near his family. Datsyuk had $7.5 million and one year left on his contract, but the Red Wings got salary-cap relief by technically trading him to Arizona last summer even though the dazzling center won’t play for the Coyotes.
Nielsen, a 32-year-old center from Denmark, had 119 goals and 349 points with the New York Islanders since making his debut with them during the 2006-07 season.