At the conclusion of the 2015-2016 NHL season, longtime Detriot Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk decided he was leaving the team to go home to Russia. He wanted to spend the twilight years of his hockey career playing back home in Russia in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Prior to joining the NHL in 2001, he spent five seasons playing for several different teams in Russia.

Winning the Gagarin Cup

In his first season back in Russia Pavel Datsyuk played with the KHL's SKA St. Petersburg and was one of their team captains. Playing in 44 of the possible 60 regular season games, Datsyuk scored 12 goals and 22 assists.

He also got selected to the KHL All-Star team for the second time in his career.

In the playoffs, Datsyuk was only able to play in 7 of 18 games but scored 4 goals and 5 assists. SKA St. Petersburg dominated the playoffs, with a 16-2 record, including a 4-1 series victory over defending champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the finals. This was SKA St. Petersburg's second Gagarin Cup in three years, as they also won in back in 2015.

In the Gagarin Cup clinching game five, Datsyuk got injured but was still able to celebrate the team's victory afterward. This victory is unique, as it made Datsyuk one of the few people to have won both the NHL's Stanley Cup and the KHL's Gagarin Cup. Others who have won both include Oleg Tverdovsky, Slava Kozlov, and coach Mike Keenan.

Datsyuk's NHL Career

Pavel Datsyuk played all 14 of his NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, never missing the playoffs. In his time in the NHL he was a four-time NHL All-Star selection and hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2002 and 2008.

He was also a four-time winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and a three-time winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward. In 2007-08 he also won the last NHL Plus-Minus award before it got discontinued.

For six straight seasons (2003-10) Datsyuk led the Red Wings in scoring and finished in the top five of NHL scoring twice.

In the Red Wings storied franchise history, Datsyuk ranks eighth all-time in goals (314), fifth all-time in assists (604) and is sixth all-time in total points with 918.

In honor of the NHL's 100th season this year, a blue-ribbon panel of prominent members of the hockey community selected the top 100 NHL players ever. Pavel Datsyuk got selected to that list, a testament to the fact that he will one day be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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