After fan favorite Pavel Datsyuk told the Detroit Red Wings that he would not conclude the final year of his contract with the team and opted to join the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia, general manager Ken Holland traded the organization’s 2016 NHL Entry Draft first round pick (16th overall) and Datsyuk’s salary cap space ($7.5 million) to the Arizona Coyotes.
What the organization did not plan for was the backlash it would face after the Coyotes used the 16th pick to draft defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who has started the year off tremendously with Arizona by posting one goal and three points in five games. The 6’3” blue-liner was seen as being the “franchise defenseman” that fans have been waiting for since legend Nicklas Lidstrom retired, according to Kuklas Korner’s George Malik.
To most, this is yet another example of how Holland dropped the ball in terms of managerial decisions, but it’s important to understand that Datsyuk’s salary cap hit was a sizeable one and would not have allowed the GM to sign players such as Frans Nielsen, Thomas Vanek, or Steve Ott.
After all, Steven Stamkos was not going to sign with Detroit, and the Red Wings drafted another promising defensive prospect in Dennis Cholowski with their 20th pick. Time will tell how effective the latter will be, but perhaps fans should rest well knowing that Holland averted a looming disaster.